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Baladhoor August 19, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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Somehow pushing in a “family” in between doesn’t make a “clean family entertainer”. Udayasankar – best known for his blockbuster “Kalisundam Raa” few years ago tries his hand again with a feel-good family flick but cheated is the only thing you’ll feel after watching this.

For starters, you know a film isn’t going anywhere when Ravi Teja is talking less and fighting more. He plays this regular good-for-nothing guy who under certain circumstances gets thrown out of his family and has to win back their love and trust – especially of his uncle (Krishna). Successful films with this storyline have mostly relied of fun moments to sail through but the director decides to do something different here and his definition of fun just seems to be those flying-people-fights. Ravi Teja does most of those while Krishna is also brought in towards the end to throw a couple of punches. Whatever little laughs are there are brought in by our hero and Sunil but even that won’t make you smile too much. Brahmanandam is also given a lame routine to perform. Anushka gets to do her trademark slutty act once again. In one of the scenes, she makes multiple references to something shocking “she did when she was 13 years old”. Unfortunately, the censor board muted it out and kept everyone guessing.

In the first place you are subjected to a flick which starts being average, then turns boring and finally becomes almost unbearable….and on that you have these songs which don’t seem to run out. The collective groans of the audience when they realized that the song which they thought was the last in the film actually wasn’t is noteworthy.

Baladhoor is the most disappointing Telugu flick I’ve seen in the last few months and even if you are a die-hard Ravi Teja fan you might want to have second thoughts about watching this.

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Ullasanga Utsahanga July 29, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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If it weren’t for the very alluring hoardings, I wouldn’t have thought of checking this one out. Ullasanga Utsahanga comes nowhere near to justifying its title but still makes a decent watch. Karunakaran, who hasn’t really had much success after his blockbuster Toli Prema has a go at the beaten-to-death Tollywood love story – where a boy falls for a girl while the girl loves another guy and wants to unite with him. Now our hero selflessly helps her to her destination when finally the girl realizes that our hero is the right guy for her. The only difference being that in other flicks the other guy is depicted as a seedy character while here the girl’s “childhood love” is rubbished away as a passing fad…well anything goes to justify our hero getting the girl.

Before saying what works in this movie I must mention what stands out like a sore thumb simply because it is present throughout – and that distinction goes to debutant Yasho Sagar who is an absolute embarrassment. The fact that during many scenes members of the audience were commenting on his acting skills tells a lot about the impact he made. One might actually get a feeling that he’s deliberately botching it up. Sneha Ullal makes it work purely because of her cute-overload and there are hardly any lines for her character which also helps . The humor here is a mixed bag. There are a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments while the rest is passable – especially the comedy track of Sunil and Venu Madhav falls flat.

G.V Prakash Kumar delivers a nice score (this is actually his first straight Telugu Film) and like in all of Karunakaran’s movies the songs are very well shot. I’ll only wish that film is a hit if this doesn’t mean we’ll be treated to more Yasho Sagar in the future. Watch this one without any expectations and you’ll like it.

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.