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Blog posts : "samantha akkineni"

Seema Raja - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - “Unexciting Commercial Pot Boiler!

As expected, Director Ponram repeats the same formula with Seema Raja similar to what he had done in his previous two flicks with Siva Karthikeyan in the lead role. While his previous two films were at least entertaining to an extent, Seema Raja, on the other hand, was bland and boring cause Ponram had decided not to write anything fresh or intriguing to a rising star who trusted him for the third time. Like ‘Siruthai’ Siva for Thala Ajith Kumar, Ponram is for Siva Karthikeyan. That explains everything that I wanted to say.

So, the movie is all about Seema Raja (Siva Karthikeyan), 33rd Rajah of Singampatti, wealthy Zamindars during the pre-independent era, trying to win Kathadi Kannan (Lal) and his second wife Kaaleshwari (Simran) on a brawl over village market. The rest of the film explains how Seema Raja defeats them and marries his lady love Suthanthira Selvi (Samantha Akkineni).
 

Now, looking at the filmography of Siva Karthikeyan, comprising of 12 films, I would say he had played the same or similar role in more than half of the movies. Seems like Karthikeyan is tailor-made for the role of unemployed, lollygagger, roaming around the heroine, harassing her in the name of love and to be honest he does the role well and glorifies stalking. He even took stalking to a whole new level with his previous film ‘Remo’. Even though Siva Karthikeyan has been criticised in the past for promoting stalking in his films, the director while addressing ‘The News Minute’ has said who else can go behind the heroine instead of the hero and justifies the act.

By the way, what didn’t work with ‘Seemaraja’ is almost everything. The plot was an overly clichéd one. The screenplay tested my patience and after a long time during a movie I was looking at my watch every now and then, hoping for the movie to end soon. In addition to an already lengthy film, and making the enmity added a twenty-minute flashback sequence in which Karthikeyan appears as Amarendra Baahubali, which was absolutely unnecessary.

Even the entertainment factors in the movie such as Soori’s comedy didn’t provide any relief from the dreary state of the film except for few scenes. Songs in a Siva Karthikeyan film are usually a factor to look forward too but interestingly even the songs of this film had a repetition in their placement. An intro song, a song for stalking, a sad one when the heroine says ‘No’ for his eternal love, interesting isn’t it? 

Samantha Akkineni has been doing roles which didn’t have much importance, conventional, formulaic characters lately. For the first time in a while, I have seen an actress be a part of two movies releasing on the same day ('U Turn' being the other). Even though she had nothing much to do in ‘Seemaraja’, except for showing her brilliant wonderful Silambattam skills, 'U Turn' turned out to be a great attempt in her career.

With that being said, I don’t want to talk about anything else, any other supporting roles or technical department as this movie doesn’t require any more discussion. Seema Raja is a tedious watch. A big yawn! 

My Rating – 1.5/5 | Grade – D+ (A Hangover!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Nirmal Raj aka AK (@Nirmalraj2911)
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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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