And then we know this.
But just a reminder. No police film in the world for the most part, and especially the Indian masala movies have reality in whatever way. But if the world of the officer... oh! Sorry Nag! I mean the world of the particular police officer is created with a consistent internal logic and is followed till the end, we will end up loving the film. With this in mind, let’s jump into the review of the first major Sankranthi release of Telugu Cinema post COVID-19 lockdown.
Ravi Teja is one of the biggest and unique assets to Telugu Cinema - a perfect mixture of mass heroism coupled with a lot of comic timing. Especially, we cannot find a similar actor and one who created his own genre in South Indian films (think of Akshay Kumar in Bollywood). But like everyone in the world, once he reached his peak in the late 2000s and early 2010s, he has seen a slide down the ladder. And all one remembers nowadays is the string of flops he’s going through. Obviously his graph has gone down.
But he’s a well loved actor (who doesn’t love an actor who gave a true voice (icon) the lower middle class urban youth) and in a way irreplaceable. This makes it painful to watch such an actor facing one box office failure after another. Selecting wrong subjects...? All right. It’s a cliche for anyone. But aren’t there any Telugu directors capable of handling Ravi Teja and his image and deliver a bit of a novelty? No. Not till his own mate Gopichand Malineni intervenes.
Krack! What a sound. The cracking of the bones of baddies. The elements that are and will be tormenting common people. We cannot hear such sounds in real life. But we’re criminally robbed of such luxury in cinemas thanks to the new generation of directors who are influenced by World Cinema. The mass audience are neglected. They’re simply kicked out of the collective perceptions and filmmaking horizons of the new age directors.
Gopichand Malineni breaks the mould now. The sound is so orgasmic that... even after such painfully excruciating delays and show cancellations, the audience flocked to theatres - all the while following the... the pandemic induced restrictions. Man! Nothing beats watching a slickly made mass film with whistles and hooting sounds from the audience. It’s a collective brotherhood that makes us believe that the world is normal and we can do anything.
The show starts.
Ravi Teja enters in the most original intro in a long time.
Now let me tell you the story.
Pothuraju Veera Shankar is a ruthless cop but we get a glimpse of his ruthlessness only after a bit of screen time as his family life is shown in an effectively adorable way. Just like the peace before the arrival of Godzilla. And the slow but steady beginning is essential in creating the right mood for what is about to come.
During his journey as a Circle Inspector (DCPs and ACPs are too classy yo!) he rubs three criminals in the wrong way. Currently he’s busy with Katari Krishna. When a villain is as ruthless as the hero and is menacing enough, the game gets more interesting. And here, Samuthirakani excels once again. For the second time in two Sankranthi seasons in Telugu Cinema. Remember his memorably non-memorable outing in Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo?
One of the other two bad gang heads to taste our hero’s menace are - the non-creatively christened Jayamma. Varalakshmi Sarathkumar in a snooze inducingly boring stereotypical role that has become her trademark these days. But such lady villain roles are relatively rare in Telugu. And thankfully, the director gave her an interesting thread. But it is the characterisation and the scenes that saved the show. Not her performance. She needs to select her subjects well.
The final one is Yashin Bhatkal. A terrorist! Oh! Lord save us! But this thread is also handled well by the director.
So, we all know what happens after the interval, given that the first half is a mass fest with plenty of heroic elevations and goosebump moments for all sorts of audience. Of course, who doesn’t want to watch a perfectly etched mass movie in theatre environment?
Ravi Teja is never out of form. It’s his directors who were. But Gopichand Malineni has come up with a perfect role for Ravi Teja. And boy! The mass Maharaj aced it despite looking a little bit dull and aged. Don’t worry. A good success brings back our beloved Chantigadu back to physical peak again with glow in the face. The dialogue delivery is as good as ever. The on-screen energy is intact. His histrionics in some of the key portions prove why he’s not just a one-genre hero but a versatile actor who can don any role.
Shruthi Haasan cannot get a better comeback in Telugu than this film. Those who leaves theatres in after the first half (the sorts of those who are infested with World Cinema bug), will miss what a meaty role she’s given. She’s okay with her performance. And in a mandatory but completely unnecessary comment on her looks, we have to say... she’s lost her charm.
It is Samuthirakani who steals the show. This will be the second time in two years that a negative character of a Sankranthi film makes a huge impact on pop culture. We had Valmiki in 2020. And now we have Katari Krishna. Then Murli Sharma. And now Samuthirakani. Saying more than this will be offensive. Just watch the on-screen confrontation between him and Ravi Teja.
There’s a special Vetapalem gang and their cruelty is shown in a spine chilling manner by the director. The other actors just to add up the numbers on screen (it’s a big hero film, no?). But they are decent in their performances. Not roles. Remember this. Ravishankar, Sudhakar, Vamsi Chaganti, Devi Prasad, and Chirag Jani are good. And delivered what was expected of them.
Writing and direction
The story of the film is as old as Indus Valley civilisation. But the novelty factor comes in the form of narration with fresh characterisations and surprisingly well executed known twists. The screenplay is typical first half-second half affair. The interval fight is one for ages and will be talked for a long time in Ravi Teja lore.
The graph goes down a bit in the second half (as our filmmakers haven’t mastered the art of perfect screenplay) but the second half of the second half comes back to life with a couple of great moments. The final two action sequences are great. The movie ends on a very satisfying note.
The music of the film is a typical Thaman affair. Songs are good and troll worthy as we have seen in the lead up to the release. The background score is a big asset for the film. Thaman is next only to Mani Sharma in this department. The cinematography by G. K. Vishnu is first rate. The atmosphere (specific to the genre) is created well with the help of the art department which has done a neat job.
Editing is passable. The production values are extravagant. Spending this much on a lead actor who’s terribly out of box office form shows not only the guts of the makers but acts as a testament to the worth of the actor called Ravi Teja.
Krack comes as a breath of fresh air to all those who have to starve themselves with Malayalam non-masala films during the pandemic. Just go and watch the film. The enthusiasm of the mass audience is infective. Just leave inhibitions in a locker room. Let’s give a routine genre a chance to survive by reinventing itself.
- Perfectly crafted entertainment
- Ravi Teja on fire (literally and figuratively)
- Samuthirakani’s star turn as a villain
- Well executed hero elevations
- Action sequences
- Dip in the first half of the second half
- Routine complaints like lack of logic and cinematic liberties
Khelo Rating: 3 out of 5