Baahubali – The Beginning | Movie Review

Baahubali - The Beginning

Baahubali – The Beginning is touted to be the most expensive movie made in India, an epic film more than two years in the making, the expectations are high, and above all, it’s a Rajamouli film. The result? A half-baked biscuit!

Rajamouli is one of the best directors in the Telugu industry. He is a visionary; Eega was an example of that. With Baahubali, he tries to go one notch higher. He does it successfully in grandeur, but unfortunately, not on storytelling or direction.

Baahubali – The Beginning showcases the story of a young lad who discovers his lineage as we progress through the film. It starts off like most others. First, the macho protagonist character is established, followed by a show-off of muscles and strength. There is a damsel in distress for whom he falls head over heels, comes to her rescue, and finally, there is an intertwined flashback ending with an action-packed war sequence. Rajamouli ensures that there is everything the audience wants, from muscles and the navel to the beautifully crafted and picturised war sequence. But unfortunately, while there is creativity and novelty in probably every other sense, there is none in the storyline or storytelling. The screenplay is absolutely mediocre. Yes, I understand it’s a two-part film, but even then, the movie is patchy with no flow. The direction, too, isn’t up to the mark, for the characters seemed to lack emotions and are too loud at times (it felt like watching a TV serial on a couple of occasions). One expects better from Rajamouli.

Prabhas has put in a lot of effort and tried hard to do justice to the characters he plays. While he is pretty good as Baahubali, he looks miserable as Sivudu. His dialogue delivery is also not up to the mark. Rana looks menacing as the antagonist and comes up with a good performance. Anushka does well in her brief presence, but her make-up could have been better. Tamannaah looks beautiful on-screen, and I wish the same could have been said about her acting. Ramya Krishna is great, but I think the subtlety was amiss. Sathyaraj has a meaty role, and does well. The rest of the cast is alright.

Music by Keeravani is average, with almost all songs forcefully inserted into the movie. The background score and sound mixing are perfect. While cinematography by Senthil Kumar is spectacular, the colour grading is terrible, and the visuals aren’t consistent on-screen. The graphics, too, are erratic. Production design and sets are excellent. Editing by K V Rao could have been better; though a little over 150 minutes, the film seemed tediously long.

Bottom line, I have to agree that Baahubali is an example that we are making substantial progress in our filmmaking processes and techniques. But it doesn’t showcase our storytelling ability; while we’ve aimed to go global, our mindset still wants to cater to the mass audience. How will the mass audience scale-up and appreciate good cinema if we don’t let them? It’s disheartening to see a director who took this path falling back and taking the easy road.

Is it worth your time and money?: Yes, it is worth a watch, not for the storyline or the storytelling but for the grandeur. It is a bold attempt in Telugu cinema; I only wish it had more to offer in terms of story and direction rather than being old wine in a new shiny bottle.

If only the efforts were channelled in the right direction, Baahubali would have truly been epic.

Worth mention: The visuals and production values.

Acting: 7/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 6/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 6.5/10

Ok Bangaram | Movie Review


Mani Ratnam is one of the best directors of our time. But for the last 11 years, none of his movies, starting from Yuva, have made an impression. With Kadali, I thought he lost his touch. Thankfully not!

Ok Bangaram is a simple love story – no drama, just pure romance. The script is nothing special; boy meets girl, they fall in love, neither wants to get married, live in together, and voila! One can predict the ending just by watching the trailer of the movie, but it’s Mani Ratnam’s pure genius that keeps you engrossed for the two odd hours. The chemistry between the lead pair is magical. The way he showcased the elderly couple’s storyline is subtle yet brilliant. The screenplay never overwhelms you; it’s just a love story narrated in a beautiful way.

Dulquer Salmaan is excellent in the lead role. He has a guy next door charm, and puts up a great performance. The best part is that he never tried too hard, it seemed like he was just being himself. Nani’s voice suited him perfectly. Nitya Menen is absolutely gorgeous. I can’t imagine anyone else who could have put up a better act than her. Her expressions, smile, overall performance – splendid! Prakash Raj is perfect as the house owner, and Leela Samson is great as his wife. The rest of the cast is decent.

Mani Ratnam definitely brings out the best in A. R. Rahman. Music is soulful and excellent, and all songs are brilliantly picturized. The background score and mixing are equally good. Editing by Sreekar Prasad is neat, while cinematography by P. C. Sreeram is superb. On production front, the movie is flawless (Dil Raju and team).

Is it worth your time and money?: Absolutely. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and have a gut feel that you will too, but only if you don’t compare it to anything else. Mani Ratnam is back (maybe not at his best, but back) to showcase a beautiful yet simple love story. Just go enjoy!

Worth mention: The chemistry between Dulquer and Nitya.

Acting: 9.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 8.5/10
Technical Aspects: 9/10

Verdict: 8.5/10

Yevade Subramanyam | Movie Review


Yevade Subramanyam is a movie I can connect with; it was about three years ago that I took a similar trip to the Himalayas, the trip of my life thus far. But thank god for I am no where like Subramanyam.

Directed by debutant Nag Ashwin, the movie is about an overachiveving, materialistic guy, Subramanyam, who cares only about his future. On the other hand, his friend, Rishi, is a guy full of life, one who wants to explore the world, but most importantly travel to Himalayas with Subbu. They soon meet a lively girl, Anandi, who does whatever she feels like (one very similar to Rishi), and Subbu needs her consent to reach his life’s ambition. The rest of the story is all about how destiny leads Subbu to Himalayas, and in the process, teaches him life’s biggest lesson. All of this is showcased in a neat manner and while direction is good, there’s big scope for improvement. On the downside, the screenplay happens to be mediocre (for no fault of its own).

Nani does a good job as the materialistic guy. But the movie belongs to Vijay Deverakonda and Malavika Nair. They are both brilliant and full of energy. Their performance is what makes Yevade Subrahmanyam click. Krishnam Raju and Nassar are alright, while Ritu Verma is plain average. Rajesh Vivek has a meaty role and does well.

On technical front, music and cinematography apart, this happens to be one of the most mediocre films I’ve watched till date. Background score and sound mixing are terrible; there are multiple shots with two different tunes playing without sync. Add to that the most pathetic editing ever by Kotagiri Venkateshwara Rao; scenes end abruptly on numerous occasions without making any sense. Even an amateur short film maker can edit better. Maybe the film was shortened for length issues, understandable, but there’s definitely a better way of doing it.

Is it worth your time and money??: For the story part of it, and the acting, yes. But the appalling editing is a big negative. Nevertheless, it’s worth a watch for the message.

Worth mention: Performances by Vijay Deverakonda and Malavika Nair.

Acting: 8.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7.5/10
Technical Aspects: 6/10

Verdict: 7.5/10

Temper | Movie Review


After a disastrous Rabhasa, NTR needed something special for his career to stay alive. And thankfully for him, Temper keeps the ship sailing for a little longer.

Vakkantham Vamsi, who has scripted some duds for NTR in the past (Ashok and Oosaravelli) tries to convey a message through Temper. Puri narrates this story of a corrupt police office in his trademark style, and one can’t miss the similarities to Pokiri and BusinessmanThe entire first half is stylish, and though not believable, is watchable. The second half forms the crux where the transformation happens. This half happens to be more engaging than the first half, however, the screenplay seemed shabby and rushed through (I hear climax was cut short by 30%, that might be the reason). A little more care on characterization front would have worked wonders.

NTR has put in his heart and soul into the movie and it shows on-screen. His performance in the second half is very good. His dance moves also deserve a special mention. Kajal looks glamorous in her glam-doll role. Prakash Raj is at his best. The surprise package turns out to be Posani, who performs well in a meaty role.

Music by Anoop Rubens is alright. It’s nice to see him finally move away from Manam tunes. Background score by Mani Sharma is pretty good. Cinematography by Shyam K Naidu is spotless. Editing by S R Sekhar is good for the movie never seemed boring, but it also seemed like there were too many cuts made, which kinda ruined the screenplay.

Is it worth your time and money??: I think it is. Plus points are NTR, direction in parts, and length. On the downside, the screenplay in the latter half could have been better. Give it a watch.

Worth mention: NTR’s dance moves.

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

Verdict: 7.5/10

I | Movie Review

I - Movie

The trailer didn’t look that great, and the initial reviews weren’t positive either. Nevertheless, here I was to watch and appreciate Vikram’s efforts.

Shankar’s I, starts off really well; the story of the body builder wanting to make it large (pun intended) is perfectly picturized. Him lionising a model is also understandable. But the problem starts when the renowned director adds too much commotion to this simple story. After a point, it just seemed like he just wanted to showcase fights, stunts, make up effects and so on, rather than make a good movie. There are a number of episodes which were absolutely irrelevant and unnecessary – love story with the stylist, the Lion-man song and the terribly long fight sequences. These episodes don’t just make the movie incredibly long but test your patience levels. Add to that a mediocre screenplay, and what started off well ends terribly. Why Shankar, why?

Vikram put in his heart and soul into the character and it is sad to see his brilliant performance go waste. Hats off to him for moulding his body as per the characters requirements. Amy Jackson looks fabulously gorgeous. She complimented Vikram in almost every shot and stumped me with her performance. Santhanam is alright. Upen Patel and Suresh Gopi put up decent performances.

Thanks to an Oscar, A R Rahman seemed to have lost it. It’s sad to see him compose such disastrous tunes. But for a couple of songs, the rest go straight into the bin. Even the background score is below par. Editing by Anthony couldn’t get any worse. Cinematography by P C Sreeram is the only saving grace on the technical front. Barring the action sequences, almost every other frame is perfect. Make up effects by Weta Worshop are alright.

Is it worth your time and money??: If it weren’t for Vikram, it’s a big no. His performance, Amy, and cinematography are the saviours in this long film. Shankar’s over-ambitious effort to showcase ‘more’ has ruined an otherwise good film.

Anthaku minchi, anthaku minchi antu manchi cinemani chethulara paduchesukovadam ante idhe!

Worth mention: Apart from Vikram, Amy Jackson’s performance is noteworthy.

Acting: 9/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 5.5/10
Technical Aspects: 7.5/10

Verdict: 7/10

Gopala Gopala | Movie Review


While PK has created enough controversy about religion and religious beliefs, here comes the Telugu remake of OMG – Oh My God! One might have expected it to be under the scanner as well, but thanks to Pawan and Venki, Gopala Gopala entertains without any hassles.

OMG was a simple film with decent star-cast. The moment it’s being remade with PK and Venki, expectations go up ten-fold. Director Kishore Kumar Pardasany (Dolly) stuck to the script without being carried away by the heroes, and therefore excels on scripting front. The screenplay is more or less intact barring a few scenes modified to suit the Telugu nativity, and increased screen presence for PK. However, this doesn’t hamper the flow of the movie. Bottom line, both screenplay and the direction are pretty neat.

While Pawan Kalyan does a good job in a subdued role as Krishna, the movie totally belongs to Venkatesh. Though he seemed a loud compared to Paresh Rawal, he brings a lot of substance to the role. Pawan, as expected, entertains. Shriya is alright as Venki’s wife. Posani has a meaty role, and he excels. Mithunda is alright, and so is the rest of the cast.

Music by Anoop Rubens is good. However, he needs to come up with new tunes. Background score is decent. Cinematography by Jayanan Vincent is neat. On the downside, editing by Goutham Raju is pathetic. There are multiple instances where scenes end abruptly and you can notice the patchy work. You’d expect a reputed house like Suresh Productions to pay more attention to editing.

Is it worth your time and money??: Gopala Gopala is a treat for the fans. For the rest of us, it’s a decent watch with a good message. The best part of the Gopala Gopala is the fact that it doesn’t overwhelm you because of its star-cast. While it might not be a great film, it’s definitely worth a watch for its heart is at the right place.

Worth mention: Acting by Venkatesh and Pawan.

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

Verdict: 8/10

Chinnadana Neekosam | Movie Review


Post his directorial debut (Tholi Prema), Karunakaran has been making some disastrous movies. While Chinnadana Neekosam isn’t a disaster, it is no better than average.

Similar to most films this year, Chinnadana Neekosam deals with family sentiments. Boy falls in love with a girl, but is ready to let go of it for her family’s sake. While Karunakaran showcases the first half in an entertaining way, the second half goes totally haywire. Be it the premise or the storytelling, this half is a total disaster with some terrible screenplay and direction. The entire gay episode was absolutely unnecessary and the climax was clichéd. Sad that a promising start couldn’t be cashed upon.

Nithiin tries his best to carry the movie on his shoulders but succeeds only to an extent. Come a point, his act seemed repetitive and boring. He needs to get out of the box and try something different. Mishty Chakraborty has a meaty role, but didn’t fit the bill. She looked odd in most angles and her acting skills aren’t worth mention either. Nassar is alright while Ali is terrible. The rest of the cast didn’t really make an impact.

Music by Anoop Rubens is alright. Editing by Praveen Pudi is below par. There are so many scenes which could have made the cut (Thagubothu Ramesh scenes, gay episode) but were inserted just for the heck of it. Cinematography by Andrew is decent. Dialogues by Harsha Vardhan were good in parts.

Is it worth your time and money??: Not really. While the first half is decent, the latter half is terrible, and if I might add, disgraceful. Unless you have nothing better to do, you can easily give this one a skip (or better, walk out from the theatre after the first half).

Worth mention: Some dialogues in the first half.

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

Verdict: 6.5/10

PS: @Nithiin: Gay men are men, just like you and me. I thought you knew better than that.

Lingaa | Movie Review


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. Jagapathi 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 | Movie Review


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 | Movie Review


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.

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

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