The industry hit Pokiri has certainly prompted the Telugu audiences worldwide to expect another such venture from Mahesh Babu. The sensation further gripped in with its director being G. Surender Reddy, who had busted the box office with his debut film Athanokkade. Seen from this perspective, the audience will be disappointed. Story has no novelty in it. Excessive violence and somber mood from start to finish has dampened the entertainment. But there are some pluses that make this film watchable.
In New Delhi, an urchin (Mahesh Babu) is subjected to all kinds of humiliations. A rich family takes the boy with them and he is christened Athidi. One evening, the family sets out to admit the boy into a hostel. A robber (new face) attacks their vehicle and demands money. On getting little amount, he gets angry and shoots down the couple. The pistol is thrown into the hands of Athidi, while the culprit flees. The couple’s daughter sees the boy holding the weapon and comes to a conclusion that he is the killer. The boy is jailed for fourteen years. Released, Athidi wants to take revenge. But, the grown up girl Amrita (Amrita Rao) without knowing the identity of Athidi falls in love with him. Dreaded mafia don Kaiser is after Amrita. Now, Athidi has two goals. To save his dear, and to hit his revenge target. How he gets through the twin-objectives forms the crux and climax.
Mahesh Babu has done a neat job and established his professional poise once again as a highly talented actor among the younger generation heroes. With his stylish hairstyle and attentive dress code and simple mannerisms, Mahesh as Athidi just sizzles. He gives excellent score in dances and stunts.
Amrita Rao is not only beautiful but also glamorous. She has proved that she could be yet another native girl for Tollywood. She emoted well with convincing histrionics fit for Telugu screen.
The villain is played by a new face to the Tollywood – as Kaiser. He displayed dual shades in his characterization with élan. Asish Vidyarthi played his phone connect assistant all the time; but gives the audience a different feel this time. His death scene is somehow dramatic. Nazar has not ample footage, though he played the role of Home Minister. Kota Srinivasa Rao played the greedy politician, who always awaits the opportunity to knock away the ministerial post. Rajiv Kanakala appears in the very beginning playing the host to the hero. Sunil provides big relief in the movie through his timely comedy as hubby-aspirant to the heroine. Brahmanandam is attached to Sunil. His comedy makes one remember some scenes from Athadu, in which he tries to tease Mahesh Babu, but falters – only to evoke rippling comedy. But it is not that much stuff here. Banerjee played the in-house villain, who assists the main villain against the heroine.
G. Surender Reddy, who created sufficient sensation with his debut film Athanokkade, is yet to overcome his initial hangover of webbing the screenplay bringing to play some sentiment or the other. It was bava-maradalu sentiment then. Now, it is childhood friends turned lovers, who are emotionally attached to each other. Direction is made in splits and bits – running the path of an episode each scene. Interestingly, the director avoided the flashback strategy and jumped into the running story.
First half is completely devoted to lighter-vein scenes – from a family tragedy to smooth sailing romantic streak. But, the audience clearly sense that they are provided least or nothing that might connect them to any exciting entertainment. In the second half, he brings in the comedy thread with Sunil and Brahmanandam. Venu Madhav’s comedy in the first half (in the beginning) is just forgettable. Coming to the climax, the weak villainy has played the main villain against the movie. Director Surender could not balance the dual shades of the villain as a police officer and as mafia don (on the lines of a Dawood) with his global mobile network. Showing him as an invincible villain, who could not be caught by the police has no justification when we compare the scenes involving his bad tricks.
Director Surender Reddy tried to imitate the Pokiri-type of dialogues for Mahesh Babu, which come in plain conversational mold. But, there is no punch in this department. The heroine’s stock conversation – asking the hero to come for a coffee and telling him I Love You is routine and sounds embarrassing at times. Music by Mani Sharma is a big plus point to the film. However, the songs come as speed breakers often. The last song is thematic. Background score is impressive. The abroad locations are simply superb.
Stunts deserve praise. Stunt Shiva composed variety of stunts coupled with gunfight which is not peculiar to the underworld. The climax scene in which the hero searches for his dear one reminds us of the fight master’s similar composing in Kamal Hassan’s Raghavan.
Heavy dose of violence is a big minus point to the movie. Note: One fighter who dies in gunfire during a stunt sequence is seen again at the climax fight.
Editing is good. Cinematography is excellent. Production values are commendable.
The movie is opened to a mixed response on the opening day. While it brought a feast to the fans, it posed some blocks to the general audience. All said and done, it might have the field day till the next few days thanks to Dasara.