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Blog posts : "Telugu Reviews"

Taxiwaala - Honest Movie Review

[This Movie Review was first posted on Anurag's The Filmy Basti]

Horror comedies seem to be the flavor of the season. After the recent stupendous success of ‘Stree’ in Hindi, director Rahul Sankrityan brings us a Telugu comedy thriller, Taxiwaala, starring Vijay Devarakonda in the lead. Just to jog your minds a bit, this genre has largely been successful in the Telugu Film Industry, though the movies have been rather sporadic. Most recently, notable movies in this genre were the 'Raju Gari Gadhi' series and 'Anando Brahma'. Taxiwaala, with a supernatural plot, falls in the same category, yet, is different in some ways.

Shiva (played by Vijay Devarakonda) moves to his uncle’s (played by Madhunandan) garage in Hyderabad, to earn a living. After dabbling at odd jobs, he buys an old Contessa car to turn into an Ola driver. Dressed in leather jackets and ganjees that flaunt his toned body, Shiva starts earning while also making a pretty doctor, Anu (played by Priyanka Jawalkar) fall for him. His life with his uncle and his English movie fanatic help, Hollywood (played by Vishnu) is turned upside down, when he experiences paranormal occurrences in his car. This leads to series of thrills, chills and a whole lot of laughter!

While I began discussing Taxiwaala in the same light as 'Anando Brahma' and 'Raju Gari Gadhi', it is similar in genre yet different in treatment. The movie has a very real, plain and quirky treatment of camera (by Sujith Sarang) and sound – reminiscent of one of the first Telugu movies in this genre, the 2005 sleeper-hit, 'Anukokunda Oka Roju'. Like 'Anukokunda Oka Roju', there are no cheap thrills or jarring background scores. Most of the thrills and laughs are induced organically, using the camera angles, lights and the performances. The movie is filled with little moments of laughter – band-aids on all their fingers for a hilariously stupid occult experiment, Shiva’s naïve ‘thanks’ to the ‘ghost’ in his car for steering it while he fell asleep or Hollywood (the boy who works for them) fidgeting with a bottle in the middle of a serious scene in the Hospital. It is such moments that bring this movie alive.

The movie also reminded me of the 2004 Hindi-disaster, 'Tarzan: The Wonder Car', where a car turns rogue with Ajay Devgn’s spirit trapped in it and seeks revenge. While the premise and the treatment are interesting, it is the execution where the movie slightly falters. The writing by Rahul Sankrityan takes time to set the base and the ride is pretty much fun after that. Well, almost. Until, there is a slight slump in the narrative in the second half, where the explanation of the paranormal activity takes centerstage. Even though it has a crisp run-time of a little over two hours, the second half seems a bit of drag, especially towards the climax, sprinkled generously with trademark Telugu masala.

Having said that, the movie is still an enjoyable ride thanks to the witty dialogues and superb performances. Vijay Devarakonda has already proven his mettle and he does not disappoint here either. While his swag, rugged look and clothes off a runway model seem a bit contrived for a cabbie, he uses his charm and wit to make the viewers overlook it. Another contrived sub-plot happens to be his love story with a doctor, which also seems highly unlikely in real life. Since this love plot is cleverly shown very little, it does not take away from the main premise. Vijay’s comic timing and acting chops are further elevated by his Babai, played by Madhunandan and Hollywood, played by Vishnu. These are not mere sidekicks, but very well woven into the plot. The camaraderie between the three is fun to watch. One of the funniest moments is the sequence where the three stealthily break into someone’s home. Like Laya in 'Amar Akbar Anthony', another actress makes a comeback this week – Kalyani. Along with another yesteryear actress, Yamuna, Kalyani gets an extended cameo and delivers whatever is expected of her. Malavika Nair is decent in her small part in the second half, when the supernatural part is explained.

While there are a few irregularities and hiccups in the second half, the movie manages to keep you entertained with its thrills and humor. If nothing else, Vijay Devarakonda’s rugged charm is enough to stay invested till the end.

Rating - 3/5 | Grade - B

-An Honest Movie Review by Anurag Rao (@The Filmy Basti!)

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Amar Akbar Anthony - Honest Movie Review

[This Movie Review was first posted on Anurag's The Filmy Basti]

Director Srinu Vaitla’s latest release, Amar Akbar Anthony, is an opportunity completely wasted. He uses his tried and tested template – a hero running the show, surrounded by a bunch of comedians and fighting against a gang of shrewd villains. Despite using all his formulaic tropes, the film is an incohesive drag, that tries every trick in the trade, yet, falls short of hitting the mark.

Verdict - "An Incohesive Drag!"

Amar Akbar Anthony (played by Ravi Teja), much like their Hindi namesakes, are three characters from three major religions. Amar, a Hindu, is the son of a pharmaceutical baron, who is destined to marry the daughter of his father’s business partner, Aishwarya (played by Ileana). The love birds are separated in their childhood by the four suave looking antagonists, who take over his father’s business. Akbar, a Muslim, speaks Urdu-laden Telugu, and is a Robinhood in New York – cheating the cheaters. Anthony, a Christian and thankfully the last one of these wretched characters, is a congenial and smiling psychiatrist. Just like any other Srinu Vaitla movie, the protagonists go against the treacherous antagonists, while being surrounded by a bunch of comedians, headlined by Sunil and Vennela Kishore.

The problem begins in the first 20 minutes itself, when the narrative feels like two different movies. The comedy track at ‘Whole Andhra and Telangana Association (WATA)’ seems completely unrelated to the parallel track involving the conniving villains, all of who look way better than Ravi Teja in their salt-and-pepper looks. Ignoring the logics (or the lack of it), Srinu Vaitla’s movies have always been madcap comedies, which keep the audiences entertained throughout. This is where Amar Akbar Anthony fails miserably. While the comedy does evoke a few laughs, it remains underwhelming in comparison to his previous works in Ready, Dookudu, Dhee or King (actually, any movie before Aagadu)! Also, the insipid dialogues feel nauseating. Sample this – one of the antagonists says, “Not to expect badness from bad people is madness”, which is quickly translated into Telugu by his partner in crime, “Chaddavadi degara chaddatanam expect cheyakapovadam pichhitanam’! It’s almost 2019 and its high time we are spared of such nonsensical dialogues.

One of my major contentions was Ravi Teja’s mysterious demeanor and performance. For the longest time in the beginning, he makes you wonder if he is playing a blind character again, after Raja- The Great. He stares into oblivion, keeps a straight face for most part of his performance and surprisingly, barely does he emote! (If this frozen face and staring gaze is due to a medical condition in his real life, my apologies!) Even his impeccable comic timing, which is usually on point, is faltering in this movie. He comes across as an uncomfortable hero amid a chaotic narrative. Ileana, making her comeback to Telugu movies, looks healthier than before and has dubbed for herself for the first time. This is all one can say about her, because that is all that she brings to the table. I wish we saw the sparks that were there between the two in Kick, but even that ends in a disappointment here.

Giving credit where its due, the cinematography and the casting of actors for comic relief were pretty good. Venkat C Dileep captures New York in all its glory and makes the frames comes alive. The supporting cast, especially Vennela Kishore as the comedian and Abhimanyu Singh as the conniving cop, are quite good. There are moments of hilarity, especially the sequences involving a religious leader, Junior Paul. Sunil, who appears pretty late in the movie, misses his charm but manages to be decent. It was surprising to see Laya in a movie after a long time, and equally shocking to see her get a completely inconsequential and small part. Again, another opportunity wasted.  

We have seen psychological angles being used in movies like Aparichitudu and Chandramukhi, but it feels like a quick fix in this movie, without adding much to the plot or the narrative. Srinu Vaitla seems to be stuck in the early 2000s, and he needs to evolve with the changing audiences. If he doesn’t, he is not going to find many takers again.

Rating – 1.5/5 | Grade - D+

-An Honest Movie Review by Anurag Rao (@The Filmy Basti!)

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Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava - Honest Movie Review

While writing this review of director Trvikram Srinivas’s latest outing ‘Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava’ (ASVR), I chanced upon his Wikipedia page. The introduction says, “Regarded as the "wizard of words" Trivikram's craft is known for its high dose of comedy, fast-paced repartee, farcical situations, escapist themes, and comedy thriller plot lines involving action, emotion, courtship, family and marriage.” Except for the farcical situations, he lets down his audiences on every other aspect.

Set against the backdrop of two warring villages in Rayalaseema, ASVR is the story of Veera Raghava Reddy (played by Junior NTR) spearheading his clans fight against Basi Reddy (played by Jagapathi Babu). They call this ‘Aidu rupayala godava’ (5 rupees fight) and hand it over to their progeny, who find it easier to stick swords into each other than solve this dispute for once. But Veera Raghava Reddy, moved by his grandmother’s (played by Supriya Pathak) rants, decides to take on his opponents with non-violence. Now, this is a novel idea, where unlike the usual mass entertainers, the male protagonist is not shown as the macho and masculine savior. A comical version of this theme was seen in S.S Rajamouli’s 'Marayada Ramanna', where the protagonist does not fight against a bunch of goons.  Trivikram uses his trademark dialogues with rhyme and rhythm, to act as a weapon that Veera Raghava uses to win over his opponents, apart from the generous use of daggers and swords. To trigger his change and affect his conscience, a haughty, arrogant and bubbly Aravinda (played by Pooja Hegde) enters the scene. She casually drops her pearls of wisdom, which Veera Raghava picks up to pave his plan of action ahead. Again, instead of just being the arm-candy or add glamor, this role had a great potential. More recently, Anushka Sharma played a similar support and trigger to the male lead, as Mamta in ‘Sui Dhaaga’. But, again, the writing lets down the character of Aravinda. Despite being the titular role, Aravinda is reduced to just being a caricature, with no weight.

It would be a sin to look for logic in a mass entertainer and we Telugu audiences love them for the lack of it. But, Matala Mantrikudu Trivikram overburdens his audiences with heavy dialogues, filled with puns, alliteration and rhyme. There is a scene where the lead characters converse at a café and I cannot imagine any normal couple conversing in the language that they use. Like in his previous dud, 'Agnyathavaasi', Trivikram overdoes the same trademark dialogues to the extent that it becomes a painful bore! The mood of the movie is set in a very gritty and serious space like Trivikram’s blockbuster ‘Athadu’ or the more recent action drama ‘Rangasthalam’. But, ASVR is not engaging or gripping like either of them. The lack of depth in the characters, along with the over-bearing dialogues, clubbed with a run time of 2 hours and 45 minutes, seem like an extremely tiresome experience.

The only saving grace here are the performances. Almost every actor cast in the main and supporting roles, gets the Rayalaseema accent on point. While most of the supporting actors are decent in their roles, a praise-worthy performance comes from Jagapathi Babu, as the main antagonist. Playing a rugged and rustic version of his character from Rangasthalam, Jagapathi Babu uses his menacing eyes and evil face to create a gruesome villain and delivers well. Pooja Hegde, apart from looking pretty and complimenting Junior NTR well, gets some cute moments amid choppy dialogue delivery. Sunil, making a comeback as the sidekick, is utterly wasted, as he neither gets to do comedy nor drama. But, it is Junior NTR, who plays Veera Raghava with such conviction, that you try to remain invested in this otherwise insipid tale. Being able to pull off a mass character with élan is no mean feat, and he is charismatic at that. Using a calm and restrained demeanor, reminiscent of Mahesh Babu from Athadu, his hard-work and efforts are clearly visible in his performance. Unfortunately, he is let down by poor writing, screenplay and dialogues.

From ‘Nuvve Kavali’ to as recently as ‘A Aa’, Trivikram has always been known for his brilliant dialogues, with some of the finest gems in movies like ‘Nuvvu Naaku Nachavu’, ‘Manmadhudu’ and ‘Jalsa’. Watching ASVR reminded me of Srinu Vaitla’s ‘Aagadu’ – another director known for his witty one-liners, who bored his audiences to death with an overdose of bland dialogues. Not sure if it is Trivikram’s complacency or lack of vision, but ASVR looked like a tale from a tired and disinterested story-teller. Trust me, I seem as disinterested in writing this review as he seemed to be while making this movie.

My Rating – 2/5 | Grade - C (Meh! Probably a Rental!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Anurag Rao (@The Filmy Basti!)

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Devadas - Honest Movie Review

[This review was first posted on Anurag's 'The Filmy Basti' Blog]

Verdict - "A Let Down by a Weak Script and Poorly-Etched Characters!"

Telugu films starring major stars always capitalize on their stardom, often making their characters in the movies larger than life. Nagarjuna himself has been a part of mainstream hits such as Sreenu Vaitla’s ‘King’, which was a fun, no-brainer mad capper and breezy romcoms like Vijay Bhaskar’s ‘Manmadhudu’. Nagarjuna – Nani’s latest outing, ‘DevaDas’ treads a path in between the two – tries to be a simple movie, unfortunately, with unrealistic subplots and glaring loopholes!

A flamboyant don, Deva (played by Nagarjuna), meets an upright, simpleton ‘M.B.B.S, M.S, Gold Medalist’ Dr. Das (played by Nani). This doctor-patient relationship grows from an overbearing goon arm-twisting a young and naïve doctor, to a strong friendship between a doctor and his lone friend, a robinhood-like don. The rest, as I said, is a botchy, loophole-filled narrative, which neither keeps you stay invested, nor adds any value to any of its characters.

Director Sriram Adittya, who has also written this movie, uses his actors as mere stereotypes, by making all his characters one dimensional with no layer giving them a flat character arc. Agreed that we as Telugu audiences love and adore our larger-than-life ‘heroes’ in the movies, but, if a character is not given enough weight, it falls flat. Barring Dr. Das (to a certain extent), none of the other characters evoke any emotion or connect with the audiences. His screenplay in the first half is uneven especially in the first 30 minutes, when the narrative cuts across the lives of Deva and Das without a smooth transition. At 2-hours-and-44-minutes, it is way too long, and the makers seem to waste a lot of time in setting up the theme and over indulge in the second half trying to glorify both the male leads.

A mention of the catchy music by Mani Sharma, as a couple of songs are quite hummable. Though some songs like the over-indulgent ‘Lakumikara’, mixing holi with dahi-handi and Ganesh Chaturthi, was a drag and seem to be in the movie just to let Nagarjuna flaunt his perfectly shaped abs! Among the characters, the one that has some layers is Dr. Das and Nani plays it with complete conviction. Even though his scenes as a medical practitioner seem contrived, his honesty and endearing nature makes the viewers overlook these flaws. He, along with Vennela Kishore, deserve to be praised for their impeccable comic timing, and sharing better chemistry than Nani shares with Rashmika Mandanna.


Speaking of the girls, both Rashmika Mandanna and Aakanksha Singh get a raw deal, where both their characters have good potential but are relegated to the background. Nagarjuna uses his charm and wit to his advantage and plays a one-tone larger-than-life don, but it is such a poorly written character, with no justification whatsoever for his Robinhood-like compassion or an explanation for Das and Jahnavi’s (played by Aakanksha Singh) empathy towards a criminal. Honestly, I waited till the end for Deva’s story to be revealed to explain the gaps that were left in the narrative all along, but they remained as glaring loopholes. Even a charming Kunal Kapoor makes a majorly disappointing Telugu debut as the villain and practically gets nothing to do.

Two of the most adored romantic heroes unite for the first time but are let down by a weak script and poorly-etched characters. Imagine how insipid Devdas will be, without his Paro or Chandramukhi. Nagarjuna-Nani starrer DevaDas is equally bland without his Paro (script) and Chandramukhi (characters).

My Rating – 2/5 | Grade - B+ (Meh! Probably a Rental!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Anurag Rao (@The Filmy Basti!)

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U Turn - Honest Movie Review

[This review was first posted on Anurag's 'The Filmy Basti' Blog]

As I exited the underwhelming ‘Shailaja Reddy Alludu’, it occurred to me that like her husband, even Samantha Akkineni has stuck to mainstream entertainers (including this week’s release 'Seemaraja') and her filmography has very few exceptions. Director-writer Pawan Kumar’s bilingual thriller, U Turn is one such glorious exception. A remake of his own Kannada hit, U Turn is an edge-of-the-seat thriller, with measured pace and the right amounts of twists and turns, barring the slightly bumpy climax.

An interning journalist with ToI, Rachana (Samantha Akkineni), sets out to cover a story on the recurring accidents at a flyover in RK Puram in Hyderabad. She soon gets entangled in a web of seemingly interconnected events, which link her to the mysterious death of a bunch of people unrelated to her. Taking the help of her office crush, Aditya (Rahul Ravindran) and the tough cop, Nayak (Aadhi Pinisetty), Rachana solves the mystery and it is this unfolding of events that create an intriguing and engaging narrative.

Initially, I found it hard to fathom why would a rookie journalist bother about people taking a wrong U Turn on a nondescript flyover. But the racy, fast-paced narrative makes you overlook it and absorbs you into the mystery surrounding these deaths. The camera work by Niketh Bommireddy is top-notch, and he uses rain, lightning and odd-shots of his actors to create a dark and consuming image. The director, Pawan needs to be applauded for not making the visuals gloomy and low-spirited – a convenient way chosen by most of the directors, who make thrillers. There are no songs dampening the tempo of the film, and the eerie background score by Poorna Chandra Tejaswi perfectly accentuates the thrills.

Playing a righteous cop fighting against a cliched boss, Aadhi brings an honesty to his character and is effective in his part. He is smart and acts pre-emptively, trying to be a step ahead of the antagonist in the game. Rahul Ravindran is easy on the eyes and gets a relatively smaller part but delivers whatever is expected of him. Bhumika Chawla, in a cameo, gets steely gazes and a long face complimenting her character well.

But, as evident from its trailers, the movie rests comfortably on the shoulders of its protagonist, Samantha. Her character is layered well – we are told she is an independent woman, shooing her pestering mom away, resisting a ‘USA sambandham’ and referred as ‘Mogarayudu’ at office. These details help us connect to this petite rookie, who seems rather composed and confident, even when stuck in a chaotic police case. She chews on the author-backed role given to her and delivers beautifully. Thankfully, she never shrieks or cries out loud – another unwritten norm in female-centric thrillers. It is a great attempt in her career and she deserves to be applauded.

While I loved most part of it, I felt the climax was a bit of let-down (No more details since I do not give spoilers). I was not completely convinced with the final twist (though I had guessed it correctly!). I am told the writers have slightly altered the climax, from its Kannada original, which I have not seen. Having said that, U Turn is a crisp, sharp and well-directed movie, that deserves to be watched.

Over the years, we have mostly seen women in Telugu movies headline roles in thrillers. From the days of Charmee and Bhumika in Mantra and Anasuya, to the recent Anushka starrer, Bhagamathie, women have mostly been chosen as the protagonists in either horror or thriller genres. With mainstream actresses like Samantha taking a risk with U Turn and the multi-lingual Queen remakes, I am sure the change is just around the corner.

My Rating – 3.5/5 | Grade - B+ (A Perfect Weekend Pick!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Anurag Rao (@The Filmy Basti!)

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Shailaja Reddy Alludu - Honest Movie Review

[This review was first posted on Anurag's 'The Filmy Basti' Blog]

If you are someone brought up in the 1990s like me, you would remember growing up on Telugu potboilers involving a haughty mother-in-law and a macho son-in-law. From Chiranjeevi’s 'Attaki Yamudu Ammayi ki Mogudu' to Nagarjuna’s 'Gharana Bullodu' or 'Allari Alludu', these movies were massy, no-brainers, yet, extremely entertaining and celebrated the stardom of its leads. Writer-director Maruthi uses this tried and tested template, only with a weak script and an underwhelming Naga Chaitanya!

‘Ego’ seems to be the catch-phrase of the writer here and characters in the movie utter this word every 20 seconds! Chaitanya (Naga Chaitanya) is the son of a renowned industrialist (Murali Sharma), who is as known for his business achievements as he is for his boundless arrogance and ‘ego’. Chaitanya falls for a snooty and arrogant, Anu (Anu Emmanuel), who has her own little ‘ego’ battles with her overbearing mother, Shailaja Reddy (Ramya Krishna). The mother and daughter do not talk to each other and seem to be competing in their levels of arrogance. Predictably, the movie revolves around Chaitanya trying to resolve these silly and juvenile ‘ego’ issues, to get married to the girl he loves. If you think I have overused the word ‘ego’ here, compared to its usage in this movie, I have barely even used the word! The laziness in the writing can also be seen in the names given to the lead characters – directly using the names of the lead actors.

The weakest link here is the director-writer Maruthi himself. His insipid writing is further let-down by his weak direction. Mass entertainers do not usually rely on strong character arcs and I am completely fine with it, if the movie is able to convince me. Almost all the performances are one-tone and lack any depth. Ramya Krishna plays a Sivagami set in modern times, instead of Mahishmati. She uses her daunting eyes, aristocratic gait and a female ‘Godfather’ stature, and her performance is captivating, even though it seems repetitive. Anu Emmanuel can barely act, and in most of the parts has a straight face (pretending to be arrogant) and occasionally breaks into a Monalisa-isque smile. The chemistry between the leads is very dull and even sensuous sequences seem icy cold between them! Among the rest of the cast, Vennela Kishore and Prudhvi Raj provide quite a few laughs and if you savor toilet humor, you are in for some good time.

But the most disappointing performance was of Naga Chaitanya. A movie like this relies majorly on its male lead, his flamboyance and his mass-appeal. Chaitanya lacks all of these. At the beginning, he appears to lack conviction and acting through the movie half-heartedly, where he does not have the charm and stardom that his father has. A movie like this requires a certain aura around its gutsy male lead, which is best seen in the likes of Jr NTR and Allu Arjun. I wish he takes a cue from the nextgen, like Vijay Devarakonda and Nani, who seem to be choosing content-driven movies, over formulaic ones. At a time when his contemporaries are experimenting with content, it is disheartening to see Chaitanya pick such movies, probably burdened by the pressure to take the great Akkineni legacy forward.

With half a dozen forgettable songs and plot-twists at the drop of a hat, Shailaja Reddy Alludu is a disappointment! Watching our one-man-army fight against ‘ego’ for two and a half hours is not a pleasant experience. At one point, even Chaitanya asks, ‘Asalu mee lanti Talli-Kuturlu Bhoo Prapancham lo untara?’. Trust me, the audiences were asking the same!

My Rating – 1.5/5 | Grade - D+ (A Hangover!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Anurag Rao (@The Filmy Basti!)

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Geetha Govindam - Honest Movie Review

[This review was first posted on Anurag's 'The Filmy Basti' Blog]

Firstly, let’s welcome Vijay Devarakonda to mainstream Telugu Cinema! After playing the lead in two offbeat movies which became massive hits, he finally moves into the quintessential Telugu hero zone. Well, he almost does. Directed by Parasuram, ‘Geetha Govindam’ has all the major elements of a Telugu masala potboiler – stunning leads, lip-syncing songs, a slight dose of family drama, unrequited twists and an unnecessary female-bashing song! But, Parasuram, who has also written the dialogues and screenplay, alternates between an offbeat rom-com and a masala potboiler, making it an irregular movie to watch.

Vijay Govind (played by Vijay Devarakonda) is a young college professor, who believes in old-school romance and love stories. Even though he has his students swooning over him, he idolizes Kamal Hassan-Sukanya’s equation from Bharateeyudu (quite an odd couple for inspiration) and daydreams of stealing similar small pleasures of life – cuddling after a shower or while sharing a cup of coffee. The girl of his dreams takes the form of Geetha (played by Rashmika Mandanna), whose brother is set to marry Govind’s sister. To make this review spoiler-free, let’s just say that Geetha’s equation with Govind starts on a bad note, but while preparing for the wedding, it begins to change (predictably). If you look at my summary of the plot, Geetha Govindam, gives the vibes of a breezy, feel-good entertainer. I wish it was just that, without being burdened by the demands of commercial cinema. The movie would have worked better had it been treated the way Tharun Bhaskar handled 2016’s sleeper hit, Pelli Choopulu – which worked without having any needless subplots or pointless twists. Even the screenplay is problematic in the first 20 minutes when there seems to be an issue in the continuity. Having said that, Parasuram deserves credit for the witty dialogues, especially for Vijay Devarakonda and Rahul Ramakrishna.

But, it is Vijay Devarakonda, who makes this movie a delight to watch. In comparison to his previous cult, Arjun Reddy, Govind is a complete non-hero. He is awkward with female attention, listens to Chaganti’s pravachanam to help him find an ‘ideal wife’ and has no false pretense! Vijay Devarakonda channels his raw energy to play a submissive and naïve, Govind, who is a victim always caught on the wrong foot by Geetha. He has immense screen presence and does not seem to miss a note anywhere. His dialogues and demeanor are so contrasting to Arjun Reddy, that he appears like an adorable misnomer. (He plays a Kakinada boy with a Telangana accent though) Rashmika Mandanna manages to be effective and strong even in the presence of a spectacular Vijay Devarakonda. As the perennially suspecting and angry Geetha, she gets some of the best moments in the movie. The ones where she catches Govind in uncomfortable situations, followed by confrontations are hilarious! Another happy change was to see her gushing and crushing over Vijay – a rarity in Telugu cinema. (Thankfully, this was not shown negatively as in RX100) And yes, both the leads are extremely pleasant on the eyes! The supporting cast comprising of Subbaraju, Nagababu, Rahul Ramakrishna and Annapoorna Amma play their parts well. Vennela Kishore, whose entry was welcomed with a huge applause in the theatre, gets a small role but he manages to evoke quite a few laughs.

It would be a sin not to praise the melodious music by Gopi Sundar, especially, my current favorite – Inkem Inkem Inkem Kavale, in the mellifluous voice of Sid Sriram. Even the background score complements the narrative well. I wish the narrative had continued to remain easy-breezy in the second half as well, instead of going the routine Telugu film route. But, nonetheless, the leads make up for it.

My Rating – 3/5 | Grade - B (Worth a Watch!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Anurag Rao (@The Filmy Basti!)

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Mahanati / Nadigaiyar Thilagam - Instant Movie Review #40

Nag Ashwin's - "Mahanati / Nadigaiyar Thilagam"

Positives:
1) Keerthy Suresh
2) Story and Screenplay
3) Direction
4) Production Design
5) Cinematography
6) Music
7) Performances

Negatives:
1) Subplots

Introduction - Directed by Nag Ashwin, who's responsible for one of the best films of 2015 in Yevade Subramanyam, Mahanati is a biographical drama based on the controversial yet heartening life of Savitri garu, one of the most celebrated and exceptional female actresses of the 50's, 60's and the 70's in both Tollywood and Kollywood film industries. The storyline follows the journey of Savitri from her childhood to get married to her sweetheart Gemini Ganesan and later spoiling her health and relations with her family after getting addicted to alcohol.

Analysis - Now, making a biopic is a tough task, the research, and the execution have to be spot on cause you don't want things to go south when presenting the life stories of one biggest lady superstars. Nag Ashwin, did a fantastic job directing the film and the screenplay (excluding the sub-plots) was well written. The film's objection was to make us love, care and feel for the protagonist's character and it delivered on that level cause I didn't find a single person in the theatre without a teary eye. The technical aspects of the movie, cinematography and production design also deserve a notable appreciation. Also, the music and the background score by Mickey J. Meyer was outstanding and matched the film's vibe remarkably.

Performances - Now, portraying Savitri garu and her character accurately is one giant obstacle or even casting the right actor to represent the character is also a huge task. With that being said, Keerthy Suresh was phenomenal to a point where I believed that I was watching Savitri garu on-screen. Her ability to transform into this character who has a multitude of variations has to be appreciated and she carried her role perfectly. She is one of the reasons why the movie worked out so well. Her co-star Dulquer Salmaan along with the supporting cast, Samantha Akkineni, and Vijay Devarakonda also did their best in their respective roles.

Verdict - Overall, Mahanati is an incredible, emotional, thoughtful and a well-illustrated biopic of one of the most beloved actresses of South Indian Cinema and this film did the best it could to display her love for humanity, acting, and movies. So far, without a doubt, the best film of the year.

My Rating - 4/5 | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks
An Instant Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Naa Peru Surya - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "So Long! So Boring!"

Directed by Vakkantham Vamsi, Naa Peru Surya (Naa Illu India) stars Allu Arjun in the lead role and co-stars Anu Emmanuel, Arjun Sarja, R. Sarathkumar, Thakur Anoop Singh and Boman Irani as the supporting cast. The basic premise of the film revolves around Surya, a resentful, passionate soldier of the Indian Army and how his debauchery over anger management resulted in a failure of his Army career and how he responded to overcome his contradictions.

Clocking at an exhausting 148-minute mark, this trainwreck of a film tested my patience from start to finish. The storyline had no precise path as it bounced from one thing to another constantly and the numerous subplots also didn't improve the film's quality as I'm dunked with boredom the whole time. Also, with the inclusion of the subplots, the screenplay was atrocious especially during the second half of the film which suffered due to its unbalanced flow.

Likewise, the addition of Anu Emmanuel and the romantic angle between her and Allu Arjun did not blend well with the storyline or the overall film. Being a patriotic-action movie, Emmanuel's role didn't have any significance as it felt like she's only present to add sensual glamour to the film. Furthermore, the music by Vishal and Shekhar was excruciating and forgettable as I don't understand the reason behind choosing them over many talented Telugu musicians to score the music for the film.

Advancing to the positives, Vakkantham Vamsi did a terrific job at the presenting the film incredibly. Every single shot was lit, captured and rendered very well and all credits must go to the cinematographer Rajeev Ravi. Also, the action sequences were remarkably shot, performed and choreographed along with the dialogues which are wonderfully written. But, the biggest advantage of the film is Allu Arjun, he carried the movie on his shoulder and looked dynamic, aggressive, charismatic and was a perfect fit for his role. 

Overall, excluding the action sequences, dialogues, and Allu Arjun's magnificent performance, this film was a painful watch. It's boring, long and irritating at the same time as I left the movie theatre with no smile on my face and aggravated.

My Rating – 2/5 | Grade – C (Meh! Probably a rental)
-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (
@SuryaKomal)

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Bharath Ane Nenu - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "Bland and Boring!"

Directed by Koratala Siva, Bharath Ane Nenu starring Mahesh Babu in the lead role is a political-drama dealing with the current situation of politics in Andhra Pradesh and also stars Kiara Advani as the female lead.

After his father's sudden demise, Oxford University graduate Bharath (Mahesh Babu) is cherry-picked by his uncle (Prakash Raj) as the next Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. Irritated with the poor governance in the state, Bharath brings few radical changes to the society which in-turn introduces him to new rivals and bitter adversaries from the opposition party who questions and argues for his zany agendas.

Now, if you've seen Koratala Siva's previous films, you're well aware that he presents his heroes remarkably. Similarly, his execution of Bharath's character was exceptional to watch. The stature, persona, and caliber were brilliantly presented by Siva as Mahesh Babu did his best to deliver on his performance. Also, the dialogues were also well written and added a much-needed weight to the film.

Advancing to the technical aspects, Ravi K. Chandran and Tirru did a fantastic job when it comes to the camera work. The music and the background score was well presented by Devi Sri Prasad especially the BGM which synced in well with the bestowment of the film. Also, Kiara Advani was delightful to watch. Although her character and involvement in the film felt forced and was understandable, she did her best in the role she's offered.

But, I'll tell why this movie didn't work for me. First up, the storyline, which is nothing new or broke any rules. As I stated earlier, they are few radical ideas in the film that I want to see implemented IRL, but, the basic storyline excluding the ideas was bland and mundane to watch. I can't help draw similarities between this film and Leader starring Rana Daggubati cause the two storylines are soo parallel to each other and I didn't see this coming from an acclaimed director like Siva.

Nevertheless, Bharath Ane Nenu had few moments here and there, but on the whole, this movie is a disappointment as it felt like something I've seen before. Watch it when it debuts on Amazon Prime.

My Rating - 2.5/5 | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks
An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Krishnarjuna Yuddham - Instant Movie Review #39

Merlapaka Gandhi's - "Krishnarjuna Yuddham"

Positives:
1) Screenplay
2) Cinematography
3) Music

Negatives:
1) Story
2) Runtime

Introduction - 2017 has been a successful year for the Natural Star 'Nani' with his films like Nenu Local, Ninnu Kori, and MCA garnering box-office success irrespective of how critics felt. On the other hand, director Merlapaka Gandhi has also seen great success with his previous two films Venkatadri Express and Express Raja and was immensely appreciated for his screenwriting work. So, with the director and actor both being in terrific form, I expected an entertaining film with commercial elements sprinkled all over it. But!

Analysis - Clocking at 154 minutes, the runtime is one of the primary drawbacks of the film. Established on a bland generic, seen-before storyline, the film loses its pace and delight in the first thirty minutes and never tries picks it up. But, Gandhi entertains with his clever and adept screenplay and proves that he is still one of best screenwriters around. Karthik Ghattamaneni once again impresses with his remarkable camera shots and his ability to make a scene look delightful, rich and vibrant should truly be commended. Also, a special shout-out to the Kollywood sensation Hiphop Tamizha for his incredible work with the background score and music.

Performances - Despite few dull character moments, Nani impresses and entertain in his double-role, especially with this Chittoor district slang and verbiage, Nani demands the screen presence and enthralls with his incredible performance. Both the actresses, Anupama Parameswaran and Rukshar Dhillon were decent in their respective roles as well as the supporting cast.

Verdict - Overall, Krishnarjuna Yuddham is a total disappointment, the lackluster story and the dreadful runtime hurts the movie immensely. If you have the right amount of patience to sit through a bland film then this might be for you.

My Rating - 2.5/5 | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks
An Instant Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Spyder - Movie Review

Verdict: ‘Murugadoss Knits a Watchable Spy-Thriller’

Spyder, the latest Tamil-Telugu bilingual from A.R.Murugadoss has Mahesh Babu, Rakul Preet Singh, and SJ. Surya playing the lead characters. 

Shiva (Mahesh Babu) works at Intelligence Bureau and illegally traps people’s phone by creating his own software and overhears their conversations. He anonymously helps people who are in danger by listening to their phone conversation. Mahesh Babu has given his sincere efforts and does his part well. Except for the “Kristen Stewart” reason that it was a bit tiring to watch him give a single reaction from him for every darn scene. 

Rakul Preet Singh didn’t have a significant role to do apart from being a testosterone-charged girl, trailing behind the hero for a one night stand which later developed into love and he becomes her inamoratos.

SJ. Surya is the show stealer in this movie. Adorning the role of a sadistic psycho-killer, he gives a Heath Ledger like performance. It was an absolute delight watching him as he lived the character on screen. Though he appeared for a relatively lesser time, he took villainous tactics to a whole new level and joins the elite club of baddies. 

Harris Jayaraj's background score was another highlight of the movie. The sound was gripping and parallel with the movie scenes. Santhosh Sivan, as usual, gives a visually rich experience. 

A.R. Murugadoss never disappoints his audience. Even with Spyder, ignoring few flaws, he had delivered a complete weekend pick for the commercial movie lovers. He even follows his routine of adding a social message at the end of the film.

To end with, Spyder is a guaranteed entertainer movie with required amount of action, comedy, romance and sentiments, which you could watch and feel content for this festival weekend. 

My Rating – 3/5
Grade – B (Worth a watch)
-By Nirmalraj aka AK  (@Nirmalraj2911)

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Shamanthakamani - Movie Review

Verdict - "Misses on Being a Better Film!"

Directed by Sriram Adittya and starring Rajendra Prasad, Nara Rohit, Sundeep Kishan, Aadi Saikumar and Sudheer Babu in the lead roles, the plot of Shamanthakamani revolves around a stolen five crore Rolls Royce vintage car and in one way or another all the lead characters in the film were trapped in the same web that eventually leads us to the whereabouts of the stolen car. 

First off, Tollywood is known for its crowd-pleasing multi-genre commercial films, they're always a safe bet for the producers to invest and honestly, the trend of making a bad commercial film is getting over-saturated these days with one or two films in a month failing at the box office miserably. Following the success of experimental movies like Pelli Choopulu and Kshanam last year, director Sriram Adittya made the right choice to stick to a particular genre and not worrying about commercializing the film. He believed in his script and his crew to carry the movie forward and for that reason, I gave major props to Mr. Adittya.

Now, dedicated only to a particular genre (which is an Action Thriller in this case), the storyline has to be seamless to make an enjoyable 120-minute film. Although Adittya added few twists and turns to the storyline in the third act, the first two acts of the films were slightly on the downside. He executed the film remarkably, he made sure that all the five leads had equal importance in the film, the camera work was unique and creative, the background music by Mani Sharma was on point but in regards to the storyline of the overall film, it felt a bit dreary at times.

Overall, Shamanthakamani had everything going in its favor except for the storyline that had its own issues until the third act. I'm a big fan of experimental films and they're very much essential for the industry moving forward and Shamanthakamani is a decent example (like Vedam) that a multi starrer experimental film will be appreciated by the audience if executed right.

My Rating - 3/5
Grade - B (Worth a watch!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Baahubali 2: The Conclusion - Movie Review

Verdict - "Mothership of Indian Cinema!"

Two years of anticipation, numerous spoofs and theories and one universally asked question, 'Why Kattappa killed Baahubali'? Well, now you know why! Directed by S.S. Rajamouli, 'Baahubali 2: The Conclusion' had already been a widespread phenomenon since the release of its prequel and is presented as the crown jewel of Indian Cinema releasing over 9000+ screens worldwide.

Bounded around the basic plot of the assassination of Baahubali, the second film from this regal franchise continues exactly where the first film concluded and advances the storyline by developing the relationship between the characters of Amarendra Baahubali (Prabhas), Bhallala Deva (Rana Daggubati), Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan), Devasena (Anushka Shetty), and Kattappa (Satyaraj).

With nearly three hours of run time, the pacing seemed like a trifling issue for the film at times. The romantic angle between Prabhas and Anushka was sub par and the characters developed throughout that particular duration didn't correspond properly when the storyline proceeded to the next step. Also, this might just be an unpopular opinion, but the climax was marginally outstretched and would've been trimmed or narrated a tad more effectively.

Apart from the trivial negatives of the film, S.S. Rajamouli deserves high regard and utmost respect for making an Indian film (most importantly a Telugu film) seen, appreciated and cherished worldwide by different cultures of people. His determination, imagination for creating a spellbinding battle scenes and most importantly the execution to orchestrate such a colossal film was downright phenomenal. CGI and the production design were certainly an improvement when compared to the earlier film in the franchise and were presented brilliantly on the big screen.

The performances from the two main leads Prabhas and Rana Daggubati were fascinating to watch, both the actors were outstanding in every single scene and clearly worked very hard to bring the appeal and allure to their respective characters. Ramya Krishnan was again splendid as Sivagami which was one of the pivotal characters of the film and Anushka Shetty was also magnificent in her portrayal as Devasena regardless of her half-baked character.

Nonetheless, in the thick of massive expectations, S.S. Rajamouli never faltered to deliver an awe-inspiring film with his ambitious and novel acumen. Baahubali 2: The Conclusion only elevated the standards set by its predecessor and will continue to become the mother ship of Indian Cinema in terms of box office, film making, production design and visual effects.

My Rating - 3.5/5
Grade - B+ (A perfect weekend pick!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

Baahubali: The Beginning - Movie Review: Click Here

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Premam - Movie Review

Verdict - "A tolerable remake!"

Directed by Chandoo Mondeti ('Karthikeya' fame), Premam is a much-awaited remake of the hit 2015 Malayalam film of the same title and features Naga Chaitanya and Shruti Haasan in the lead roles. In the midst of its enormous fanfare and popularity will this star-studded remake reprise the wholesomeness like its original or will it fall through and fail?  

The basic plot of the film narrates us the life of Vikram (Naga Chaitanya)  from his teenage to his adult life as he falls in love with three different women in various crucial points in his life and the film illustrates us the idiocy, happiness, sorrow and struggle that he had to go through to find his desired soul mate. 

Bounded within a fundamental storyline which has been admired and well-regarded over the years. This film didn't capture or meet the feel and the authenticity of its original and continued itself to present itself like a tolerable remake which will not be treasured or long-remembered. Don't get me wrong, the film had its moments, the comedic scenes were amusing, the screenplay was well-written and the film was not actually boring. But, two weeks or at least one month from now you will not find anyone talking about the movie. And that's a major setback!

The performances were overall decent from the complete cast. Naga Chaitanya, although not a great actor, made sure that he portrayed the diversity in his character that scales from his young school days to his adult professional life. Shruti Haasan's performance was satisfactory along with Anupama Parameswaran and Madonna Sebastian. On the more technical side, the cinematography by Karthik Ghattamaneni was breathtaking to watch and the film's sound design was noteworthy.

Overall, Premam is a satisfactory remake and entertains you across the two-hour-thirty-minute runtime. But it completely fails to stand out as a unique authentic film which will be remembered and celebrated in the upcoming years or at least months. Worth a single watch!

My Rating - 3/5
Grade - B (Worth a watch!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Sarrainodu - Movie Review

Verdict - "A failed marriage between a flawed script and some deadly action."

Written and directed by Boyapati Sreenu, Sarrainodu features Allu Arjun, Rakul Preet Singh, Catherine Tresa, and Srikanth in the lead roles as it explores the story about a military gold medalist Gana (Allu Arjun) who works for an improved society by beating up barbarous hooligans and corrupted people every day. On the other hand, we are introduced to the antagonist of the film, Vairam Dhanush (Aadhi), who is an archetype of evil and is an imbecile who knows how to play with wicked power and a futile system. As the story unfolds and when consequences evolve, the story directs us for a mega showdown between the good and the evil which concludes with a predictable ending. 

On a narrative standpoint, this film had nothing interesting to present from its outset, the storyline was predictable, time-worn and was tested many times before. They're certainly few parts and characters that didn't connect with the storyline properly and felt like they're forcefully crammed into the film for entertainment purpose. Also, the movie had some serious pacing and editing issues where it abruptly cuts from one scene to another and it happened far too many times that truly made the film look a lot more defective. 

But, on a positive note, the cinematography by Rishi Punjabi was surprisingly incredible. Although the slow-motion gimmick was a bit repetitive, the magnificent scale accompanied with an ostentatious production design, amazingly choreographed action scenes and few fine-looking locations elevated the film on a technical level. 

About the performances, Allu Arjun portrayed a never-seen-before avatar in this film, his charisma, body language and the appeal that he brought to the screen was astounding. He carried the entire movie on his shoulders throughout the 160-minute runtime and was never disappointing. Aadhi's performance was another major boon for the film as he embraced his nasty character perfectly. Rakul Preet Singh and Catherine Tresa were decent as the female leads and didn't have a major impact on the film.

Nevertheless, Sarrainodu might impress only a particular set of audience who are looking forward to watch few awe-inspiring action sequences and a valiant heroic character whose only job is to beat people up. But, if you're expecting a film with a significant storyline and a constructive screenplay then this is surely not the movie for you.

My Rating - 2.75/5
Grade - C + (Decent Flick!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Instant Movie Review #32 (Express Raja)

Merlapaka Gandhi's - "Express Raja"

Positives:
1) Direction
2) Story and Screenplay
3) Comedic Sequences
4) Performances
5) Music and Background Score
6) Cinematography

Introduction and Plot: Residing in downtown Vizag, Raja (Sharwanand) is an unemployed troublemaker who thinks hanging out with his mischievous buddies is the only way to enjoy his life. Subsequently, he moves to Hyderabad for a job and come across Amulya (Surabhi) and instantly falls in love with her. In the course of their delightful relationship, Amulya's pet dog goes missing that totally switches the entire movie into an enjoyable fun ride. 

Analysis and Technical: Whirling around a comprehensive story line, Gandhi's astute screenplay was the focal point of the entire film. The approach that he took to blend in the comedic sequences within the story line and his meticulous narration is certainly admirable. Karthik Gattamaneni's elegant cinematography and Praveen Lakkaraju's gratifying music made the film a lot better.

Performances: Sharwanand did his best with his cheerful, fun-loving character and entertained with his convivial screen presence. Actress Surabhi looked gorgeous but her action skills just felt synthetic for me. Prabhas Sreenu mesmerized me with his startling performance and Harish Uthaman looked menacing as the antagonist. But, Saptagiri stole the entire movie with his funny and uproarious performance that was outright inevitable to ignore laughing.

Verdict: Overall, Express Raja was an amusing fun rollercoaster ride to hop on and enjoy with your family. This was Sharwanad's third hit in a row and I wish he extends doing smaller films with many talented directors like Merlapaka Gandhi.

My Rating - 3/5
Grade - B (Worth a watch!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Nannaku Prematho - Movie Review

Verdict - "A captivating and a well-written thriller."

Sukumar is a director with tons of intellect. His proficiency in writing an exhilarating screenplay with great dialogue is admirable. But he lost his credibility to a limited extent when "1: Nenokkadine" failed regrettably at the box office and fell short as a commercial success. Apparently, the anticipation for Nannaku Prematho is sky-high not only because Jr. NTR's diverse look, but also to get the drift of what Sukumar does next.

With only a few days left in his life, Subramanyam (Rajendra Prasad) narrates his appalling past life and his callous rivalry with Krishnamurthy (Jagapathi Babu) to his three sons. Traumatized by hearing the events occurred in his dad's life, Abhiram (Jr. NTR), the younger son of Subramanyam decides to finish his dad's rivalry with Krishnamurthy by making him go bankrupt in 30 days.

I've complained for many years now on the subject of Tollywood and established heroes, not taking too many risks to make a diverse film that is respectable for a viewer to watch. And after watching Nannaku Prematho, I certainly felt dumbfounded and I should appreciate the producer of the film BVSN Prasad, director Sukumar and Jr. NTR for taking the risk by making a non-commercial thriller that enhances the content throughout the runtime.

Even with a non-specific revenge plot, Sukumar managed to impress me as a viewer with his adroit screenplay and adept dialogue that is appropriate for a thriller. But during the 168-minute runtime, they're  many plot holes and irrational things that happen which are easily ignorable if you watch the movie with an open mind.

From his look to his character, it is a total overhaul for Jr. NTR as a performer and he never failed to impress as the major lead of the film. Jagapathi Babu's commendable performance, Rakul Preet's dazzling screen presence raised the bar in the movie to a laudable level. And Devi Sri Prasad's stellar music and the background music were also praiseworthy. 

Overall, despite being a comprehensive revenge thriller-drama with juvenile flaws, it is Sukumar's splendid screenplay, dialogue, and Jr. NTR astounding performance that kept the film alive. Tollywood deserves more similar thrillers like this, and I applaud the complete crew behind this film for trying something different.

My Rating - 3.25/5
Grade - B (Entertaining! With noticeable flaws)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Thoongavanam/Cheekati Rajyam - Movie Review

Verdict - "A cutting-edge-action-thriller."

Subsequently, after an abrupt incident that involves drugs and gunfire, Narcotics Control Bureau officer Diwakar (Kamal Haasan) gets hemmed in a relentless situation where his son gets kidnapped by a callous goon Vittal Rao (Prakash Raj) due to some unfinished business.

Kamal Haasan's commendable screenplay is undeniably one of the finest aspects of the film, as the narrative strictly takes place in one bustling place, Mr. Haasan made sure that the writing surpassed all its expectations and be strong enough to keep the audience engaged and entertained with few intense and amusing scenes.

Under a technical standpoint, this movie is well shot, and the action sequences were well choreographed and executed. But the background score plays a very significant role in every single action-thriller and as a result, Ghibran's intense electronic BGM made the movie a lot better to watch.

On the other side, this film might not seize the interest in a particular set of audience that don't like to watch an offbeat movie. The pacing felt quite bogged down, especially in the second half, maybe due to the reason there's nothing much left in the film to enlighten as a narrative.

Nonetheless, Thoongavanam is undeniably a hard movie to sell to the movie audience primarily because of its offbeat premise. But, if you're thrilled to watch a thrilling cutting-edge-action-thriller like me, then you'll definitely appreciate this film a lot. 

My Rating - 3.25/5
Grade - B (Worth a watch!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Bahubali: The Beginning - Movie Review

Verdict - "A game-changer! Bahubali deserves the word 'epic'."

Three years in making, two years of high anticipation and with a colossal hype wrapped around it, Bahubali is the biggest motion picture from India with an inflated price tag of 175 crores. With a protracted narrative structure of nearly five hours, the film was divided into two parts -- The Beginning and The Conclusion. But with a mixture of an audience throughout India who incline towards a quick finale will "Bahubali - The Beginning" astonish and amaze a common and a diehard movie fan who had been waiting for more than a year.

The storyline evolves around this warrior group trying to extricate princess Devasena (Anushka Shetty) who was held captive for years under the malicious leader named Bhallala Deva (Rana Daggubati). On the other hand, Sivudu (Prabhas), a valiant and a heroic chap who was swayed by the elegance of the warrior girl Avantika (Tamannaah) joins the army to free the princess all alone. Will he triumph over? And what is the significant truth behind Sivudu's exalted past?

Here are my few complaints! Judging by the synopsis above, the storyline of this movie was not spectacular and certainly not what I expected it to be. It's simple, straightforward and conventional. The screenplay was a bit stale in the first half as it never felt exhilarating, the process of rescuing Devasena was also quite mind-numbing.

The most significant and the imposing attribute of the movie were the special effects as they looked mind-boggling. Particularly, they're a few eye-popping scenes in the first fifteen and the last thirty minutes of the movie, that were enthralling and jaw-dropping to watch. 

Subsequently, K. K. Senthil Kumar's amazing cinematography and Sabu Cyril's awe-inspiring production design bolstered as the backbone of the movie. The set designs looked authentic and meticulous as it sustained the precise vibe that is needed for an epic film.

Also, M.M. Keeravani's music elevated the movie to the next level with its ostentatious presentation. Every single note in the BGM resided flawlessly with the situation and it was a perfect match.

Prabhas and Rana were the perfect fits in their respective roles, they appeared intrepid and stout in carrying their characters throughout the movie and it completely looked plausible with these valiant actors in the lead roles. 

Tamannaah felt like she was entirely overdoing her character and that made her performance look artificial. Anushka was only given a single moment to shine in the movie and the build for her character in the second part was perfectly done.

Ramya Krishnan astonished me with her commanding performance in the movie. Her character felt very critical, real and I felt that it certainly is one of the most powerful female characters I've seen in Tollywood cinema for a while. Satyaraj was given a vital role and he always gives out the best in every movie he's in and it was a pleasure watching him perform.

Is SS Rajamouli is arguably the only director in India who is capable of making these type of big budget epic movies? Over the years, he gained a lot of trust and respect throughout India that made him one of the most popular directors in the country. And with a director who is sincere towards his work and with a lot of credibility under his belt, things would never go wrong and they never did (except for the story and screenplay). All the points I mentioned above about the performances, CGI, music, etc. would've never been astounding without Rajamouli and I'm sincerely humbled for the immense hard work that he put into this movie.

Nonetheless, Bahubali is surely a game-changer in Indian cinema and is unlike any other epic film you've seen before. The movie takes us to a whole new different world with its breathtaking visuals and impressive production work. We should be very grateful for Rajamouli for attempting this project that will remain as a special film in the history books.

-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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