Manam | Movie Review


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

Chandamama Kathalu | Movie Review


I’ve wasted two and half hours watching this dumb film. Not worth spending more time analysing it. In one line, it’s a badly scripted film with mediocre direction and pathetic screenplay. Only grace are decent acting and music.

Is it worth your time and money??: I don’t think so!! I’d actually ask you to stay away !

Worth mention: Nothing.

Acting: 6/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 4/10
Technical Aspects: 5/10

Verdict: 4.5/10

Legend | Movie Review


Before it is taken off theaters due to elections, I ventured out to watch the “Lion Roar”. And roar he did. I’ve never been a far of Balakrishna, and mostly find it disgusting when he romances girls younger than his daughters. But if I choose to ignore that, Legend is actually a decent film.

Boyapati Srinu likes his movies being grand, and he made sure this film is no less. He knows the pulse of the masses and Balayya’s strengths, and therefore was able to pull off a loud yet watchable movie. Direction is neat, and I thought the screenplay was very good. However, the second half could have been short and crisp. Dialogues by M. Ratnam are a definite plus point to the film.

On acting front, Balakrishna is perfect as Jai Dev. Except for the fact that he wears his watch over his shirt sleeve, there’s no false note in his acting. However, he either needs to stop romancing young girls, or lose tons of weight to make sure that he doesn’t look like their dad. Both Radhika Apte and Sonal Chauhan are decent, while the rest are alright. The ‘Nanamma’ character could have been cast better though. Though its Balayya’s movie, the undoubted star turns out to be Jagapathi Babu. His antics and body language as the antagonist are just brilliant. Big thanks to Srinu for showcasing this side of Jagapathi Babu.

On technical front, while music by Devi Sri Prasad is mediocre, editing is neat and cinematography is pretty good. Production values are excellent, for the richness of the sets and locations could be seen on-screen.

Is it worth your time and money??: If you can sit through loud movies, and can stand Balayya, then yes. The first half is entertaining and short, while the second half is full of violence and at times, a drag. Plus points are brilliant acting by Jagapathi Babu and strong dialogues. Overall, a decent film.

Worth mention: Balayya’s dialogue targeting Chiranjeevi in the climax.

Acting: 7.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10

Verdict: 7/10

Race Gurram | Movie Review

Race Gurram

Right from the word go, I was cursing myself for coming to watch this movie. The family sentiment seemed contrived, acting too loud, romance illogical, and the list goes on. But surprisingly, after almost 3 hours, I left the theater satisfied (how is that even possible?).

Scripted and directed by Surender Reddy, Race Gurram starts off just like any other commercial Telugu movie, with phony sequences and loud acting. Entire first half continues on the same path, where it is established that our hero, Lucky has irreparable issues with his cop brother, Ram. The reasons for this hatred between them seemed so stupid that even their parents can’t help. While these guys are fighting, in comes our (can’t even lip sync) villain, who wishes to kill Ram. And the rest of the story, or second half, is about how Lucky gets involved in between. Luckily for us, this is when the movie gets interesting. While the first half seemed dull with mediocre screenplay, Surender manages to pull half the later half exceedingly well. The overall direction though could have been much better.

On acting front, it’s more or less a cake walk for Arjun. His body language is superb, and he performs with ease. In my opinion, he is talented to take up further challenging roles than the ones he’s essaying at the moment. Shruthi looks gorgeous in her “heroine” appearance (a couple of scenes and all songs). Shaam seemed alright while Ravi Kishan was over the moon loud, and irritating to an extent. The fact that there is no lip sync for both these characters even in close up shots was sad. The rest of the casting is alright, but acting wise, everyone was below par. Nevertheless, one man, in his brief appearance towards the climax, makes you forget the mediocre acting and every loophole thus far in the film. Brahmi a.k.a Kill Bill Pandey, take a bow! After a long long time, it was great to watch Brahmanandam in a strong role. He is absolutely entertaining.

Though almost every songs barges in for no reason, music by Thaman is pretty neat. I liked ‘Cinema Choopista’ and ‘Down Down Duppa’, the latter especially for the choreography and picturization. Background score was decent. Editing by Gowtham Raju is alright, while cinematography by Manoj Paramahamsa is of top-notch quality. Production values are excellent.

Is it worth your time and money??: If it weren’t for Kill Bill Pandey, I probably would have said NO. Except for Arjun, I thought everyone else including the senior actors acted miserably. Add to that the pretentious characterizations. Nevertheless, the screenplay in the second half, Bunny’s strong screen presence and Bramhi come to the rescue, and you walk out of the theater satisfied (like I did). So just for that, you can give it a watch.

Worth mention: Every frame with Kill Bill Pandey!

Acting: 6.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 6/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10

Verdict: 7/10

1: Nenokkadine | Movie Review


Though I’ve watched some really good movies in the recent past (American Hustle and Wolf of Wall Street to name a couple), I haven’t felt inclined to write a review, mostly because enough has already been said about these movies. But after watching 1: Nenokkadine, I feel compelled to write one.

Having read some mixed reviews about the movie, I was eagerly waiting to watch it to judge it myself. It finally released in Singapore a week later after it did in India, and spending as much as I would for an IMAX movie ($20), here I was in a packed auditorium on a Sunday evening.

Scripted and directed by Sukumar, 1: Nenokkadine is a sigh of relief from the regular commercial Telugu movies coming out lately (where Brahmanandam gets slapped for no reason). The unique concept was very well conceived by Sukumar, and Mahesh Babu did a tremendous job to pull it off. The first half of the movie is really gripping (especially the first fight, and few of the Goa episodes). However, the lack of effective screenplay pulls down the movie in the second half. Though the direction is neat, the screenplay which is great in parts, could have been way better. The length (close to 3 hours) also doesn’t help viewers sustain interest for this genre. Nevertheless, the twists were good, and Sukumar did a good job to explain most without leaving any loose end (But for the hero getting away with multiple murders in a foreign land).

On the acting front, it’s more or less a cakewalk for Mahesh. He looked great, and was amazingly good in the imaginative episodes. His dances definitely need a mention. It was good to see the heroine get a full length role. Newcomer Kriti Sanon looked gorgeous and did a decent job. Posani was a little irritating with his fake Punjabi accent and “Dudu”. The rest of the cast was alright.

Music by DSP is more or less mediocre, but the background score is pretty good (and haunting). Cinematography by Rathnavelu is of top-notch quality. However, just like the screenplay, editing work by Karthika Srinivas is another negative. As already mentioned, films of such genre need to be short and crisp, and this is where 1: Nenokkadine loses out.

Is it worth your time and money??: As you must have already read, this is not a film for everyone. It’s a thriller with pretty good twists and turns, and some great acting from Mahesh. On the flip side, the ineffective screenplay and the run time make the film lose steam. Nevertheless, 1: Nenokkadine is a good watch. If you appreciate different genres, I’d suggest you watch this one.

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

Verdict: 8/10

Greeku Veerudu | Movie Review


Acting: 6.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 2/10
Technical Aspects: 3/10
Is it worth your time and money??:
I am clueless on where to begin, for the movie was that bad. It’s a story we’ve seen in many a films – a rich spoiled playboy (read Nagarjuna uncle) comes to India from New York (shot using green screen and graphics) to understand the importance of family and love. Now one can argue – how bad that could that be?? According to me, this one defines bad. The script is the same old-fashioned one which probably worked 10 years ago, with K. Vishwanath playing the same old grandfather role, saying no to love marriage initially, but later realizing his mistake, the aunties and their loser husbands, one bad guy with a loser son, and uncountable number of side characters. Dasarth has lost it, understandable, but what seemed more strange is why would others (read producer and actors) make a film with the same old formula, that too with an older Nagarjuna.

Talking about Nag, I did like his looks to an extent in the ads, but he looks really old in the film. The only place he looked good was in “Greekuveeruda” song, where in he has a different get up. On acting front, he is the saving grace of the film. Nayanathara looked glamorous, thank god for that. Brahmanandam has the routine bakra character, while the rest of the cast are put in just for the heck of it.

On technical and production front, the film is a disaster. Music is mediocre, but the background score is painful. Thaman needs to learn how to score for such bad movies. Editing by Marthand Venkatesh is sloppy, just like the screenplay. But what surprises me the most is the cinematography (Ani Bandari). Most of the film had graphics using static background – New York, airport scenes, outdoor scenes in India, climax shot in a village — all graphics. And the graphics were so bad that I felt like I was watching a second grade movie. I’m glad that they shot few scenes at least in real locations.

Overall, it’s a boring and dull film you’ve seen many a times – only thing different is an older hero. They claim it’s a family entertainer; forget entertainer, but in a way it shows how better off your family is compared to the dumbass one in the movie. Unless you are a diehard Nag fan, stay away please!!

Verdict: 3.5/10

PS: Am glad Naga Chaitanya didn’t do the film. I (and almost everyone who watched the film) would have been dead by now if it were him as Greeku Veerudu!!

Swamy Ra Ra | Movie Review

Swamy Ra Ra

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 6/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10
Is it worth your time and money??: Written and directed by Sudheer Varma, Swamy Ra Ra is an average flickThe story is a potpourri of a couple of Hindi flicks, which are in turn inspired by a few Hollywood classics. Caper films have a very thin story line, and it is very important for the director to make sure that every character is connected while maintaining the pace of the film. Though he was able to do the latter to an extent, Varma introduced too many characters which made it all look patchy after a point. A faster screenplay would have been appropriate. The film started off well, but the unnecessary romance track, and a weak second half are its negatives. Acting by Nikhil, Swathi, and rest of the cast is decent. Music by Sunny is good, but he should have avoided copying the title track straight off from the Hindi flick they borrowed the story line from (Shor in the City). Editing by Kartika Srinivas is alright, while cinematography by Richard Prasad deserves a special mention. However, the number of slow motion shots should have been much less for their effect was lost after a point.

Overall, Swamy Ra Ra is a decent effort in making a Telugu caper film. However, Aithe is a better film any day!

Verdict: 6.5/10

Cameraman Ganga Tho Rambabu | Movie Review

Post Gabbar Singh, the expectations from Pawan Kalyan are really high, and him teaming up with Puri Jagannath makes things even better. But sadly the film disappoints. It is not because of the lack of punch dialogues nor Power Stars charisma, but due to lack of a proper script. Businessman was a success because of its effective screenplay, but Puri Jagannath totally falters with screenplay in this film. The script does not have a basic conflict point, and that in itself is a main drawback.

The first half is very predictable but alright, but the second half is pretty much a disaster for it totally goes haywire. I like Pawan Kalyan, but honestly, he’s no Chiranjeevi. Pulling off Tagore like stunts just doesn’t work for PK. But he still manages to woo the audience with his charm and powerful punch dialogues. He looked a wee bit old in a couple of scenes though. Tamanna has very limited role, and I thought she went a little overboard to get into her tomboyish character. There’s no special mention on the comedy front.

Except for the Jaramochindi song, the music isn’t so great either, but PK dances well. Cinematography Shyam K. Naidu is alright. Most of the aerial shots are graphic based. Editing by S. R. Shekhar could have been a little better. Productions values could have been way better as well. But most importantly, if only Puri worked a little more on the script and screenplay!!

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 6/10
Technical Aspects: 7/10
Is it worth your time and money??: It’s totally upto you. I enjoyed the first half, but the second half was a total bore. PK nad Puri’s dialogues are the plus point of the film, while lack of conflict point and disastrous screenplay cause the downfall. There was no need for Rambabu to be a reporter to do what he did, and neither was there a role for Ganga. So now make your guess on how effective Cameraman Ganga Tho Rambabu is.

Verdict: 6.5/10

Life Is Beautiful | Movie Review

Acting: 7/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 5/10
Technical Aspects: 7/10
Is it worth your time and money??: It’s a maybe. The film has no proper story, and seems very amateurish. Add to that mediocre screenplay. Thankfully, the film has some beautiful moments, and the new cast lived up to their roles. Sekhar Kammula really needs to get out of the Happy Days phase, and concentrate a little more on his scripts. If life were like in this movie, I wonder what reality is.

Verdict: 6/10

Julayi | Movie Review

I kinda lost hope on Julayi once its release got postponed, but here I was watching it anyways. I should have listened to my gut feeling and stayed away for it was a sheer waste of time and money.

Julayi suffers from the same problem as other Telugu films, lack of a sensible script. Trivikram Srinivas (story-screenplay-direction) comes up with a flawed script, wherein he tried to fit in a number of elements into the two off hours movie, but failed to realize that the basic theme of the film was weak. Our hero, who’s supposed to be arrested for a wrong doing, suddenly becomes the cop’s best friend for he can think alike the villain. He not only starts giving them free advice, but even shoots and kills people on their behalf. In between comes a damsel whom he falls in love with, a corrupted politician, a revenge saga, etc, etc. The hero is shown to be intelligent, but there is no logic to his intelligence. As if the story wasn’t bad enough, the direction is mediocre, and screenplay horrendous. Trivikram’s dialogues are no savior, for good ones are very limited. And ya, ripping scenes from The Dark Knight and The Italian Job isn’t cool!!

Allu Arjun tries really hard to carry the movie on his shoulders, but the faulty script doesn’t do him any favors. However, he looked stylish, and his dances are very good. Ileana had a limited role and looked super hot, especially in the songs. Rajendra Prasad looked very odd with his wig and makeup, and was superficial on most occasions. An actor of his caliber can do much better. Sonu Sood had a meaty role, and he excelled. Bramhandam, MS Narayana, Bharani, Dharmavarapu, Ali, Vennala Kishore are all there, but none of them had a significant role. The dialogues are the only comic relief in the movie.

Music by Devi Sri Prasad is very good. But most songs sounded the same, probably because of similar kind of lyrics. Background score could have been more effective. Cinematography by  Chota K Naidu & Sam K Naidu is alright. Editing by Pravin Pudi is decent. Though flawed, the movie never seemed boring. Graphics were very bad and production values seemed mediocre.

Overall, a time pass flick which really doesn’t work. Nuvvu Naaku Nachav, Manmadhudu, Malliswari; all these movies had one think in common, awesome dialogues, which have been Trivikram’s forte. Instead  of sticking to them, he ventured into direction, and except for Athadu, he hasn’t been much successful. If anything, he even lost touch on his dialogues. Julayi is no different. It might be reviewed as an intelligent action entertainer by some, but for me, it was another disaster Telugu movie.

Acting: 7/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 5/10
Technical Aspects: 6/10
Is it worth your time and money??: No. Trivikram fails big time with this one, for even his famous dialogues don’t score. Julayi would have failed even if it released on its original release date in July!!

Verdict: 5.5/10