A stylised celluloid presentation of Brand Mahesh
Athidi is the story of an unfortunate orphan, who tastes familial affection for a fraction of his life span, but becomes an unwelcome guest in the world itself, consistently and constantly challenging the conniving conspiracy of circumstances.
Right from the dawn of cinema, the genre of main stream films always revelled in the theme of one against many, resource-less good versus resourceful evil and the final triumph of the protagonist against all conceivable odds.
Athidi follows the well travelled path of crime and punishment format.
An orphan child is given shelter and affection by a family consisting of a husband, wife and girl child. They christen the orphan boy as Athidi. In an unexpected street mugging incident, the husband ( Rajeev Kanakala) and wife get killed. The boy Athidi is charged and convicted of double murder and sent to jail for thirteen years.
A grown-up Athidi( Mahesh Babu) comes out of the jail with two goals, first to see the girl, now a young woman being happy and to kill the mugger, who killed the girl’s parents, because of whom he was wrongfully confined to the jail. The girl on the other hand firmly believes that it was Athidi who killed her parents.
With the help of a friend, whom he met in the jail, he runs a dhaba style snacks joint, One day, in one of those cinematic coincidences, he rescues Amrita ( Amrita Rao), who is a student of art. Athidi has an interesting pastime of street rowdy bashing and generally forcefully decimating those who indulge in strong arm tactics. In that process he becomes an antagonist of Danny( Ashish Vidhyarthi), who is an under world don, drug peddler and a hit man of Khaiser.
While Amrita was leaving for Hyderabad for holidays, Athidi comes to know of her real identity and goes to Hyderabad. The state is in the grip of a spate of kidnappings organised by Khaiser. A special police officer Ajay Sastry ( Murali Sharma) has been brought from Delhi to nab Khaiser. Athidi also comes to know that it was Khaiser who killed Amrita’s parents.
The rest of the story deals with how Athidi gets close to Amrita, how the misunderstandings between them get cleared and how he finally liquidates the villain, Khaiser.
Mahesh Babu plays his role with aplomb. In fact, he literally carries the entire film on his confident and capable shoulders. There is a certain ease and élan in the way he performs, which enhances every scene in which he is present. Amrita Rao had some very good scenes, where she had the chance to show her emoting skills and she did really excel in showing the full range of emotions.
Murali Sharma, as the villain, performed with great conviction, particularly in the two roles as police officer Ajay Sastry and as the sadistic Khaiser. Nazar, Kota Srinivasa Rao and Ashish Vidyarthy played their roles with their customary effectiveness. Brahmanandam, Sunil and Venumadhav are adequate.
The director Surender Reddy gave a stylistic touch to the taking of the film. He showed total command over the theme, screenplay and narration. The conceptualisation of the story is in accordance with time tested crime and punishment format. The loose ends have been cleverly tied.
The punctuation of twists in narration have been measured and significant, particularly Athidi knowing the identity of Amrita, she realising Adithi’s past, Amrita being told about the truth of who murdered her parents and of course the unmasking of the villain. The characterisation is delineated quite transparently. The scenic order followed a certain rhythm, which enhanced the credibility of the scenes enacted.
Camera work by Sameer Reddy is of the highest order. Special attention had been taken to create vignettes of light and shade. For interiors of important scenes and the background for songs, yellow, orange, green and blue lighting had been splendidly balanced. Veteran Goutham Raju employed the unique hop-step-and-jump editing for songs, which gave them an eerie feeling of elation. The frames in the sequences moved in tune with lead instruments in the songs and jumped in sync with the percussion rhythm.
Manisharma preferred foot-tapping swingers to melodies. The music adequately reflected the mood of the narration. The background score could have been more convincing. Raju-Sundaram invented new footwork, gyrations and swings for Mahesh. In general, the choreography is good. Stunt Shiva orchestrated the fights in a surrealistic idiom which actually enriches the character of Athidi and his mission of vengeance and final justice.
The re-recording and DTS recording are not up to to the mark. Proper DTS recording would have greatly increased the impact of pivotal scenes.
Athidi strictly sticks to main stream vengeance genre. It has all the essential ingredients of a crime and punishment format and more. The film easily deserves a good look. Literally having no serious competition in the category of action films, Atihidi may even surprise the box-office pundits.