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Kathanayakudu August 4, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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It was hard to screw up a film like Chandramukhi no matter how hard one tried – the plot of that flick was attractive enough to hide the filmmaker’s incompetence. And to his advantage P. Vasu had already helmed the Kannada version before. However, this time he isn’t so lucky and what you see is the merciless slaughter of another Malayalam blockbuster “Katha Parayumbol”.

Agreed – a lot of people knew beforehand that Rajnikanth wasn’t the main lead (notwithstanding the deceptive promotional campaign) but nobody would have expected his role to be restricted to a couple of monologues, a couple of songs and some fleeting glimpses. But that could have been completely forgiven if the rest of the film had something interesting to say. Nothing of that sort happens either. The original flick was supposed to be about this poor barber and his family and how his life changes after the arrival of a “superstar” in the village since this “superstar” happened to be the childhood friend of the barber. From what I’ve read it was also supposed to be a satirical take on “Star Worship”. What you get in this remake is a cringingly good barber (reminds me of those protagonists in “Super Good Films” features) and a pathetic comedy track which never seems to end. Also, the supposed satire on “Star Worship” almost turns into a justification of the whole phenomenon.

The somewhat emotional climactic reels are one of the few redeeming factors. Another one being G.V. Prakash Kumar’s score. The songs come in as a welcome relief and the “Cinema Cinema” song especially gels very nicely with the situation. If there is one thing which prevents this film from being unwatchable it is Jagapathi Babu. Despite being saddled with an overly melodramatic role he still makes you root for him with his earnest portrayal. I hope this film would revive his career again. Meena, who is back in a Telugu film after a long time does a fine job too.

I only hope Priyadarshan’s remake Billoo Barber with Irrfan and Shahrukh would do justice to the Malayalam original. Watch Kathanayakudu if you have to only for Jagapathi Babu. As for Rajni fans, I’d suggest that they wait for Shankar’s Robot next year.


1. Sai - February 12, 2009

I thoroughly agree with everything you’ve said. The pathetic attempts at humor seem straight from the early nineties and are just unbearable. A considerably shorter film without any of that nonsense or one with more interesting supporting characters might actually have worked. Jagapathi Babu and G V Prakash’s music just about make it bearable to sit through.

I am sure Priyadarshan wouldn’t use such a dumb comedy track for his Hindi version but after watching this, it is difficult to get your interest up for Billu (no more a Barber).

2. Shujath - February 13, 2009

Thanks to this movie I am absolutely not excited about Billu…despite the two Khans and Priyadarshan. The early reviews seem positive though….so, I might probably plan to watch this in the coming weeks.

3. vallabh - February 21, 2009

On a Tuesday night, desperate to kill a couple of hours until I fall asleep, I started to dig into my very limited movie collection as I left my major collection at my friend’s house and was too lazy to walk by a couple of doors and cross a few yards of lawn to fetch it. That’s when I chose to watch Kathanayakudu as everyting else in my collection seemed boring. I already see you two feel pity for me. Thanks! And to my badluck, I didn’t sleep until the end credits rolled. I guess it’s the hope for a better scene that kept me awake all along.

I don’t agree that a shorter film as said by Sai would have worked. Rather, if it was prolonged more with added scenes of quarrelling neighbours and screened on TV in episodes , they would make more money. šŸ™‚

Does someone still need a recommendation? Hope not.

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