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Sasirekha Parinayam January 11, 2009

Posted by Sai in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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3 comments

I just couldn’t get myself to not see this film after I saw the trailer. The enduring image of Genelia, fully dressed in her wedding attire and jewellery rising from the river was too hard to resist (and no bikinis can top that).

A bride on the run. The guy who helps her along the way. And the love that blossoms. Sasirekha Parinayam is a bit more than that but I wouldn’t want to give away some of the surprise elements.

Like his recent ventures, writer-director Krishna Vamsi’s latest is another watchable film. The plot is quite simple (it is a road movie like Jab We Met but isn’t anything like that film). The humor is appealing. The music (Mani Sarma) is good. The performances are impressive. The film doesn’t bore you for the most part. And it also has a message.

KV tackles another social issue this time. The lack of importance given to the bride’s feelings/opinions in arranged marriages (of course, that may not always be the case). KV tries to remind the audience about the responsibilities of a married woman in the Indian society and how the transition might scare a young girl, especially if she isn’t given a choice. But this is only a part of the film that is otherwise looking to entertain.

I was initially worried about watching another KV film with a joint family in it. However, my apprehensions were soon removed. The film revolves around Genelia’s Sasirekha and Tarun’s Anand. Sasirekha is the bubbly type of girl that Genelia has played often in the recent past. Despite that, she still gets the scope to perform (the scene where she is drunk and the one in the Auto instantly come to mind) and she shines once again. Tarun makes a good foil but he is overshadowed by Genelia. Nevertheless, this is a good comeback for him. Ahuti Prasad plays a role reminiscent of his part in Chandamama and I am still thoroughly amused by the accent and dialogue delivery.

Despite everything, the film still fell a little short of my expectations. I have come to expect a lot from KV but he probably has simpler goals. So, there isn’t anything particularly novel in the film. Except for one smart misdirection, it is quite predictable. Also post-interval, there isn’t much to really hold your interest because you know the what and the how doesn’t matter all that much. Nevertheless, the film is an entertaining commercial venture. Don’t expect too much from this one because it is a Krishna Vamsi film and you should find it an enjoyable experience.

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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”.

Jaane Tu…ya jaane na July 5, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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It’s a safe bet to define something as a “genre” when you’ve seen at least 3 films dealing with the same theme. Going by that Jaane Tu…ya jaane na very suitably falls into one I’d call the “Pyaar Dosti Hai” flick (courtesy: Karan Johar).

Call me immature if you want but I seriously cannot digest it when a guy and a girl who are “inseparable best friends” get the shock of their lives when someone suggests/suspects that they love each other. And then every few years comes a filmmaker who takes just about 180 minutes or so to make these “friends” realize that they really “love” each other and in the process (almost always) reaps rich harvest at the Box Office. For me, these really are pointless films but who cares as long as they entertain – and Jaane Tu… does a really good job at that. Abbas Tyrewala is probably the only screenwriter in recent times who many viewers actually recognize by name and he proves again why that is so. With a clever screenplay which makes use of every cliche in the book yet manoeuvring it around to deliver what undoubtedly is the smartest feel-good flick in a very long time.

Now let’s talk about Imran Khan….wasn’t all the hype around this film about him anyways! Again smart is the word to describe his debut. For someone like him, a mega-budget solo hero flick showcasing every ability he has would have definitely bombed. Imran much like Ranbir Kapoor has such a pleasing screen presence that you instantly take a liking to him. His deep voice is his biggest asset. Like every debutant, there are some raw edges but in a film and role like this they only serve to give that natural touch which is so essential.

The biggest shock I got in the movie was when Genelia utters her first lines. Since so many years, we’ve been used to seeing her regularly in Telugu flicks so getting to hear her real voice was quite unnerving at first. She does well though it comes across as a bit repetitive if you have seen her before. Among the other young cast Manjari Phadnis and Prateik Babbar are great. But on top of my list is Ratna Pathak Shah. It’s been ages since I’ve seen such a loveable on-screen mother. Also a huge round of applause for those very sportive cameos from Naseeruddin Shah, Sohail Khan and Arbaaz Khan. And we all know what A.R Rahman brings to a film…it’s redundant writing about it so I’ll skip that part except that new-find Rashid Ali is someone we’ll surely get to hear more.

For all its pointlessness and silliness Jaane Tu…ya jaane na made me leave the theatre with a big smile. Needless to mention producer Aamir Khan has another winner on his hands.

Ready June 22, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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Two back to back hits in a year followed by a couple of major filmmakers imitating your style. What better way to follow it up with another winner! Sreenu Vaitla does just that with his latest offering Ready.

The film begins like every other Telugu flick nowadays – hero helps heroine escape….both fall in love while on the run from the girl’s factionist family…..hero plays “mind games” to make it all work out well. The first half doesn’t really make much of an impression with the mandatory songs and action sequences overwhelming the comic parts. Sunil is the only one here who brings in the laughs in this part with his hilarious portrayal as the effeminate classical dancer. Vaitla returns with a bang in the second half once our hero’s “mind games” begin.

No prizes of guessing who steals the show from everyone again….looks like most of the audience were aware about this through the early reviews/word-of-mouth; hence the overwhelming response to Brahmanandam’s entry as “McDowell Murthy”. If you thought he was great in “Dhee” and “Krishna” lately, you’ll love him much more here. And the humor generated around him is also quite innovative rather than centering around simply being harried by the hero. His expressions in a few scenes are priceless! Another guy who stands out here is that fat kid who always gets a cameo role in all of Vaitla’s films (couldn’t figure out his name). In this film, he has a full length role and does a great job of it. Interestingly, Ready doesn’t feature the trademark Sreenu Vaitla “drunk guy bashing up his oppressors” scene….quite a sacrifice!

Ram and Genelia are fine but they get nothing new to do and are completely eclipsed by the comedians in the second half. Devisri Prasad’s tunes are good but except for the first and last songs, all the rest act as speedbreakers. The film is 3 hours long and quite a bit of the first half – especially the fights can definitely be trimmed away for good. Ready is a much more accomplished effort from Sreenu Vailta compared to his previous flicks and it shouldn’t be a surprize if it turns out be the biggest hit of this season.

Mr. Medhavi February 21, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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Though not a huge hit, this is definitely the first genuinely good Telugu film of the year. His previous two films weren’t successful but one can say Neelakanta is back in form with this one.

Mr. Medhavi – translated as Mr. Intellectual is about Vishwaksen (Raja) who since childhood believes that people’s emotions/thoughts can be “calculated” and hence easily be manipulated for anything. He is quite successful in life with his formula but trouble starts when he tries the same to manipulate his childhood sweetheart (Genelia) to fall in love with him. His tricks actually backfire and he ends up in the uncomfortable situation of having to act as a matchmaker between her and the guy (Sonu Sood) she confesses being in love with.

Despite the predictability of the twists the movie entertains throughout. A lot of people have complained about the pacing but I found it just right. Ironically, the only issue I actually found with this movie is the overuse of the words Medhavi/Medhassu in every episode. I think the audience who watches such films doesn’t need to be reminded constantly that they are watching a clever film. A little bit of subtlety would still drive the point home more gracefully.

The casting seems to be perfect here. Raja most of the time has to sport a smug look on his face without talking much but carries out his part well. Genelia gets a meaty role and does complete justice to it…she looks gorgeous too. Sonu Sood seems to have made a permanent place and both Hindi and Telugu cinema by playing parts which are too important to be left to lesser actors and not big enough to warrant a star. He has a changed appearance from the last time I saw him and deilvers yet another controlled performance.

The best and the most entertaining part of the movie are the scenes featuring Dharmavarapu Subramanyam and M.S Narayana…..As the bickering managers in the office they generate the maximum laughs both in the first half as well as the nicely crafted “HR seminar” sequence in the second. The good thing about Chakri’s music is that there isn’t much of it to disturb the flow. I liked the background score though. One man show – Neelakanta deilvers a clear winner this time.