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The Climax Cop-Outs March 8, 2010

Posted by Shujath in Articles, Films, Movies, Reviews, Tamil, Telugu.
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First of all, it is so hard to come across genuinely good Telugu flicks – and when I thought I did; in comes a terrible feel-good climax to ruin what made me actually feel good about the whole movie. My grouse is mostly directed against Leader and to a small extent – Ye Maya Chesave. There aren’t any spoilers here so continue reading even if you haven’t seen any of the films.

To begin with Leader – I must say it was a really engaging political thriller but most importantly it was bang on when it came to highlighting the moral dilemma of being a good politician. There was point where the movie should have ended but Sekhar Kammula gives you a cringing idealistic conclusion which pretty much undermines the entire film. I thought the feeling of “being cheated” in the end could only be delivered by Hollywood psychological thrillers but now I have to extend that list. Go watch it and you’ll know what I am saying. In any case Rana delivers hands down the best performance by a debutante ever.

Coming to Ye Maya Chesave – honestly I wasn’t really complaining about how it should have ended. I just felt it was just a wee bit inconsistent (and somewhat feel-good) with what went before but nevertheless it was a still a sensible conclusion. Then a couple of days later I happened to read that Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya (the original Tamil version) ends differently. I then checked out the last 15 minutes of that film and was extremely pleased to find that it was exactly how I expected/wanted the film to end. I was also equally sad that Gautham Menon didn’t (or couldn’t) end the Telugu version in the same way. How can one blame him since he was forced to include a “happy” climax when he remade Kaakha Kaakha in Telugu a few years back.

I keep reading and hearing about how Telugu audiences do not like sad (or rather un-triumphant) endings and to have one clearly spells disaster. It is impossible to prove or disprove a proposition like that. But I am hard pressed to come up with at least one instance where an otherwise excellent film was rejected by the audience just because of an unhappy end. I’d be glad if anyone could point me to a few.

All said and done, don’t miss Ye Maya Chesave – as far as love stories are concerned this is as good as it gets. Naga Chaitanya fits in very well but I can’t imagine him as a “regular” hero for at least a couple of years. The one walk away with the accolades is Samantha (wonderfully voiced by Chinmayi). And then there is also A.R Rahman’s splendid score which complements the movie so well.

Ashta Chamma October 12, 2008

Posted by Sai in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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Ashta Chamma is a comedy of lies and confusion. Lavanya is a young girl besotted with Mahesh Babu. When he gets married to Namrata and Lavanya realises that she can’t have him, she decides to do the next best thing – marry a guy named Mahesh. Her neighbor Anand decides to help her to get rid of her so that he doesn’t have to listen to the songs of Pokiri blaring from her speakers. He finds a guy named Mahesh and introduces her to Lavanya. They hit if off before a problem arises. While Mahesh tries to solve the problem, Anand complicates it as he is besotted with Mahesh’s sister who thinks … well let me not tell you everything. The rest of the film is about the fun events that occur while the conflict is resolved.

Writer-director Mohana Krishna Indraganti (Grahanam), who last gave us the old-fashioned, often boring Maya Bazaar, comes up with a farcical comedy based on Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. He sets an over-the-top tone for the film and all the actors oblige him and seem to be begging the audience to not take them seriously. Once you accept this, the film becomes easy to digest and enjoy.

Sekhar Kammula liked this film enough to buy the overseas distribution rights but this isn’t the sort of film that he would make. The film relies on unrealistic comic situations but Mohana Krishna does come up with good one-liners and they are the major strength of this film. Kalyani Malik delivers some interesting tunes that fit in well with the film. Whether it is the comedic Hello Antoo or a more mainstream Aadinchi Ashta Chamma, the songs seem to match the tone of the film.

‘Colors’ Swathi (Danger, Aaduvari Maatlaku Ardhaale Verule, Subramaniapuram), as Lavanya, is her usual bubbly self. Whether that is good or bad is upto your judgement. The main lead, Nani isn’t bad at all and is probably a better performer than some of the star kids that we get to see today. But the film really belongs to the other debutant, Srinivas Avasarala, who gets the best one liners and walks away with the audiences’ appreciation.

Krishna Vamsi’s Chandamama and now this. Telugu comedies these days seem to remind me of the time when Jandhyala made some comedic gems. While not anywhere near a great film, this is definitely an enjoyable light entertainer if you aren’t put off by the tone.

Happy Days November 11, 2007

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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It has turned out to be his biggest box office success till date but I consider Sekhar Kammula’s “Happy Days” to be his least accomplished work….which does not mean that it’s a bad film. It just didn’t strike a chord with me unlike his previous films.

Supposed to be a nostalgic look at the director’s own happy days at his alma mater CBIT, the plot is about a group of friends and the time they spend together during their 4 years of college. More specifically, one half the film deals with their first year and the interaction with their seniors while the other is about their heartaches and strained relationships. It is the first half which I found quite disappointing and that’s what gave me a less favorable impression of the movie as a whole. The complete handling of the juniors vs seniors thread (except for the senior guy falling for the junior girl angle) is very juvenile. All you have in it is a guy (the character Tyson) who concocts unbelievable stuff in his lab to trouble his seniors. This part really put me off. It was seriously unfunny and unrealistic to say the least…and especially coming from a director of Kammula’s stature. However, he is is in familiar territory when it comes to handling the interactions with his lead pairs. It does remind you of his previous films Anand and Godavari but nevertheless pleasant to watch.

What works most for this film is the fresh cast and the musical score. Sandesh and Tamanna stand out among the cast and the way they emote is excellent. I however had a hard time listening to Rahul (who plays Tyson) speak (but I must admit that in real life I have come across people who speak like that). Mickey J Meyer’s score is brilliant. It is an understatement to say that this film would have felt half as good without it.

One of the main reasons I could not appreciate this film as much as others have is because personally there was hardly anything I found here which I could relate to my own college life. I am sure others would have different perspectives and that’s probably why it is still running to packed houses even weeks after its release. On the whole, this is a film which has its moments and is definitely watchable but it would do good not to go and see this with high expectations.