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King December 29, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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The last time there was a major dent in Sreenu Vaitla’s then moderately successful career was when he made Andarivadu with Chiranjeevi. I haven’t seen that film and so cannot comment on what probably went wrong there. His latest flick King coming after three successive hits (and obviously with a lot of expectations) almost proves that a big star can be jinxed for him. I said jinxed because everything seems right here but hardly anything works.

He has a nice plot (various inspirations/lifts notwithstanding) with umpteen situations promising potential guffaws but the end result is more like a Sreenu Vaitla jokes-falling-flat carnival. It’s a twist filled mistaken identity plot so I won’t bother writing about it. Most of the plot/scene/character inspirations come from Anil Kapoor flicks like Race, Khel and Welcome. The director seems to have done his homework in creating quite an amusing screenplay but you wish he had rather spent his time in creating some real humor. The funny moments are forced mostly while the cast also doesn’t quite pull it off a considerable number of times.

Vaitla seems to have been overawed by the presence of Nagarjuna – who is made to act as if every scene was his introduction sequence. He is constantly involved in stupid fight sequences and mouthing seemingly “punch(less) dialogues” –  which I feel is not quite his forte. It’s sad because Nagarjuna has his own unique and subtle comic timing which could have worked wonders for a movie like this but seems to have been sacrificed in favor of “appealing to the masses”. He’s looking great though (especially after Don). Also Vaitla’s star vehicle Brahmanandam gets a bland role which as everything else in the movie seems promising but doesn’t quite work. Srihari is the only one who manages to get a better written role. Trisha does the same old stuff. Devisri Prasad’s music is average and most importantly unwanted.

The director seemed to have loved his film so much that he disposed off with the editor; otherwise a film like this would not have a runtime of over three hours. King is a huge disappointment primarily because a majority of people who’d venture into it are likely to have Dhee, Dubai Seenu and Ready still fresh in their minds – if you are someone who hasn’t seen any of these then maybe you won’t feel too bad but I cannot really say if you’d like it. The director’s next one on the cards is with Venkatesh…so I am in two minds whether to be excited about it. Let’s hope Vaitla spends more time on his script than about figuring out how to present his “big hero”.

Mantra December 31, 2007

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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One doesn’t get to see too many suspense/horror flicks in Telugu….this one works precisely for that reason and more importantly towards the end (unlike most bad flicks of this genre) the audience isn’t made to feel like morons.

A desolated bhoot bangla called Mantra Nilayam turns out to be the grave for every inhabitant. Mantra (Charmme) owns that place and has to rent it out to get over her financial difficulties. One prospective tenant wants someone to occupy the house for a period of 3 months successfully before he’d move in. Circumstances make a vasooli guy Hero (Sivaji) and his gang take up that residence for a specified period. However, when one of his friends also gets killed he begins to investigate the truth about that house.

This movie has its required quota of entertaining false scares and enough humor to keep you engaged. But some sound effects were too jarring (I don’t know if it was the sound recording or the sound system in the theatre). Overall the makers have succeeded in giving the film a slick look barring a song (featuring some unknowns) which looks straight out of some B grade soft porn flick.

Front benchers were hooting away to glory at the much-publicized Charmme’s “Shakira” style song….but it was extremely awkward to say the least. From the last time I saw her in a film she seems to have grown disproportionately in all possible dimensions. Most of the film rests on Sivaji and gang’s shoulders who have done a pretty good job. I found it to be fairly enjoyable spook show on the whole.