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Maska January 26, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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It was touted to be the biggie in this year’s Sankranti race but anybody aware of the recent track record of filmmakers M.S Raju and B Gopal would have decided to give it a miss or watch it with rather lowered expectations. I wasn’t too keen to check this out either – the same old promos didn’t do much to help. Still I took the risk and thankfully for once I wasn’t too wrong.

Maska is still the same old Tollywood action fare interlaced with some humor. Whether one ends up liking such films or not depends purely on how well the humor works and mercifully in this case it succeeds to cross the threshold. It looks like most of the film was directed by M.S Raju while only the parts involving the factionist baddies was given to B. Gopal; only late until the second half does one get to see both threads coming together. Raju seems to have learnt from his previous failures and this time he succeeds in putting in quite a few entertaining episodes without really losing track at any point of time. The leading man Ram together with Sunil (in his meatiest sidekick role till date) are really the reason why this film works.

Ram wasn’t noticed much in his most recent hit Ready but Maska gives him the perfect platform to showcase his abilities. He is very impressive in all departments and irrespective of the ultimate fate of this film this should be his ticket into the top league. As always in South Indian Cinema (read Telugu and Tamil), what starts out as a one-time novelty slowly turns into an irritating adjunct in almost every film. I am referring to the trend of every “youth” hero performing some unbelievable dance movies in a song. It was nice when atleast those steps were part of a song and weren’t given any special attention. Later we saw special music pieces being created within a song to accommodate those steps. This movie goes one step further and before showing off its hero’s skills we are shown a “Don’t try this at home” warning. I guess one has to get used to it like we’ve already done for those stupid actions sequences.

Sunil is also very good after a long time. At certain points in the movie it seemed that he would be paried off with the other girl (once Ram finally settles on who he wants to go ahead with). She might have done similar roles before but Jhansi is still hilarious with her Nellore accent. Coming to the leading ladies, Hansika seems a lot better than in her previous outing – now she can actually boast of getting her lip sync right atleast 20 percent of the time. Sheela is also ok (obviously far better than Hansika). Chakri’s songs are fast paced and don’t pop up without notice; also thanks mostly to the vibrant choreography you don’t really complain about them for once.

Maska, on the whole is a time pass entertainer which quite frankly surpassed my expectations purely because I didn’t hope much out of it. M.S Raju may finally have a reason to smile even if not a big one.


Narasimha Naidu September 3, 2006

Posted by Sai in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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This was the third film starring Balakrishna that I saw in the theatre (after Aditya 369 and Bhairava Dweepam). Though I may not be a Balakrishna fan in general, I have no prejudice against him (and I liked him in Aditya 369, especially as Krishna Deva Raya). So I watched this movie after it started breaking all records. This was the first movie based on faction wars that I saw and I’d rate it as the best of the lot.

This was complete masala fare as usual from B. Gopal but was better than a lot of his other movies. The primary credit for that should go to Chinni Krishna who provided the story and screenplay for the movie. The basic idea of one warrior from every house brought freshness to the film.

The film has the flashback formula (made famous in movies appealing to the masses like Rajnikanth’s Basha) that has now become the standard format for faction movies and even others. The formula goes thus – hero is in hiding at the start of the movie and has a love interest and fights some villains establishing his power – towards the interval you find out that he has a flashback – the second half consists mainly of the flashback where he generally has another love interest or two even and of course a conflict with the main villains – after the flashback ends the climax of the movie starts. The love track between Preeti Jhangiani and Balakrishna was passable (and definitely of a higher quality than the one with Balakrishna and Simran in Samarasimha Reddy). What really worked in the movie were the two chase sequences apart from the punch in the dialogues (Parachuri Brothers). The first chase is the one with all the Sumos and the second chase is the one where he tries to save his brothers. Also the sentiment in the second half works for the female and family audiences. This was also an improvement over most masala movies.

Mani Sarma’s background score is the best one so far for mass movies that I’ve seen. The theme piece for Balakrishna was superb. It gave me incomparable josh (the theme from Chatrapathi scored by Keeravani gave me a similar feeling). The background score definitely elevated the events unfolding on screen. Mani Sarma is probably one of the best composers for mass songs and he undoubtedly provided one of his best mass soundtracks here. The movie also had some well choreographed dance sequences. Of course, no one can forget the unbearable classical dance by Balakrishna. There was no reason to include this in the movie and it definitely made Balakrishna look terribly bad.

This is masala movie with all the spices and nobody should expect it to be logical. It is made to cater mostly to the masses and fans and above all to make money. I still can’t figure out how some people feel that Balakrishna looks stupid while delivering those earth-shattering dialogues while they find it believable when Chiranjeevi does it in Indra. Chiranjeevi can bring rain in Indra but Balakrishna shouldn’t make a train go in reverse in Palanati Brahma Naidu. Both are implausible if not impossible. However, fans seem to throw logic to the winds if it is their favorite star while focusing only on logic when it is someone else. Double Standards! This movie is for those who can enjoy masala fare without taxing their brains (the obvious prerequisite being no prejudice against Balakrishna). Those who despise mass movies and those who want sensible fare should keep away from this movie.