Archive for Telugu

Lingaa

Lingaa

After disastrous Kochadaiiyaan, one would have expected Rajni to act in a sensible film which would make his fans happy. But unfortunately, Lingaa fails miserably at all levels.

Directed by K S Ravi Kumar,  the film starts off in the present age with our Super Star as a petty thief. Then we’re told that he is the descendent of King Lingeswara who build a dam and temple in a small town in the pre-independence era. The temple has been closed down for ages and Lingaa is required to reopen the temple. The first part of the first half is about Anushka trying to vie Lingaa to visit the town and reopen the temple, and once he does, we have to sit through 2 hour flashback/lecture about how great his grandfather is. This flashback is so bloody long that I actually forgot the reason for it. The problem with Lingaa is not just its running time but its predictable script; no wait, it’s lazy screenplay; no, its pathetic direction. If either of the latter were good, the movie would have been better. But thanks to below par screenplay and direction, most Rajni fans in the theatre couldn’t stop yawning (and cursing). The only positive point are some good dialogues.

Rajni tries his best to keep the boat sailing, but how much can he do (especially when his body double is in most of the shots)? I enjoy his style and everything, but I think it’s time for him to stop romancing young co-stars and instead work on some sensible scripts. Both Anushka and Sonakshi have limited roles and neither makes an impression. Jagpathi Babu is alright. Santhanam is loud and his dubbing is even more irritating. The rest of the cast is fine.

Music by A R Rahman was pathetic. Did he really work on this film? Cos neither the background score nor the songs are up to his standards. Editing by Samjith is mediocre. While cinematography by Rathnavelu is good in parts, the below average graphics ruin the impact on most occasions.

Is it worth your time and money??: The trailer wasn’t impressive so I walked in with minimal expectations, but Lingaa turned out to be a bigger disappointment than I had expected. It ain’t a terrible film, but still, the fact that hardcore fans didn’t seem to enjoy the movie says a lot. So it’s totally alright if you give this one a skip.

Worth mention: Rajni

Acting: 7.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 5/10
Technical Aspects: 6.5/10

Verdict: 6/10

Loukyam

Loukyam

At at time when hero has to flex his muscles or say a punch dialogue in almost every scene, when fights dominate most of the movie while logic goes for a toss, here comes an entertainer with just 3 fights in the entire movie (I wish I could say logical, but err… never mind).

Like every other movie in recent time, Srivas’s Loukyam borrows a lot of content from other films; hero helps villain’s sister escape from wedding, later falls in love with another sister, and then tries to make mends with him. Watched it already, haven’t you? But what makes this film different is the directors take on the same old story. Srivas brings in a lot of freshness while infusing abundant amount of comedy, thus producing a perfect entertainer. Overall, direction is neat while screenplay could have been better. If only he could make it a little more realistic (I know that’s a big ask for today’s Telugu movies).

Gopichand looks really fit and comes up with a pretty good performance. Rakul Preet Singh looks great and does a decent job. She does look to have a bright future. Chandra Mohan has a meaty role and does well. Sampath Raj is decent, while Rahul Dev, and to an extent Mukesh Rishi are wasted. Pruthvi Raj is brilliant as “Boiling Star”, especially during the climax fight. But the real star of the movie is Bramhanandam. He does a full length role and entertains to the maximum. If not for him, Loukyam would have been out and dusted by now. Hats-off to Srivas for utilizing him perfectly.

Music by Anoop Rubens is forgettable, and background score should have been better. Cinematography by Vetri is good while editing by Sekhar is alright. There were a couple of sound/dubbing issues which should have been taken care off.

Is it worth your time and money??: Yes, we have an entertainer at hand. It might not be the best film you’ve watched in recent times, but it sure makes you walk out of the theatre satisfied. Plus point is comedy while the routine storyline might disappoint a few. Nevertheless, it deserves a watch.

Worth mention: Bramhanandam’s track and Pruthvi Raj’s episode during the climax fight.

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 8.5/10
Technical Aspects: 7/10

Verdict: 8/10

PS: Finally we have a Telugu film which uses correct English: Smoking and Drinking are injurious… And good to see our once upon a time tenant “Boiling Star” do well for himself 🙂

Aagadu

aagadu

What happens when you replace Pawan Kalyan with Mahesh Babu in Gabbar Singh? What happens when you have left over script from Dookudu? Well, I’m guessing you have the answer.. you get Aagadu!

Srinu Vaitla has been on a roll in the recent past. His combination with Mahesh has proved successful, and the expectations on this film are very high. In order to meet them, all he does is a pot-pourri of two successful films. The first half is entertaining with a lot of resemblance to Gabbar Singh. Right from the title track to the game show episode, it all seemed a repeat with a new flare, thanks to Mahesh. Come second half, the pace reduces and we have another version of Dookudu. Srinu did try to make it interesting by making the villain dig his own grave, but it seemed too contrived. Dialogues are good, screenplay is neat, and direction is alright; if only the movie had original script.

It’s a cake walk for Mahesh for most of the movie. The only point where it gets difficult is when he steps into Pawan’s shoes. Thanks to his own style of acting, he does a commendable job, but one cannot stop compare these fine actors. On looks front, he’s shed weight and looks really dashing. His dance moves are worth mention. Tamannaah has limited screen presence, and does a good job. Bramhanadam entertains with his style of comedy (becoming the bakra), while the rest of the cast is alright. For Sonu Sood, it’s just an extension of his character from Dookudu. Shruthi Haasan sizzles in the item song.

Music by Thaman is more or less mediocre(but for ‘Saroja’), and the background score was no better. It’s time this guy took a break from movies rather than repeating the same old tunes over and over. Editing by Varma is decent, and cinematography by Guhan is excellent. However, there’s too much CG work, and that kinda spoils his work.

PS: It’s be nice if Telugu industry realizes the difference between a Eunuch and a homosexual (gay).

Is it worth your time and money??: You’ve seen it all in the past, so it all gets down to perspective now. I walked in with no expectations and walked out entertained, so I suggest you do the same as well if you’re planning to give this a watch. In one line, Aagadu is definitely an entertainer, but to what extent it entertains depends on your expectations; and patience 🙂

Worth mention: It’s all Mahesh. Other entertaining episodes are the game show and Bramhandam (CG) dance in the climax.

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7/10
Technical Aspects: 7.5/10

Verdict: 7/10

Anukshanam

anukshanam

Ram Gopal Varma is one of the finest directors in Telugu industry. Unfortunately, thanks to his obsessive disorders, he ends up making some pathetic movies (like he’s been doing in the recent times). But if he puts his best foot forward, he definitely impresses one and all.

Anukshanam is a Psycho kinda dark film, where in a psycho killer is on a rampage in Hyderabad. There’s not much to showcase here but for the killings and the investigation; that’s where a director’s talent actually comes across, and RGV does a fabulous job. The 90 off minute movie is very gripping, and for a change (in Telugu industry), is more or less logical. The screenplay is crisp, and RGV gets the best out of all his actors. The way he handles the box sequence shows his calibre as a director.

Vishnu looked really dashing as the police officer investigating the murders. This is probably one of the best looks he’s had in all his movies. Revathi comes up with mature performance sans make up. Surya, the guy who plays the psycho killer is really good. RGV was able to bring out right emotions and expressions from him. Madhu Shalini was loud at times. The rest of the cast is alright.

Music and sound effects are the most important aspects for a film of this genre (apart from screenplay and direction of course), and they don’t disappoint. Editing by Kamal and Santosh is perfect, and cinematography by Nani is excellent. The visual look really good.

Is it worth your time and money??: If you like dark films, then Anukshanam isn’t gonna disappoint you. One might argue that there are better foreign films in this genre, and I agree. But this is definitely a good start for us. Lemme reiterate, it’s not a great film, but a good one nevertheless. RGV finally stands up!

Worth mention: The box opening sequence.

Acting: 8.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7.5/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 7.5/10

Rabhasa

Rabhasa

What happens when you pick up story lines from a bunch of movies and make a pot-pourri? You get a boring Rabhasa!

I never got to watch Santosh Srinivas’s first film Kandireega. By the looks of it, it must have been a better film for he actually got chance to direct another with the same producer. The problem actually is not with the director, but the script. Rabhasa offers nothing new: a young man fighting not for his love, but for his family. The only twist here is that he’s fighting for some stranger’s family reunion. To add value Santosh tried to twist the screenplay, but that doesn’t work well. Add to that innumerable number of uncanny fights, and there you go, another boring film aimed only for the masses. While direction is good in parts, it’s mediocre for most of the film.

NTR, who finally gets a release after a long time, is perfect to play the lead. But the problem is that you’ve already seen him play similar character in the past. So it’s a cake walk for him, but his choice of doing same roles baffles me. While he looks slim and fit in few scenes, he needs to lose weight (again). Samantha has a full fetched role and she’s alright (but for in few scenes). She looked really glamorous. Pranitha has a small role to play and doesn’t make an impact. I was surprised by the number of negative characters in the movie. While everyone starts off strong, they all end up being pussies with no one making an impact. Bramhanadam entertains in the second half, but again it’s the same old bakra character.

Music by Thaman is, as my cousin puts it, same-to-same. But for ‘Rakasi Rakasi’, you’ve heard every other tune in the past (just like you’ve watched most scenes of this film somewhere). Editing by Venkateswara Rao is alright. Cinematography by Shyam Naidu is pretty good. However, the graphics could have been better. You expect good dances in an NTR movie, but there was nothing on offer.

Is it worth your time and money??: Unless you are a fan, you can probably give this one a miss – not because it’s a bad film, but since you’ve already seen most of this in the past. NTR is a definite asset to the film, but I am not sure if people want to see him play the same roles again and again.

Worth mention: Cinematography. And to an extent, Bramhanadam’s episodes.

Acting: 7.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 5/10
Technical Aspects: 7/10

Verdict: 6/10

Drishyam

Drishyam

Drishyam has garnered quite a bit of positive buzz within days of its release. A remake of Malayalam version with the same title, this one is a good film, yes, but definitely not a good thriller.

Scripted by Jeethu Joseph (director of the original), Drishyam tells a story of an ordinary middle class family who get pulled into unanticipated circumstances thanks to a guest (film term). Before I delve into rest of the details, here’s some trivia.

Immediately after watching the movie, I came home to watch the original. And to my surprise, the Telugu version happens to be a scene to scene rip off of the Malayalam version. Except for a few edits, everything including most of the character names, dates, dialogues, and even the camera angles happen to be the same. There was absolutely no change in terms of the screenplay either. Unfortunately though, the subtlety of the original was far left behind.

Back to the review now. Debutant director Sripriya had no role to play as most of the cast happened to be senior actors, and could replay the original to the ‘T’. At no point was her ability showcased with respect to direction or screenplay. As already mentioned, the subtlety was lost in translation, especially in the first half hour where the characters were established. Everything seemed loud and artificial. Talking about the screenplay, while it was decent, I wasn’t really impressed by it. And it definitely didn’t belong to thriller genre. When most of the story is revealed immediately after the scene’s occurrence, I don’t think that can be called a thriller. Yes, it had some (very little I say) suspense associated with it, but no, it wasn’t edge of the seat stuff. Oh, add unconvincing, and at times pretty slow as well.

Venkatesh did a commendable job as the lead, and it was more or less a tailor-made role for him. It would have been nice if he had let go of his cheekiness in the first half hour though. That apart, he had to downplay for most of the film, and he does a commendable job. It was a cakewalk for Meena, having played the role in the original. She was good, but again could have reduced the makeup (she looked so much better in the original sans makeup). Krutika is pretty good as the elder daughter, and Baby Esther was good in the role she essayed in Malayalam. Nadira was decent as the ruthless cop, while Naresh came up with a good performance. The rest of the cast is alright.

Music by Sharreth, borrowed from the original is alright. Editing by Marthand Venkatesh and cinematographer by Gopal Reddy were both decent. However, I’m disappointed that neither had anything special to add to the movie.

Is it worth your time and money??: It’s a good movie and an entertainer. But to call it the best of the lot thriller would be injustice to the genre (Go watch Anveshana (1985), that’s a thriller). Give it a watch without expectations and I’m guessing you won’t be disappointed.

Worth mention: Hero Venkatesh downplaying for most of the movie.

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7/10
Technical Aspects: 7.5/10

Verdict: 7.5/10

After watching both the versions, I have a different take on the movie. Spoiler alert, so only people who have watched the movie are advised to read on.

Instead of revealing the fact that IG’s son had shot a video of George Kutty’s/Venky’s daughter and him being murdered in the first half, I would have preferred if it was kept under wraps till the end of the movie. The family could have travelled to Vizianagaram, gone to the temple, come back, and the entire storyline of them being arrested and tortured could have been showcased without giving away the plot. In this case, you are more connected to the family for you as audience don’t know that they have committed the crime as well. Entire suspense could have been revealed in about 10 minutes in the last shot where Venky meets the IG couple. Voila, you now have a thriller! 

Should I be directing movies?? 😛

Oohalu Gusagusalade

Oohalu Gusagusalaade

Oohalu Gusagusalade happens to be one of the surprise hits of the year, and it is not without a reason. Well canned with a simple storyline, this movie is surely refreshing!

Scripted and directed by Srinivas Avasarala, the story revolves around a shy guy taking the help of his friend to woo his girl, little knowing that the friend loved the girl in the past. It’s an old story, yes, but Srini presented it in a very refreshing way. With relatively new cast, Srini excels in directing the first half. While he does pretty good in the latter half as well, I thought he failed to invoke emotions. The lead letting go of his love so easily, with a smiling face was lamentable. But now that I think of it, it might have been intentional to avoid the regular emotional scenes and show everything on a lighter note. Screenplay is very effective as well.

Shourya comes up with an exceptional performance as the guy caught up between love and family. He has ease to his acting, and is way better than any than the other breed of so-called actors. Rashi Khanna is really cute and puts up a fine performance. I’ve always liked Srinivas Avasarala’s style of acting and he doesn’t disappoint. Every cast member comes up with notable performances.

Music by Kalyani Koduri is pretty decent. While songs break the flow at a couple of instances, the tunes are really peppy. Editing by Kiran Ganti is decent, and so is the cinematography by Venkat Dileep.

Is it worth your time and money??: Definitely yes. It’s a refreshing film with some fine performances. Though it lacked emotions, the flow of the film is great. A film not to be missed this season.

Worth mention: The cute little love story in the first half, and the climax scene.

Acting: 8.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 8.5/10
Technical Aspects: 7.5/10

Verdict: 8.5/10

Autonagar Surya

AutoNagarSurya

I believe any movie needs a strong plot. Even if isn’t conveyed on-screen, the director should know his script. Unfortunately, Deva Katta has no clue on what he wants to convey, and so Autonagar Surya is close to a disaster.

Set in the 1990’s, Surya is our rebellious orphan living in a union run colony controlled by mafia. Like any other movie, our hero fights the goons from the word go, so much to an extent that he lands up in jail for murder at an age of 16. The rest of the movie is all about him fighting more goons and murdering more people, this time without being arrested. Looks like Deva Katta was very inspired by Hrithik Roshan starrer, Agneepath. I initially didn’t get why he chose to showcase the story in the 1990’s, but later realized that if he portrayed such violence and atrocities in the current age, people would laugh at him. Dev Katta got so confused that he had no clue on what to do towards the end, resulting in one of the quickest climax in recent times. But for the dialogues, the direction and screenplay are pretty weak.

Did I say Naga Chaitanya improved as an actor in Manam review? I would take that back but for the fact that this movie was shot much before Manam. He is absolutely pathetic. Just like Ram Charan in Racha, he tries to imitate his dad and fails miserably. Any B-grade actor would have probably performed better. Samantha looks cute but is as good as a doll. There is a huge cast, most of them come up with average performances. Most disappointing was the characterization of Sai Kumar for he is totally wasted in a purposeless role.

Music by Anoop Rubens is mediocre with songs popping in between for no reason. Cinematography by Srikant Naroj is average while editing by Goutham Raju is pathetic. The film is unnecessarily long with a number of scenes which make no sense. Visual effects by my childhood buddy Asif Bhushan are neat.

Is it worth your time and money??: I don’t think so. Give it a month’s time and it’ll be playing on your television. It’s a different discussion as to whether it’s worth watching it on TV as well. 

Worth mention: A couple of powerful dialogues being uttered by one of the most untalented actor in recent times.

Acting: 5.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 5/10
Technical Aspects: 5.5/10

Verdict: 5.5/10

Ulavacharu Biryani

Ulavacharu Biryani

A remake of a Malayalam blockbuster, Prakash Raj’s Ulavacharu Biryani is a feel good film. But, it could have been way better.

The story is pretty simple – two elderly, unmarried adults accidentally start talking to each other over phone and eventually fall for each other, but the problem arises when they decide to meet. The first half of the film is very witty, and the food background creates the right impact on the audience. However, it’s the latter half which is a huge disappointment. Instead of staying with the humorous thread, the script takes a u-turn and steps on sentiment. This really doesn’t work well and the effect created by the first half fades away slowly because of a bore dealing with self-confidence and self-pity. Instead, it would have been nice to see a quick-witted screenplay even in the second half, and create more humour while involving food. Direction by Prakash Raj is pretty good, and he shines as a director in parts. Screenplay could have been a little better, and the scenes involving the tribal men could have been avoided.

As an actor, its’ a cake walk for Prakash Raj. He is one of the most versatile actors with great screen presence and voice in Indian cinema today, and I hope he keeps up his good work while staying out of controversies. Sneha makes a very good comeback. She looks pretty, and Sunita’s dubbing is perfect for her. Newcomers Tejus and Samyuktha are alright. M.S. Narayana and Brahmaji have good roles and perform well, while Urvashi and Aishwarya shine in their brief appearances.

Music by maestro Ilaiyaraaja is a definite plus point of the film. However, the background score could have been better. Another major plus point of the film are its dialogues by Vallabha. Cinematography by Preetha and editing by Kishore are decent.

Is it worth your time and money??: Ulavacharu Biryani is a feel good film on the likes on Anand and Godavari. If you like these kind of movies, then this one is for you. Plus point are acting by Prakash Raj and Sneha, music, and entertaining dialogues. On the other hand, a laggy second half with unnecessary sentiment spoils the fun. Nevertheless, it’s an enjoyable watch, and after Manam, a family entertainer.

Like the name, the film is an odd combination of fun (first half) and sentiment (second half)!

Worth mention: The entire first half with mouth-watering food was super fun.

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 7/10

Manam

Manam

After a successful entertainer (Ishq), director Vikram Kumar has another winner at his hands, thanks to Akkineni family.

Manam is not a great film, for it has numerous flaws in terms of logic and reasoning. But it still works, only because it is earnest, and the effort on everyone’s part is sincere (which shows on-screen). The script is very clichéd, with reincarnation and all such stuff, but Vikram was able to put it all forth in a very effective manner (though it seemed a little unconvincing at times). He used humor to bring out the best from his cast. Though the screenplay was dragged quite a bit at times, it was still effective.

In reality, the film works not because of the script, but because of Nagarjuna, who is the real star of the movie. He is absolutely charming and came up with one of his best performances. He couldn’t have given a better send off gift to his father, legendary actor, ANR. Whilst ANR has limited screen presence, he entertains us to the fullest one last time. Chaitanya has improved as an actor, but I believe there is still a long way for him to go. Akhil impresses in his cameo. Both Shriya and Samantha have meaty roles, and they performed to their best. Samantha looked very pretty, while Shriya looked elegant. There’s not much of other cast, and I thought Brahmanandam and Ali were wasted.

On technical front, music by Anoop Rubens is a definite asset to the film. Background score is impressive as well. Cinematography by P. S. Vinod adds more color to this vibrant film, while editing by Prawin Pudi is decent. Dialogues by Vishnuvardhan are good. Production values by Akkineni family are excellent.

Is it worth your time and money??: Definitely. It’s a clean film and a perfect family entertainer. While it might seem a bit clichéd and little unconvincing at times, an earnest effort from the entire cast and crew make this film work. Nagarjuna is the major plus point, while watching ANR on silver screen for the last time is a bonus. Watch it with your family. 🙂 

Worth mention: The scene in the second half with all three generations of the Akkineni family (and maybe even the climax).

Acting: 8.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 8/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10

Verdict: 8.5/10

%d bloggers like this: