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Check Review: Yeleti Fails To Checkmate Boredom
Chandrasekhar Yeleti is one of the original directors in Telugu Cinema to inherit the tag Creative Director. Leave aside the inspirations or limitless ingenuity of ideas, he is one of the few filmmakers in this century to believe in quality over quantity. This is the reason for his films gaining a cult following over the years despite the off-beat subjects and non-commercial execution. But after the extraordinarily tight Aithe, his next film Anukokunda Oka Roju lost steam in terms of narration flow.
The same has been happening ever since and he hasn't scored a blockbuster despite being in the industry for more than a decade and a half and is among the well respected filmmakers. His stories are grounded in reality and the protagonists are like our everyday people. The way he deals with his subjects oozes humanity. But for any work of art to click commercially, you need a structural reinforcement. Similar to a building, a work of art should have an underlying structure. And that structure must be reinforced before it is sent into the market.
After the critical acclaim and commercial failure his previous film, Manamantha, encountered, he's back with another unique subject. A story set in a jail. And has a Chess backdrop. And a protagonist who's a terrorist to be executed by hanging unto death. Will it work out? Or fizzle out like his previous well made but badly (read: non-commercial) executed films. Let's see with Nithiin's Check review.
Aditya is a youngster. And an untypical one at that. He's a terrorist and the film begins with the death sentence he received from the Court by hanging unto death. But as Nithiin is the hero, and it's a commercial film, he should have a flashback. That flashback is extracted through his interactions with various means. Rakul Preet Singh plays the role of a lawyer who's there to save him. Or through reminiscing. And in many ways. Why and how and if he became a terrorist really is the job of flashback.
In the flashback he has a lover played by Priya Prakash Warrier in her Best Launch into Cinemas as she herself had proclaimed during the promotions. There's a song between her and Nithiin where she looked utterly gorgeous. What about chemistry? Well it's too cute. What about her performance? Tiger Shroff will be proud. Well, if Oru Adaar Love couldn't prove the fact, this film proves it. She's an honored graduate of Tiger Shroff Academy of Acting.
Right! With the terrorist angle, the film comes to the present. To move the story forward, the director introduces a new character played by Sai Chand in his typical fashionable Avatar. Btw, forgot to tell you. Murli Sharma is the jailer and he's good as usual. Sai Chand teaches Aditya (if you forget by now, it's Nithiin) Chess. He plans to use this game as a means of attaining freedom. On the other hand, Rakul Preet fights for him in the court and when all attempts fail, she even tries to get pardon from the President.
What happens next is unguessable climax which is logically sound but derives mixed response from the audience.
Nithiin is more of an entertainer than an actor is a known fact. He's a star first. He's generally prone to overact in the lines of Pawan Kalyan which is typical of the way of real life youngsters of a couple of generations. He had to curb those inhibitions for this role and he's made to underplay the role. He did his best. But we certainly miss his exuberance. This should have been filled with a script brizzling with kinetic energy. But the director failed in this aspect.
Rakul Preet is near in her portrayal of the most crucial role in the film and she did well within her limitations. Sai Chand is his typical self. Sampat (the bad jailer in the latter part)) and a few actors who played senior officials played the template roles of Chandrasekhar Yeleti films and acted in those templatish ways. Murli Sharma is the best among the complete team and he didn't get that meaty role we expect him to play.
Writing and direction
The narration starts in an interesting manner but loses steam after the first 15 minutes. The flow gives us the idea of watching a movie with a difference. But we know how it's going to go down in terms of cinematic experience within the next few minutes with self indulgent filmmaking. The way the chess matches are intercut to the court scenes is a gem of a strategy if executed well. But chess is a game which lacks the kinetic energy needed for a motion picture. Yeleti is no Rajamouli in the sense that he makes everything understood by the laymen audience. Nor is he Sukumar to grasp the audience with raw emotions.
This made us feel like we're watching two films made by the same filmmaker - one good and the other pretty average. This detracts the audience from having a complete experience. The screenplay is similarly uneven. On one side we understand it could have been a top class film. On the other side we know that it's fizzling out. Unfortunate.
The music by Kalyani Malik is good. The song worked more because of the cute chemistry of the lead pair than because of its merits. But the background score is superb. It created a unified thread to the narration. Helped the audience to bear with the not so good sequences. The cinematography is terrific. The art department did a fantabulous job of creating the right atmosphere for the film. The editing is listless. But atleast consistent with the tone of narration. The production values are good.
Check your expectations before hitting the book button on the ticket selling sites. You'll enjoy the film for its own being. Else, it's not as good as you expect from a Yeleti film. Certainly not his best film. One time watch.
Rating: 2.25 out of 5
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