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Blog posts : "vijay deverakonda"

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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NOTA - Honest Movie Review

‘Well done you f*cking politicians’, Vijay Deverakonda, the Southern Sensation of Tollywood, begins his journey in Tamil Cinema Industry in an exceptional way. He gets a dream debut with packed theatres and his fans whistling and cheering during his introduction scene.

Verdict - “Competently Made Political Satire!

Earlier, we have seen movies in which the main lead accidentally land in the Chief Minister’s position. Be it Shankar’s ‘Mudhalvan’ or Koratala Siva’s ‘Bharat Ane Nenu’, those movies are about how the protagonist takes forward the unexpected power he's given, and how he reforms the State. NOTA begs to be different. In spite of getting into the shoes of a Chief Minister, Varun (Vijay Deverakonda) is reluctant and acts as only rubber stamp before certain events change him. 

NOTA is not a full-fledged political film, the movie deviates to focus on the sub-plots, which cause an issue to the intensity of the film. It parodies every single important event in the political timeline of Tamil Nadu. Director Anand Shankar fearlessly satirizes the Government with his well-written screenplay and sharp dialogues. 

Vijay Deverakonda has already become a household name in Tamil Nadu, and the audience didn’t feel alien with him. They're elated, powerfully applauded and supported him. Devarakonda shined well as the accidental Chief Minister and performed his role proficiently. Yet, the movie doesn’t completely rely on him, as the supporting cast, Nasser, Sathyaraj and M. S. Bhaskar had significant characters to perform. Even though the subplots slow down the pace of the film, it didn’t have any unwanted duets to cause any mayhem or disruption.

Finally, NOTA will sure be well received by the Tamil audience and for the Telugu fans of Vijay Deverakonda, I am sorry as you guys would not be able to connect with this film and the scenes unless you had followed the Tamil Nadu politics from 2015. The film is a fearless attempt and a successful debut to The Deverakonda.

Welcome, Vijay Deverakonda!

My Rating – 3/5 | Grade – B (Worth a Watch!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Nirmal Raj aka AK (@Nirmalraj2911)
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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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Vijay Deverakonda's 'Taxiwaala' Teaser Trailer and Poster Launched!

After scoring one of the biggest hits of Tollywood last year with the trendsetting film 'Arjun Reddy', Vijay Deverakonda is all set to launch his upcoming sci-fi film 'Taxiwaala' directed by debutant Rahul Sankrityan and produced by SKN under the GA2 Pictures and UV Creations banners.

On Friday, the makers of the film released the first teaser trailer naming it "First Gear" as we've got to see Vijay Deverakonda driving a Hindustan Contessa doing burnouts with a visible excitement on his face. A first look poster was also released with the teaser.

As stated earlier, the film is a sci-fi thriller and revolves around a driver (played by Vijay), a cab and an experiment that goes awry. Also starring Priyanka Jawalkar and Malavika Nair as the female leads, Kerala born musician Jakes Bejoy will score the music for the film as it is scheduled to release later this year.

A Movie News Report by Team JFMF | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks

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