This was an interesting change of pace from other Telugu action movies I've seen. This movie is much more serious, kind of like watching a Bruce Lee movie instead of a Jackie Chan one. It also explicitly references/parallels religious events of which I am ignorant. Someone with much more understanding of the events will get a lot more out of the movie.
Rana Daggubati had the physique but not the charm of Hrithik. Nayantara has a lot more to do than the usual Telugu heroine, but does not drive the movie. The action is nothing special.
I've only ever seen it unsubbed, so I didn't pick up all the nuances, but basically, the hero and his mentor-relative are part of a traditional theater troupe that performs plays based on Hindu religious subjects. Hero wants to go study modern theater, but he decides to stay after the mentor dies and leaves behind an unproduced pet project based on the story of Narasimha (a half-lion/half-human avatar of Vishnu/Krishna who destroys a tyrant). Hero stalks Intrepid Girl Reporter (the film treats this segment with a satirical and detached attitude, with little sympathy for the embarrassments the hero runs into along the way), and as a result gets mixed up with some forest-dwelling tribals who are being oppressed by your standard evil corporation, which is headed by a villain who performed identity theft on an old friend of the hero's family, so that the hero spends most of the time believing that the villain *is* the old friend of the family. (It makes more sense in context).
The cinematography is beautiful, and the songs and picturizations, although bawdy in places are fairly imaginative. The main problem is the heavy-handed religious theme: which fairly explicitly links action-masala heroics to the religious theater traditions and then basically turns around and says, "oh, isn't it cute that the tribals think our hero is a demi-god?" AWKWARD. The other main problem is that the hero comes off as self-absorbed and unlikable but after seeing Gamyam and Vedam from the same director, I think he just doesn't like young men very much, because Sharwanand and Allari Naresh in Gamyam and Allu Arjun and Manoj Manchu in Vedam come off as pretty annoying as well. (By contrast the director treats his more middle-aged heroes-Manoj Bajpai in Vedam and Akshay Kumar in Gabbar-relatively sympathetically). I haven't seen enough of Rana to have a strong opinion yet (this movie, plus his supporting role in Baby, and I'm about to order Bahubali so I will see him in that as well) but he actually comes off well in interviews: smart, funny, self-deprecating and comfortable in English. Nayantara does well with what she is given; one of the less annoying and more competent Intrepid Girl Reporter characters I've seen recently. One of the comedy uncles turns up and gives a performance so restrained I almost didn't recognize him. I think the film works better as a thriller than as an action masala; what I remember in a good way (a year to two years after seeing it) about it are some random striking visual compositions and suspense setpieces. the only memorable action setpiece involves the hero, still in costume from performing the Narasimha play, beating baddies up at the climax with a small carousel horse (or other animal) on a pole. Prabhudheva borrowed that bit for R...Rajkumar.
Thanks odadune! Mine was subbed, so I was able to follow what was happening well enough, but the religious meaning behind it all was lost. Missed the Narasimha reference completely, for example. From the subtitles, the hero wants to go to the US for University to get an Engineering degree so he can support his mentor and others in the troupe, as the theater is dying (more performers than patrons). The unproduced play is specifically to get the hero back to his hometown to save the people/right the wrongs. With the death of the mentor, the hero has to find out what happened from locals once he is back.
The main problem is the heavy-handed religious theme: which fairly explicitly links action-masala heroics to the religious theater traditions and then basically turns around and says, "oh, isn't it cute that the tribals think our hero is a demi-god?" AWKWARD.
It's worse than that. The hero even realizes and says how the events in the play are what are happening to him. I assume there were religious events which are recycled for every key/dramatic moment in the movie. From Wikipedia, the movie seems to have had a good reception in India and was released in Tamil (Ongaram), Hindi (Krishna Ka Badla), and Malayalam (Action Khiladi), so I certainly don't want dissuade people from trying it.
The only memorable action setpiece involves the hero, still in costume from performing the Narasimha play, beating baddies up at the climax with a small carousel horse [...]
Agreed the film has pretty standard Indian movie fighting, though the bit where the hero breaks someone's neck with his toes was novel.
dancelover: Finished Madhu, thru the film he is working on today!
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