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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”.

Chintakayala Ravi October 6, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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The catchy title itself lets you know what to expect from this one. Moreover with Venkatesh in the lead things look all set for a great fun-filled entertainer. Does Chintakayala Ravi deliver? Well it does in parts. On the whole it is a decent entertainer but doesn’t fall in the league of Venky’s previous blockbusters.

Chintakayala Ravi (Venkatesh) works as a bartender in the US. Initially supposed to study for being a Software Engineer, he lets go of his money in unforseen circumstances due to which he ends up in his current profession. However, everyone back home (especially her mom) is still made to believe he really is working as a Software Engineer. Based on this notion they find a girl Lavanya (Mamata Mohandas) for him. Now Lavanya has a friend in the US – Sunita (Anushka) whose help she uses to verify Ravi’s credentials. What happens of him and his marriage when Ravi’s true identity is disclosed is for you to see.

The story though not new is nevertheless much welcome but director Yogesh hasn’t capitalized on that fully. the humor works only in parts relying more on Kona Venkat’s one-liners than genuinely funny situations. I felt this one actually worked more as a love story (which begins quite late into the movie) than a comedy. Venkatesh is completely at home doing his usual stuff and he effectively holds the entire film. Despite the presence of the usual gang of comedians, he ends up stealing the show mostly. Anushka for a change gets a nice role to play while Mamata doesn’t have much to do. There are a few cameos too – Nikita was quite funny and NTR does a jig in one of the songs.

Vishal-Shekhar’s music has nothing great to write home about except for the first song. They shouldn’t have used their “Jag Soona” number from OSO in this film as it resulted in some unprovoked comments and laughter during some of the heavy duty moments. Better humor and probably doing a bit more justice to the romantic track would have worked wonders for Chintakayala Ravi but still it manages to be an above average Venky entertainer.

Homam September 5, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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Rather than simply dismissing it as “The Departed” rip-off let me give you a few reasons why you might want to watch this one. First or all, Homam is a more-or-less faithful remake and at no point the proceedings are dumbed down so as to make it appealing to a wider audience. Today, when an original “action thriller” in Telugu simply means yet another story of a guy taking a factionist head on for various reasons (love, revenge etc…) and add to that those dumb fight sequences…. I’d prefer to watch a nice remake of a Hollywood flick anyday.

Those who have seen Scorcese’s flick would no doubt be deprived of the suspense but it still worked for me. For those who haven’t seen that one the story is about a couple of guys – one who has infiltrates the police and another who infiltrates the mob under the guidance of their respective bosses. When each party knows that they have a mole inside these two guys are given the responsibility finding him out in their respective organizations. Chekravarthy – who has directed a couple of films before shows quite an improvement. The camerawork is especially noteworthy. He also seems to have incorporated a few elements from his mentor Ramgopal Varma. The picturization of the first song reminded me a lot of Ramu’s Telugu flicks from the nineties. Amar Mohile’s background score (some of the bits sound very familiar) is also effective.

Jagapathi Babu shines in a role – the kind he is best at but which seems to have eluded him for quite some time now. Chekravarthy’s role isn’t that well defined – maybe he was too busy with the directorial aspects. Mahesh Manjrekar isn’t as impressive as I might have expected though his nemesis in the movie Pradeep Rawat is very good. The two girls (Mamata Mohandas and Madhurima) look good but their respective tracks don’t gel with the film.

Towards the end of Homam, I had the feeling of watching a satisfying film but what I found rather disappointing was the teaser for the sequel called “Marana Homam”. I only hope Chekri has some good source material in hand to pull that one off! Go watch Homam if you are looking for a well-shot Tollywood action thriller.