From the trailers, posters and wallpapers Srimanthudu looked so similar to Koratala Siva’s Mirchi. Be it the stylish-cum-opulent family background of the protagonist, the village set-up and of course Sampath Kumar (the villain in Mirchi). On a high-level Srimanthudu is no doubt a Mirchi, but one level deeper, you find some inspirations from Swades and Rudraveena. And another level deeper you see a very original story written by Koratala and that’s what makes this movie a good film with an impressive treatment.
The story unfolds in a big bungalow where Ravi Kanth (Jagapathi Babu) is waiting for his son Harsha (Mahesh Babu) to join a casual for-no-reason party as it happens in the affluent families. Harsha instead attends a Sri Ramanavami utsavam organized by the workers of their factory. This very act of his defines his character. Harsha lives in his own world and on his own terms. He is allergic to affluence and attracted to people. Harsha meets Charu (Shruti Hassan), who has similar ideologies as him. He in fact joins in rural management course with her. However Charu rejects him after knowing that he is Ravi’s son. He then travels to his roots, a village called Devarakonda where he starts giving back. What motivates him to give back and how he gives back forms the rest of the story.
The best part of the film is the writing. Koratala Siva primarily a writer made a beautiful marriage of writing-direction. It’s extremely difficult to maintain the subtlety which majority of Telugu audience aren’t used to and manufacture a commercial cinema that majority are fed with. Like a genius scientist, he mixed the elements in the right proportions and also took use of catalysts. With absolutely anything unpredictable element in film, Koratala succeeds in gluing the viewer watching Harsha doing his philanthropy and not just talking philosophy. There is a role played by Subbaraju in the family who talks only superficially about leaving worldly pleasures and invalidates money. Koratala silently sends a message about the difference between talking (in the form of Subbaraju) and doing (in the form of Mahesh). He plays around several such scenes which keep sending a message that any person would connect to, especially in today’s world where roots are being forgotten forever.
Mahesh Babu is a star not just by the position he enjoys but also for his script-selection skills. Not just that, he maintains the given character throughout without deviating even for a minute. However, his subtlety became extra-subtle and stared sideways for too long than his previous films. In the songs, the Super Star Krishna’s blood inside him oozes out and makes him dance some robotic aerobics (thankfully not similar costumes). However Mahesh delivered with a great impact in the vital scenes. He was commendable! Shruthi plays a catalyst and is impressive too. Jagapati Babu disappoints in the beginning looking a total misfit. However, towards the end, he charms us. Rajendra Prasad was terrific playing Narayana Rao who loves his village and tries to stop the villagers from emigration. Vennela was funny as Appu.
A drawback of the film is background score by DSP. Other drawbacks include family of Harsha who aren’t convincing enough (except Rahul Ravindran) and the lengthy action scenes in pre-climax. However, these minor flaws were compensated well by the penultimate scene having Harsha and Ravi Kanth. The father-son equation and their perspectives of life have been written so well.
All in all, Srminathudu is a well-written film with a strong message told subtly.