Retro Review - we present the reviews some of the films that offer great cinematic experience as if they are released now (currently). We present the content in such a way that we have just come out of the theatre and penned out our thoughts fresh. You can enjoy the reviews and relive the moments in a different way. And try to watch the films like they're new, once again.
It's been a long time since superstar Mahesh Babu truly experimented and now he joins hands with creative director Sukumar for the first time. Yes. We're talking about the highly anticipated summer release 1:Nenokkadine. Released amidst huge expectations the action entertainer turned out to be unlike what we expected. From the speculations that it's an Indianised version of the Millennium Trilogy to Mahesh and his kid son Gowtham playing father and son on screen, 1: Nenokkadine is in news for a long time. Let's see how this rare combination turned out.
Rockstar and his past
Gowtham is a rockstar. But he is haunted by an unimaginable nightmare in the form of a haunted dream. A kid (played by master Gowtham Krishna) is chased by a few goons in what is looking like woods. He runs for his life and many times escape from a certain death by a whisker. The film opens with Gowtham waking up from one such dream with a start.
A highly unimaginable intro to a superstar of a hero. He is troubled. Sweats. And injures his hand. Still, like a professional he is, he sings the chartbuster 'who are you' to a packed house. But Sukumar the director is known for his twisted screenplays surprises us once again. During the live performance, Gowtham is shot at with a gun by a mysterious person. Gowtham - a quintessential lead man - chases the killer and lo behold! Kills that man with a broken bottle. To our surprise, Gotham goes to the police station and surrenders.
Even as the policeman, played by Sayaji Shinde in his irritatingly-good-self tries to take hold of Gowtham, Sameera, a television journalist who follows Gowtham comes to his rescue. She plays a recording of the murder committed by Gowtham. In that footage Gowtham is shown fighting with an imaginary enemy. The murder is committed in his imagination. Gowtham is adamant that he has killed a non-Indian looking ponytail villain. The doctor who examines Gowtham tells that he has an abnormal mental condition.
It is revealed, our hero is suffering from a brain disorder resulting from 25% shortfall in grey matter in his brain! As a result he can’t tell reality from hallucination. It is revealed that the imaginary villain he killed was one of the three persons who murdered his parents. But he couldn't remember how his parents look. The doctor calls Gowtham ill. And he has no parents (how can a person be born without parents, eh doctor?). Now in the mother of all twists, it is revealed that the ponytail villain is real. And he's a criminal kingpin. He owns a pharma company and wants monopoly.
All this is a trap set by that ponytail villain? Is out hero really a mentally ill person? Is Sameera helping Gowtham or part of an elaborate plan set by the ponytail villain? Watch this masterfully constructed big-budget psychological action thriller starring superstar Mahesh.
Superstar’s acting masterclass
Mahesh stamps his authority as an actor after some time. He has been getting monotonous in his roles these days either with chatterbox comedy or as a sophisticated and rich hero. He has a gala time playing rockstar Gowtham in 1: Nenokkadine. In an unusually complex role he is brooding for the most part. Mahesh who is known for his smile smiles only a handful of times. But it is not with his smile or charms that he commands our attention.
His performance while showing his agony for not knowing his real his identity in this world and his longing for his lost parents is a masterclass in subtle performance. He is as charming and handsome as ever (like in Athadu). Great in action sequences. Rock solid in romantic moments (which are very few though). The interval scene is a creative genius of a moment by Sukumar. You have to watch it to believe such a scene is created in a Telugu film. Mahesh is at the top of his game in that portion.
Mahesh who is generally not known for his dances is energetic and elegant in dances. Especially in the western style melody You're My Love, his steps are superb. Our choreographers need to exploit his dancing talents. Kudos to Sukumar to present Mahesh both as a complete actor and a star. Watch out for his performance in the climactic portion. Your eyes will surely become wet. The much talked about scene where Mahesh and his son Gowtham appear in a single frame is sure to give you goosebumps. Gowtham is also good in his role.
Kriti Sanon is fantastic as a lead lady. She even dominated Mahesh's charisma in a few moments. After a long long time we have seen Mahesh pairing up with a heroine with whom he shared sparkling chemistry. Kriti has good acting chops. And we can say she's a great find. Pradeep Rawat, Kelly Dorjee (SPOILER: ponytail villain), and Nasser are great in their roles and add weight to the film.
Posani plays a routine role with a twist. Instead of his irritating comedy, he comes up with an innocent performance which makes us think of having an ally like him. Rest of the actors are good. Agent Sai Srinuvasa Athreya hero Naveen Polishetty has an extended cameo in a surprising role. He's good. Rest of the actors are good. Everyone is perfectly cast.
Sukumar comes up with a stunning screenplay and an out of the box narration. The way he opens the film is a masterstroke and brings us out of the slumber of watching many routine films with big stars these days. Though the film's runtime is long at neatly 3 hours, each and every scene is properly set like a meticulously built machine. Remove a single scene, the machine becomes useless. The first half has one surprise after another. The interval block is one for ages. We cannot think of another filmmaker comes up with such a sequence.
The second half starts sedately. But once the action shifts to London, the pacing gets back on to the track. The chase sequences are well choreographed. The action setpieces are superb (though the jumping on the buildings take an inspiration from Hollywood films). The climax is another surprise and then some. The movie prices once again why Sukumar is rated very high by even his fellow filmmakers. After a rustic drama like Rangasthalam, he's back to urban sophistication with aplomb.
The music by Devi Sri Prasad is pleasingly good. Aww Tuzho Mogh Korta is well picturised and You're My Love is the best song of the album. The background score is easily one of the best score of all time in Indian Cinema. The thematic score of the film is haunting. Every sound he created makes a big impact. The cinematography by Rathnavelu is world class. He created the right atmosphere for the mood of the film. The colours are muted but not unpleasingly so. The framing is superb and the lighting is inch perfect. The art direction is great. The locations are stunningly good and created the right character to the narration. The production values are first rate.
1: Nenokkadine is a truly international standard action thriller from Telugu and more so than Saaho. It could well have been promoted as a pan-India film. It comes as a pleasant surprise to Mahesh's fans and neutral audience alike. The complex screenplay and layered narration by Sukumar are not easy to follow but if you can get hold of the hero's plight and follow his character, you'll surely get an ultimate movie watching experience. Don't miss it at any cost. Theatrical watching is highly recommended.
Khelo Rating: 3.75 out of 5
Reviewed by: GitacharYa