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Varudu April 5, 2010

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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Do you want to know the secret of a successful marriage?
Do you want to know the secret of successful progeny?
Do you want to know the secret of a successful society?
Do you want to know the secret of a successful world?

Varudu answers it all and much more! Now, you might wonder why I’d write any further about such a groundbreaking film since it would obviously involve giving away spoilers. Well…the catch is that watching this movie comes with the risk of acute brain damage (temporary only…I hope!). I was able to confirm this condition in me because at one point in the movie I was actually cheering for the villain to sleep with the kidnapped bride and put our “Varudu” to a gruesome death. (There’s another part of me which says it’s a pretty reasonable wish and maybe my mind is alright after all – but let’s leave it at that for now).

If you’ve now decided you’d rather not watch the movie – here come the spoilers. The secret to all types of “success” mentioned above is the “Traditional Telugu 5-day Wedding Ritual”. Now, if you are really dumb to doubt something like that, Varudu even provides a scientific explanation to skeptics in one instance. Here it comes – It has been scientifically proved that putting Jeelakarra-Bellam (Cumin Seeds and Jaggery) on each other’s heads activates the “pathways of attraction” in the cerebral cortex of the people involved which results in them falling for each other instantly.

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(BTW, that was a two minute silence in memory of Science). In case you didn’t notice, with this film Gunasekhar successfully completes his trilogy of CGI-blunders (Remember Arjun and Sainikudu?). Maybe I am being a bit too harsh here. But someone loved the climax of Wolverine so much that they didn’t have any trouble composing shots of CGI Nuclear Power Plants with a CGI Kalyana Mandapam in a CGI countryside.

Varudu also boasts of the worst ever performance by a leading man. I’ve always admired Allu Arjun for his smart choice of films and the characters he plays – where his limited acting abilities fit in so perfectly; no wonder he reigns supreme over everyone else when it comes to the success rate of his films. In this film, the first thing which puts you off is his horrible diction. Also, in a lot of places he sports this obnoxious expression of smugness – which is a combination of a regular blush + “Wow…I am so stylish but see how I can still uphold and follow old traditions”. No wonder then…I was cheering for Arya!

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Kantri May 11, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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Despite impressing everyone last year with Yamadonga, NTR had people talking about his drastic weight loss and that it was a bit too much – he’s lost his charm etc. Now that one has gotten used to him in that avatar, his newest offering Kantri actually is the first film of his which you can watch without wondering if he is too fat or too thin. Kantri is a regular formula film – albeit shot better than others in this genre with a nice plot twist (inspired from a movie of course!) to make you think that you’ve seen something different from the ordinary.

Kranti aka Kantri (NTR) is a vagabond who joins a gang of baddies headed by PR (Prakash Raj). Now the movie begins with a young PR cheating and killing some folks for money, so you can guess there has to be some link between Kranti and PR. There are quite a bunch of baddies here (Ashish Vidhyarthi, Murli Sharma, Sayaji Shinde) who exist just to give a reason for the fight sequences. In between there are some nice comic moments – Krishna Bhagwan’s thread was the best of them all. Ali and Sunil are also good in a few scenes. Raghubabu as usual gets the same role as the villain’s comic sidekick and he is good too.

This film seems to have been made as a conscious attempt increase NTR’s audience base. If you go in expecting a regular NTR flick you’ll come out impressed as this is quite a stylized upgrade to the stuff he’s been doing until now. There are also some lines which explicitly speak about “class”ifying him to put across the point. Since this film is about NTR he does everything expected of him in style. The lengthy dialogues (with references to taathaiyya of course!), the fights and most importantly the dances. This time the moves which leave you wonderstruck are in the songs “Vayassunami” (reused from Vijay’s Pokkiri) and “I go crazy”. The only thing good about Hansika and Tanisha are that they aren’t hanging around for too long. Mani Sharma’s tunes are good and all the songs are nicely picturized. Owing to the “class”ification the fights also seem a bit restrained (in terms of flying people) when compared to other flicks. Meher Ramesh (quite a popular Kannada film director) makes a neat debut.

Finally, if you are a fan of NTR, Kantri is the summer-special treat you’ve been waiting for….if you aren’t then atleast you won’t crib about him for once.

Parugu – In the name of Love May 1, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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A film like Bommarillu is not easy to follow up. And you can’t blame the audience for having high expectations. It’s just my guess that writer-director Bhaskar seemed to have thought about this beforehand and decided that the best way to handle this situation is to make it clear to his audience right from the outset that they’ll be seeing a regular fun-filled Allu Arjun entertainer and nothing more – and that helps.

On the night of her wedding Subbalakshmi (Poonam Bajwa) elopes with her lover. Her incensed father Neelakanta (Prakash Raj) – who is a strong village henchman rounds up her lover’s friends and confines them to some kind of a dungeon until they trace the runaway couple. Krishna (Allu Arjun) is one of them and later turns out to be the guy who happened to have played an important part in the elopement. During his stay there, he ends up falling in love with Neelakanta’s other daughter Meena (Sheila). Now Krishna has to handle these twin troubles.

The first half moves at a breezy pace with the usual banter involving the hero and his gang of friends. At this point of time you are pretty much convinced that what you’ll get later is also some more of this stuff and if you still had Bommarillu in mind you’ll realize that Bhaskar isn’t interested in pulling off another one. But interestingly in the second half the film slowly and steadily changes track and has a go at the issue of runaway lovers. I then started wondering if the title Parugu actually was referring to this kind of “run”. Most of the sequences thereon are really well conceived – the one between Ali and Prakash Raj, between Arjun and a drunken Prakash Raj and the ones in the pre-climax. However, as the film nears its climax there is a lot of ambiguity and suspense as to what point of view the director is trying to convey – whether you call it clever writing or a confused mind you decide. At the end it works out pretty well though.

Allu Arjun is his usual self and nothing more is expected of him either. Watch out for his improvised “NTR’s Yamadonga step” in the song “Elagelaga”. Sheila (looks like a familiar face) is quite good in the initial portions but hasn’t got much to do after that. Prakash Raj – who is made to look like a regular villain in the first half does an about turn later in the movie into the sensitive father who loves his daughters more than anything else. This contrast in his portrayal is probably deliberate to bring about the intended effect but I still somewhat felt the inconsistency of his characterization was a sore thumb. Jayasudha does a small cameo. Mani Sharma’s music is okay – the kind of songs you’d enjoy watching just once on screen.

This film entertains quite well to merit a good “parugu” at the box office. More than anyone else Chiranjeevi would be pleased with Allu Arjun to have been part of this film.

Tailpiece: If you happen to be the “best friend” of someone who helped him/her elope then beware….this film is directed mostly at you!