Srimanthudu movie review

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When we see movies with a message, we are used to seeing the protagonist turning vigilante. Srimanthudu is the same too. It has its protagonist delivering justice in his own way. What works for some movies, doesn’t quite do with others. We will know in a week or two if it works for this movie or not.

It is simple to write off Srimanthudu like this. It comes with a message that was splashed all over the pre-release material that we saw – from the teaser to the trailer, from the audio functions to the media interactions.

The movie has ‘giving back to the society’ as its central theme. Simply put, it’s the Rudraveena of the present age. Where caste was the undercurrent on which the father-son conflict runs in the latter, it’s the money and business which make up the father-son conflict in this movie. Rudraveena was risky back then and Srimanthudu is risky today. Perhaps that’s the reason why Chiranjeevi made Rudraveena on his home banner and Mahesh Babu opted to co-produce the movie.

Srimanthudu has a lot more commercial gloss added to it. It doesn’t seem forced. That’s the thing that seems to differentiate it from the slew of message oriented films we have seen in the recent past. It’s good.

The values – production and directorial- are good. The director has been supported by some good performances by the cast.

***

After two flops, it’s easy to get into a mode where you lean back on things that got you stardom. Fortunately or unfortunately, for Mahesh Babu, that thing is the strength of his character in a movie. Any role that slightly has the scope to perform sees Mahesh Babu giving it his best. Perhaps that’s the reason why he doesn’t have a unique mannerism to throw his fans into a trance.

He does well in this role. He adds a lot to the role. Be it the slow bob of the head while warning Mukesh Rishi, the open chested approach to Sampath when he is being asked a lot of questions or the tug of the suit that he wears while fighting at a marriage function, he adds to the role.

He sought apologies from the crowd present at the audio function for the disaster that was Aagadu. That movie was an aberration. It seemed one started watching the movie with Dookudu and it ended as Aagadu. The law of averages, the present scenario of the industry all point towards a hit that’s needed by Mahesh Babu. Though he hasn’t fallen down in the pecking order, his movies collections have. He should be able to set it right with this movie.

He has recognized his drawbacks and is working hard on correcting them. Dance was one of them. Where his steps in some movies were ridiculed, it’s difficult to do the same with the dance in this movie. He danced well in the ‘Rama Rama’ and ‘Charusheela’ songs.

***

Mahesh Babu is a superstar. No doubt on that fact. You should visit a theatre in the next few days to realise the scale of superstardom. In the theater that I watched the movie in, shouts of ‘Superstar Zindabad’ rent the air every few seconds. Whether you like him or not, being in the same place with his fans while his movie is being played gives you goosebumps.

He looks very good in the movie, as if that needs to be stated. His track with Shruthi Hassan was handled with maturity and came out well. The romance track continues in the second half as well, but it’s not handled with the same adeptness as it was in the first half. Perhaps it is because the movie moves in the second half and there are other threads that required better handling than the romantic track.

He has a track with most of the important characters in the movie. Jagapathi Babu acts as his father in the movie and the respect with which Mahesh Babu talks to him should be the template for sons behaving with their fathers. Jagapathi Babu does well in the role as a father intrigued by his son’s choices. A lot of care has been taken to make them look similar. Their hairstyles are similar in the movie- the side parting that is.

The entire track with Rajendra Prasad is dignified. He looks the part in a simpleton’s role. The facial expressions with which he can convey emotions are a huge asset to any director.

Shruthi Hassan can look back fondly at this role. She has performed well in the role and did a very good job when she was the motor of the first half. It’s her role that drives the movie forward.

***

Koratala Siva does a very good job as a director. He doesn’t let the fact that he is directing a star overawe him. The dialogues in the movie are thought provoking. He found an able ally in Mahesh Babu to get his thoughts across. He seems to have a thing or two for shooting fight sequences. They come out brilliantly.

On the choice of him doing a subject with a message, he was walking a tightrope and he treads it well. With the huge star cast at his disposal, it was natural that some of them wouldn’t get the prominence that others got. In the scheme of things, it was a touch disappointing to see Subba Raju and Sithara not get a role that they could do justice to.

The way he handles the protagonist, his movies will be awaited with bated breath from here on

***

Verdict: A good movie and fully paisa vasool. There are a lot of things to be enjoyed in the movie

Image courtesy: idlebrain.com

Srinu Vaitla’s (without Kona Venkat) Aagadu

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When a director-writer combine goes their separate ways, it’s impossible to gauge the immediate impact. When Trivikram Srinivas and K Vijayabhaskar split, it was seen that the director was the one to suffer in terms of immediate box office impact. For reasons unknown, Srinu Vaitla and Kona Venkat (Gopi Mohan included) aren’t together anymore. There is a visible impact- the role of Brahmanandam isn’t properly etched.

The last time that Srinu Vaitla can claim to have done something different was way back in 2001 – Anandam. It was a movie well received because of its story and songs. The portents of the template based movies were probably laid with Sontham. Yes, the template worked commercially and guaranteed dividends to the producers.

Brahmanandam is the most critical component of his movies. Right from Venky, there are a few scenes, at least, in the movie where the hero plays a second fiddle to him. Now it doesn’t matter whether it’s Ravi Teja, Nagarjuna, Mahesh Babu, Ram or Venkatesh, they have all played second fiddle to him in Vaitla’s movies. Chiranjeevi didn’t in Andarivaadu and we know the box office fate of the movie.

Now it’s clear that those hilarious episodes were courtesy Kona Venkat. It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say that the episodes involving Brahmanandam raised the movie to an altogether different level. Youtube provides you access to a lot of videos where only scenes involving Brahmanandam are cut and pasted in a single video.

Ask anyone who has seen Venky, Dhee, Dubai Seenu, Ready, King, Namo Venkatesha, Dookudu and Badshah, as to what they remember from these movies and majority of replies would involve sequences with Brahmanandam.

In Aagadu, he arrives to a deafening response, but the laughs refused to come after a certain point. This, according to me, is the biggest drawback of the movie. Probably a few of us might say that Srinu was deviating from the template in the movie. No, he wasn’t.

It would be doing grave injustice if we didn’t say that the writing killed the movie and execution more so. Put in a blunt manner, Srinu Vaitla needs to gather his act and soon.

 

Mahesh Babu is coming off a disaster and that shows. The immediate response in the face of a flop is to go back to the comfort zone. For him, it probably was with Srinu Vaitla. Though people who saw the movie would say that the first half had its share of comedy, I would say that the repetitiveness of the comedy track killed the comedy. The hyperbole of Srinu Vaitla didn’t help him. He said at the audio function that if Dookudu was 10%, then Aagadu would be 100%. There can be nothing farther from truth then that. The plight of Mahesh fans was akin to the fans in Neninthe movie. They lie in wait for a brilliant display in every scene and are deflated at every point. Though he attempts to dance in the movie, they pale in comparison to the moves by Tammana.

Tammana proves that she is one of the best female dancers in the country. In all the duets, it’s her dancing that you would want to watch again.

Rest of the actors just make up the numbers.

Perhaps the most telling comment on the movie was this

 

Verdict: I didn’t like the movie, but I don’t dictate box office collections

 

 

1-Nenokkadine movie review

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When Michael Clarke was asked about Mitchell Johnson in run-up to Ashes, he said that he believed in the bowler and won’t be surprised if he goes on to win the ‘Man of the series’ award. At that time, it did seem like a bravura face in front of the media. In 44 days, Mitchell Johnson repaid his skipper’s faith in him. One of the best tweets on the matter was by Dan Brettig, who said, “Australia bet the house on Johnson and finished up winning an entire casino”

Expectations are a strange thing. Apart from Ashes, one other thing that I was waiting for was the movie 1-Nenokkadine. It somehow left me with a strange feeling. I read a few reviews before watching the movie. Though it wasn’t a first for me, it was after a long time that I read a review before I watched a movie I wanted to see. Truth be told, no review would’ve made me back down from watching the film.

From a few reviews and tweets I gathered that it required an IQ of 160 + to understand to predict the flow of the movie. In one of the comments, the movie was said to be a Telugu equivalent of Inception. Now, Inception was a movie where I saw the beginning and the end and slept through the rest of it. I never had the kind of imagination skills that the director wanted me to have.

When I saw the movie myself, the first thing I thought was that Sukumar still makes the best title plates in the industry. Remake or not, I am huge fan of his second movie, ‘Jagadam’. I felt that there was something lacking in the screenplay. When you read/watch a thriller, you get the feeling of being there. You unravel the hints, the little things with the protagonist. So, when the denouement comes you feel it as much as the protagonist if not more than him. This movie didn’t make me feel that way. Yes, there are moments of utter brilliance in the first half. And they come one after the other to somewhat redeem a lacklustre first half. I say lacklustre because it takes a long time to establish the characters and the story. The scenes where Mahesh playfully indulges the heroine with his reality and imagination after being deserted on an island, attacking the goons who attack the heroine and the scene with Kelly Dorjee in the toilet are all pointers to a brilliant actor in Mahesh Babu and how the director brought the best out of him.

The fact that there wasn’t a comedy track was as gladdening as the effort to fit in an item song was irritating. As much as Sukumar deserves the plaudits for not including a comedy track, he deserves the brickbats for incorporating an item song when it wasn’t required. Sukumar’s tendency to have an item song is as irritating Sreenu Vaitla’s to have a song before the climax.

I feel sorry for the people who are at the receiving end for the box office fate of the movie. The amount of money invested, if true, might not be earned. It isn’t as bad a movie as its box office fate might suggest. One thing that the movie brings to the fore is the fact that the director is the captain of the ship. Sukumar, for the first time maybe, treaded the middle path, in the sense that he is neither exceptional nor bad.

There are some good dialogues in the movie. One that stands out for me is when Mahesh Babu says “Preme natana ayinappudu, badha kooda natakamme” (How can your sadness be genuine if your love is pretence?)

Visually the movie is brilliant thanks to Ratnavelu and DSP is at his best with background music.

In the end, I would like to draw you to what Mahesh Babu says towards the end of the movie, “I have done this so many times over in my mind that I don’t need to do what I want to do”. My sentiment on the movie is also similar. The ending somehow reminded me of Surya’s sixth sense movie

Verdict: Considering what he had on his hand, Sukumar could’ve delivered a better movie

Image Courtesy: Idlebrain 

Seethama Vakitllo Sirimalle Chettu review

wp-17svsc1280Have you ever been to your grandparents place and had a look at the albums in their house? In most cases, the chances are that the pictures are sequestered according to the age of their children. You would certainly notice that the picture of one of your parents will be on the same page as their siblings. All of them passport size photographs, mind you. This is the one realisation that hits you as the titles are rolling. It unfolds in the form of an album.

 

While entering the theatre, I overheard a couple of friends conversing. One of them said, “For a movie to hit a chord with the audience, they should envisage themselves in the shoes of the protagonist or there should be something exceptional in the content of the movie”. He was not far from the truth. Credit then to the director that he takes this principle and turns it over. As the scenes unfold you have a feeling that actually warms your heart and makes you feel that you have been through these feelings before.

 

Srikanth Addala, the director, at the audio function of the movie said that it was beyond him to develop the character of Prakash Raj and he had to take the help of a senior writer to actually develop the character. Prakash Raj does play a pivotal role. He owns the climax of the movie with his performance.

 

Jayasudha lives up to her moniker of ‘Sahaja Nati’. Her performance throughout remains straight, but for one scene. The scene where Mahesh Babu confronts her about the attitudes in the family, is where she brings out the best of herself.

 

Venkatesh plays the role of the eldest child in the family. His inability to come to terms with the world and its ways had to be projected with as few words as possible. He does it with his expressions. The scenes that he has with Mahesh Babu are well made and the fact that he is the elder brother shines through in each of those scenes.

 

Mahesh Babu, post the sabbatical has been a brilliant actor. He infuses life into every character that he plays these days. The Godavari accent, a mature outlook and the love for family are easily handled by the reigning superstar of Telugu Film Industry. He lives out the chauvinistic dreams of every youngster when he spurns the advances of women. His character shade is that of an egoistic person which is evident in his scenes with Venkatesh and Samantha.

 

Anjali without doubt has to be find of this movie. To hold her own against stalwarts and superstars is no mean task. She does it with aplomb and impresses one and all with her performance. She is as pivotal to the movie as Prakash Raj. It is through her that the director conveys the relationship between the brothers.

 

Samantha doesn’t have a lot to do, but her expression of ‘Bonga Moothi’ will surely gain credence as the days pass.

Rao Ramesh is the closest that any character comes to being an antagonist. He does well. Kota Srinivasa Rao, Rama Prabha, Tanikella Bharani and others have lesser roles but they do well.

 

People are complimenting the heroes for accepting to star in a multi-starrer. They should be commended for choosing this movie rather than an action drama. One can say that they have put their stardom to right use through this movie, not in the movie.

 

Last but not the least, Srikanth Addala has done a brilliant job. If we actually nit-pick through the movie, we will find that he employs a lot of characters and doesn’t use them effectively. Although I wasn’t impressed with his first movie in terms of casting, I surely felt it was a good movie when the family scenes were on. That he goes on and makes an entire film on a family is playing to his strengths. That he made a movie with two contemporary stars without the fans haggling on the screen time is a feather in his cap.