Right at the beginning a clock appears and Balayya’s voice utters this line ‘Next 2.5 hours naave..log book lo raasko’. And if you listen between the lines, it might convey as ‘For the next 2.5 hours, logic will take a backseat because I am in the front seat’. Well, that’s obvious looking at the majority of Balakrishna’s movies that came in the last 16 years (i.e post Samarasimha Reddy). What ultimately matters in a typical Balayya’s film is whether the suspension (in enormous amounts) of disbelief is worth it.
The story unfolds in a mortuary room where Godse (Balakrishna) assumed dead, suddenly wakes up and scares the hell out of a compounder passing by. Godse’s parents (Jayasudha and ChandraMohan) are delighted seeing him back to life and the doctor also exclaims “This is a miracle!!!”
(With such an unintentionally funny beginning, you get a feeling that movie has gone for a toss. However, the further proceedings become slightly interesting and the movie gets a grip. )
Godse doesn’t believe that they are his parents, but the doctors explain that he has been suffering a major memory loss due to an injury because of which he went into a coma. Not just the doctor, but even when the google proves him as Godse. However, Godse’s intuition is firm and is unable to accept the truth. He is very sure that he is not Godse, but Bose. He faces an incident where he finally gets to know his identity. Of course, you see that coming.
The rest of the film is about his quest for knowing why were the facts being manipulated and why was his past being hidden.
At a high-level, this film too like many other commercial pot-boilers follows the Basha pattern of having a flashback in second half about the hero’s guts and glory.
Satyadeva, the director came up with a good plot coupled with good pace. The curiosity element in first half worked for the movie to an extent. Second half also makes it watchable for its unusual concept of the antagonist praying for the protagonist to not die.
At the same time, the movie has many drawbacks apart from the numerous logic-defying scenes. The movie has ample dialogue-jugalbandis , some good but many terrible. The director concentrated too much on prose, which led to many pointless punch lines like “Nee gmail ki junk mail pampiche gem vachesaadu”. What in the world does that mean?
Unsurprisingly, the leading ladies Trisha and Radhika Apte were dedicated for the song and dance. Dressed in a multi-colored shirt, the pot-bellied bloated Balayya’s arms a are pulled from two sides by these two women, fighting for him “ Eena Maa Aayana…..Kaadu eena maa aayana”. That reminds of Balayya in his good old days of Bangaru Bullodu, where Ravena and Ramya quarrel over a chubby Balayya followed by a song. In such scenes, ‘chubby’ is cute and convincing whereas’ bloated’ is awful and implausible.
Caption: Balayya in front seat and logic takes a backseat. But, the journey is not bad.
Performances wise, there is nothing new to talk about. Balayya was good when he gave some subtle punches but he occasionally became loud. Ali hardy gives any comic relief. Praksh Raj was usual.
Mani Sharma’s background score is a plus, but songs are unexciting. Cinematography and Editing are neat. The look and costume designers for Balayya have given him some unpleasant vibrant colors to wear.
All in all, Lion is not a bad film, but not a great film either. However, the suspension of disbelief we invest in the movie might be worth it.