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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”.

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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.

Krishna February 11, 2008

Posted by Sai in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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You might be forgiven for thinking that V V Vinayak and Srinu Vaitla directed this film together because, while the action and mind games are typical Vinayak stuff, the comedic elements (especially the oppressed turning oppressor aspect that includes a drunken thrashing) seem straight out of Vaitla’s book. This is quite a prototypical big-hero action film that is saved by the humor, which I believe is the primary reason for its box-office success (helped further by the weak competition during the favorable Sankranthi season).

Writer-director Vinayak isn’t new to gimmicks but he repeats some of his tricks this time. Flying vehicles aren’t as interesting now even if he replaces the Sumo with another SUV or even a lorry. One has to say, though, that some of the vehicles fly quite beautifully. Nevertheless, this isn’t the best thing in the film.

Brahmanandam is.

He isn’t the star of the film but he is the one that makes you laugh most and it is hard to not remember him first. Ravi Teja is obviously one of the more entertaining stars around and he does his job without really standing out this time. Trisha gets precious little to do but she looks good and her hard-to-miss-or-forget tattoo placement is something that I expect will feature in a lot of discussion among the audience. And then there is Mukul Dev as the main antagonist. He seems to be imitating his brother but his work here is better than what I’ve seen him do in Bollywood.

The songs in the film break the momentum every single time and are a bit of a pain to endure as the tunes aren’t special and neither are the visuals. The audience let out a collective sigh when the final song commenced. Ironically, it was the best of the lot, the typical pumped-up prelude-to-the-climax number lifted shamelessly (composer Chakri could have probably been forced to so) from Vidyasagar’s Gilli number Appadi Podu (and watching Ravi Teja dance isn’t quite the same as watching Vijay dance). The lyrics are especially lame. “Taratha ettukupotha” filled with gibberish and the mixed language “Tu mera dilbar O priyathama” are cringeworthy instead of being hip or something. Lyricist Chandrabose might have written the songs keeping the masses in mind but I think he is capable of much better.

This film entertains for a considerable amount of its length, thanks to writer-director Vinayak’s adept handling of the comedy and the performances of the actors in those scenes. Watch it if you must, but only for the humor.