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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.

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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.

Bujjigadu – Made in Chennai May 25, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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In hindsight, one can figure out why Bujjigadu has turned out to be the way it is. Puri Jagannadh’s films always revolve around a hero who can talk – especially with a reckless street-smart accent. Now, among the leading men of today Prabhas is the only guy in the “top league” who has extremely poor dialogue delivery skills when compared to his contemporaries. So, what does Puri do?

Prior to watching this one, I guessed that Mohanbabu was in the movie to do the talking. I was wrong. What happens is this – In the film’s runtime of say 2hrs 40 minutes, there are not less than 2 hours of fights (the same old flying people stuff) and songs. In the remaining 40 minutes where some conversation happens, to justify the tagline “Made in Chennai” Prabhas speaks in Tamil (which he speaks exactly in the way he says his Telugu lines – so that atleast you can’t criticize him for speaking a language you don’t understand – clever move!!!). The rest of the time when he does speak Telugu, he somehow makes it work at times but is highly inconsistent as he slips back into his old mode of delivery regularly. I had to write all this stuff simply because my hands refuse to move on the keyboard to describe the plot. Anyways, that was Bujjigadu summed up.

Hmm…What else did I forget?? Oh…yes, watch out for Prabhas say “Darling” and Mohanbabu use Hindi gaalis combined with some English – if the rest of the movie didn’t make you bang your head against a wall, this definitely will! There was a exodus of people running out of the theatre whenever the songs came on….not because they were bad but to prepare themselves for an extended fight scene which would immediately follow after that. It was not like I had great expectations from Bujjigadu but I never expected it to be headache inducing. Maybe a more capable star than Prabhas would have made this one sail through.

There are some laughs which Bujjigadu delivers at times but that is not good enough justification to sit through this one….unless you are a die-hard fan of Prabhas or Puri Jagannadh.

P.S. Coming out the theatre I immediately booked a ticket for the next show of Prince Caspian (which I actually never intended to see in the first place) to neutralize the Bujjigadu effect.

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.