Familiar and yet charming-Soggade Chinni Nayana


SOGGADE.jpg

Soggade Chinni Nayana is a film whose sensibilities you can unabashedly call Indian at heart. You see the smell of the humour, a delicious regional spin to it, supernatural elements surrounding temples, souls, handpicked from many tales we all grew up hearing and witnessing; the mix expectedly strikes an instant chord. And to top it, this package is firmly lead by an actor, Nagarjuna, who’s increasingly getting less-conscious of his presence and yet surer of his choices. That’s why, you see the humour, action, subtle horror blending like wildfire. All the lush green farms, the motu sarasam, the banana leaves in this rural backdrop greet you to a meal that you’re not yet ready to outgrow.

There’s a lot of ANR-inspiration that the lead actor has quoted recently for this role of Bangarraju, but his self-made panache does the trick here. You don’t find sequences where he’s trying to play beyond his belt, knowing where to go overboard, act coyish, and coming to his own to connect the emotional strings. He invariably plays true to his on-screen casanova image, his flirtatious doings with multiple actresses bearing naughtiness every now and then ensure a heartfelt grin.

On the making front, the film reiterates how strong storytelling more often than not makes up for an okayish story. Here, if you need a one-liner, it’s about a man’s soul making an earthly return to solve an issue. There comes the supernatural side of it, a socio fantasy turn, a yama, a hell-like setting, a muhurtam of a sivaratri, the film is well aware of its limits and the crowd it wants to target. There are parts you would call tentatively slow, old fashioned. But, contemporary relevance is never what debutant maker Kalyan Krishna’s aims at.The film’s twists are still preserved for the right places, some for the first hour, the intermission and the last hour too. However, Soggade relies more on the beauty of the little moments, especially in the Ramyakrishna-Nagarjuna thread, where the romance is pure, organic and chirpy.

The aftertaste of the film lies in your apetite to tolerate the toast it gives to Nagarjuna’s ‘oh-I-am-a-dream-boy’ image. Well, he is deserving of it, but the makers keep pushing it more and more. He makes the girls do a cat walk, works out a mehndi design for them and has a baggage of one-liners to make them fall for him. It’s nice to see the confidence with which a 54-year-old enacts these parts.

That’s where too, the film gets into a shell of its own, only to thankfully emerge out of it later. You’d have wished for the film to end better for all the efforts put in. Although the male lead seems to be walking away with the honours at the end of the day, Soggade shows our need to celebrate Ramyakrishna’s presence more, be it for the every ounce of glamour she showcases or that bit of intensity and sincerity in the climax. Lavanya Tripathi definitely looks more assured after Bhale Bhale, the other girls Hamsa Nandini and Anasuya too add up to the feminine charm of the movie. Brahmanandam’s part comes with a reason, but the lead actors do the humour bit better. It suddenly feels fresh to see a full-on village drama with sparkling dialogues, peppy music, bullock-carts and the rangolis. This festive trip is a timely shift from the urbane.

Rating: ***.5

Advertisements

A beautiful portrait without substance….


 

endukante premanta

The ultimate challenge of a filmmaker is to make his work look believable, regardless of its pointlessness. Endukante Premanta, in that case takes too many cinematic liberties to an extent that a spectator doesn’t care to believe them. This Karunakaran venture is an immense delight for the eyes, which sadly can’t suffice a product that lacks clarity. It isn’t its inspiration from the English flick “Just Like Heaven” that mattered, but it’s inability to mix entertainment with philosophy is what, that disappoints on an entirety.

               The film begins with a reincarnation saga of two unsatisfied souls who aren’t able to get together for various reasons, only to unite and realise their love in their next birth. Ram and Tamanna are portrayed as conservative students in the first birth with the latter’s inhibitions in entering into a relationship and are provided  contrasting characterisations in their next birth. They are often placed in tricky situations and the story deals with the duo’s tactics in outsmarting them and ultimately getting together.

                 The basic flaw in the film is essentially the nurturing of love between the leads. Every time we see Ram helping Tamanna, it looks mere sympathy and love is nowhere to be found. Though the story lacks logic, it’s puzzling to see an established director  failing to connect crucial links in the screenplay. Not all is bad with the film though, the clean humour is something to watch out for, especially the second half which provides ample entertainment.

                 Ram’s energy in his dances and desperation to make this film work is visible from the very first frame. He is at ease and consistent throughout the film never overplaying his character.  However, we never get to witness anything unique from his previous portrayals. Tamanna is just about passable and tries too hard to get her act right. Shinde, Anu Hassan, Suman have stereotypically designed roles. Though Brahmanandam’s comic act works once again, the redundancy in his characterisations is one factor he should take a note of.        

              Technically, this is one film, the director would be proud of his team. The quality cinematography makes every frame look like a portrait. The grand locales in Paris do well to aid the film’s stylishness. ‘Nee Chupule’ and ‘Chill Out’ stand out among the compositions from G.V.Prakash Kumar ,who does a neat job with the background score too. Karunakaran as a director is bearable and his screenplay could have been crisper to handle a subject such as this.

            Endukante Premanta in simple terms is, strictly a one-time watch. Though the performances try to save a sinking ship, they can’t rise above the loopholes. Keep your brains aside and be patient, if you are to enjoy this one. Kicking a coke bottle up your face isn’t love baby!!

My Take:  2.5/5

Betrayal in style!!


Mankatha

“Strictly No Rules” as the tag line says it, Mankatha is one unpredictable story with twists like an irregular swing of a pendulum. Ajith revels as a king maker continuing his tryst with action thrillers with an audacious screen presence and an enviable ease. This Indian “Italian Job” style drama is smart, witty and keeps you guessing. Venkat Prabhu’s gutsy attempt pays off with an edge of a seat screenplay keeping a spectator engrossed constantly.

                     The film encircling the betting mafia has characters trying to outsmart each other with their greed to earn quick money with little effort.  Their attempts however collapse like a chicken waiting to be ripped apart. Prudvi(Arjun) leads a special squad assigned to unearth people behind the illegal dealings. Vinayak is a 40+ suspended police officer , fearless in his methods. He has a girlfriend Sanjana(Trisha) whose father Arumugam holds a position of influence in Mumbai. A team of four plan to rob a sum of 500 crores from the former. Vinayak makes an astounding entry into the troop. The film then unravels the true intentions behind the characters backed by the cat and mouse chases wherein each of them attempts to flee with the money.

                   The biggest challenge of a fast paced thriller is to sustain momentum and remain mysterious which Mankatha does  in equal amounts leaving out a few amateurishly directed sequences.  One needs to appreciate the directorial vision in the pre-interval scene where Ajith idealizes his plan for the escape. The chases are supremely designed and the so called filmi clichés are well handled. The first half drags initially but the director packs a sucker punch in the latter part which obviously aids the film.

                   The performances are not as memorable as one would have expected. Trisha for instance appears in a listless role that could have so easily been labeled as a special appearance. Laxmi Rai has more screen space than Trisha, but not even half the charm of the former. Another set of ladies don’t get their due too, this time Anjali and Andrea. The character of the IIT’ian hacker  though not completely original, is well portrayed. The other trio is passable. Ajith is sparkling. His charisma is such that you are left bewildered by the bluntness with which he says “This is my f**king game”. Arjun marks a surprise comeback and is extremely convincing as a tough officer. The other characters don’t deserve much of a mention.

                    This, being Venkat Prabhu’s magnum opus doesn’t have the emotional base of his earlier works as he centers the film around a single character who hogs the limelight. Technically though, the film is sound backed by some neat camera work. The picturisation of the song with Ajith and Trisha is extremely well conceived. The dialogues just about fit the bill. The background score is unique. The songs are pretty much a disappointment.

                  The basic aspects that go in favour of the film are its theme, action stunts and Ajith. This is not  a ‘classic’ by any stretch of imagination but has enough elements that can surprise audiences. This is no rocket science. Go watch the kingmaker turn the tides!!Velayadu Mankatha!

Force is a lethargic ride……..


After Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan having packed a punch with their cop tales Dabanng and Singham, John Abraham’s earnest performance in Force unfortunately isn’t good enough to strike a note. This being a season of remakes, Force inspired from the Gautham Menon directorial ‘Kakka Kakka’ doesn’t have the courage nor the intensity to impact a spectator. We are left witnessing a work that’s aesthetically spectacular let down by noticeable flaws in the direction department. Nishikant Kamat is no match to Gautham Menon who was able to derive extraordinary emotions through simple situations. However, the screenplay has been smartly adapted with a certain slickness action films demand, that makes Force a decent watch, if not a perfect one.

                Yashvardhan leads a group of four committed officers who are determined to wipe the drug mafia raging in the nation. Each person in the lot is backed by a family who undeniably are a weakness in their thankless profession. Yashvardhan is an exception to the above only until he encounters Maya who sweeps him off his feet completely. She empowers a new lease of fresh air in his life that has been an implicit definition of passion,dedication and commitment for his profession. In his life that’s intricately coated with danger from all quarters, Maya makes her space. The basic story deals with the conflicts between Yash’s personal and professional life.

               The film isn’t however a direct copy of the Tamil version. The backdrop undergoes a change, the pace improves at the cost of an emotional connect with a spectator. One never feels the pain that Yash had to face at various junctures. Blame it on John Abraham’s muscles which more often than not makes up for the majority of the screen space or the climax that’s extensive, Force doesn’t have  soul. The villain’s character in an action film needs to strike equanimity with the film’s lead to make the encounters engrossing. The shortcomings are visible in both their characters which never get a chance to depict their supremacy. Even though they manage to do, you better prepare yourself for a compromise. Genelia’s romantic track with John has shades of the role Asin had portrayed in Ghajini. Despite the similarity, Genelia’s performance is fresh and genuine. She however needs to come out of her comfort zone of being simply being the cute next door girl which could turn the tide against her in the future.

                  One definitely feels the lack of a powerhouse performer in an emotionally draining drama such as this. The characters are restricted to be eye candy which tells a thing or two of the artistes . An exquisite music score by Harris Jayraj coupled with Javed Akthar’s lyrical brilliance is left criminally wasted where Khwabon Khwabon and Chahoon Bhi are easily the best picks. Ratif Sheikh’s dialogues are really catchy and evoke heartfelt humour as well as the seriousness that the situations had compelled. The lines such as “ Neend Ki Dawai Mat Dena, Varna Hosh Mein Aane Ke Baad Tumhe Pehle Maar Doonga” speak for themselves. The editing is neat, the locations, picture perfect and the camera work is a humble synonym of brilliance. Nishikant Kamat could have definitely done his homework better where pictorial charisma dominates the emotional bonding of the characters whose casting too has a sense of mediocrity.

            The script of Force has a stamp of success marked on it.  With the shortcomings of the film notwithstanding, it still has enough substance to back it up. This might mark the beginning of a crucial phase for John Abraham’s capabilities to come to the fore. Though his performance isn’t as accomplished as the original southern version played by Surya, it definitely has a sense of maturity in comparision with his early ‘Dhoom’ days. Force is a gorgeous dish whose ingredients sadly aren’t well garnished. The couple of hours are a mixed bunch of magnificence and emotional lethargy.

My Take: 2.75/5

(Picture Courtesy: www.bollycurry.com)

Honesty with an intensity…….


Films in simple terms have to ensure a vision to a writer’s desperation to express a story. Full length feature films always score an advantage over short films with respect to the emotional connect as it gives the maker behind it, enough time to explore all his characters. Short films in that sense have to be smartly packaged in their quest to appease audiences. They need to be slick, crisp built with a proper foundation to the story. An aspiring film maker in his own right, Sai Charan’s effort to ensure a technical extravaganza is inherently visible in his short film titled ‘The Assassin’.

              The tale embarks with one of the main protagonists being introduced as an agent of a drug dealer who acts as a messenger to deliver the same. With a railway track as a backdrop, he deals with his clients equipping them with a certain code to ensure privacy in his dealings. He however mistakes a normal person to be his client who utters the same code by the customer who has to take the goods. But a 108 year history beckons the two. They have a connection and they are on a mission. What’s so significant in their past for them to reunite after a century’s gap? Do they have the character in them to conquer the final frontier? You witness every scene unlocking a new mystery as you gear up for an intense drama.

           The film is clearly a product of inspiration, one feels. Every character has a specific intention who poster their intentions to seal their destiny. As the titles beam in, the background score catches your ears instantly. It provides a solid start to a film that’s consistent in its narration. The jaw dropping intensity fascinates you for the film’s entirety backed up by an intriguing climactic sequence. The characters have enough credibility invested in a script constructed with a strong emotional base. However it isn’t a film that’s entirely flawless, but yes, they do appear minor in totality.

          The flashback episode is easily the film’s biggest strength besides it’s technical grandeur. The lead up to the flashback however isn’t memorable. The emotions of the actors Tejas and Raj, failed to speak when it mattered the most. The dialogues of Rajiv lack the seriousness that’s adept for the film’s mood. The camera work is just about neat. The response of the audiences will certainly depend on the fact whether they are ready to neglect the inspirations borrowed, glimpsing the product as an original one. Charan’s work is yet very commendable that he never let a viewer relax at crucial junctures of the work which is an asset to any storyteller.  For a first film, Charan has depicted encouraging signs. His edits have been no short of gloriousness that catapults the film to another dimension. It’s just that, his aides could have complemented him on a better level in polishing an otherwise stable film.

My Take: 3.25/5

Thumbs up to the entire team!

Readers can watch the film here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXj805bMXoY

A subtle tribute to a humble legend………


ANR

 

Born in an era when the nation was cringing under the British rule, from a time where inland letters were the only medium for communication for a common man to a time where a facebook status and a twitter update raises a roar, he has seen it all. He is a person who has seen, learnt ,experienced life for almost 9 decades. If an act needed a difference between dramatics and melodramatics, there would be no better person than Akkineni Nageswara Rao for an apt description. Entering the film industry with no Godfather behind him, he had uplifted his penchant for art through a career that holds no bar with any. Today we see him celebrate his 87th birthday without much fanfare or ado at his residence complementing well with his undeniable guileless lifestyle.

         image       A passenger who was earning his living through a few plays, carrying his luggage while accommodating himself in a first class compartment was traced by Ghantasala Balaramiah, a reverred filmmaker of that juncture in Telugu cinema. The former was just planning to make a film titled Seeta Rama Jananam where he was hunting for suitable candidates who could enact the roles of Ram and Laxman. The passenger was once at shock when the former gave him a casual glance and asked him to play the lead in the same. The decision meant that he had to bid adieu to stage arts at once. A direction emerged all of a sudden in a diffused path for the passenger whom by now you would have guessed it to be ANR. As we know, rest is history.

           Acting, as legends say is more about reacting to the situation rather than enacting the character. The spontaneity neither can be trained nor taught. ANR is someone who believes that one must imprint his/her uniqueness in a role to ensure an emotional connect with the spectator. Becoming a darling of the masses through the adaptation of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel in Devadasu alongside Savithri, he built a career that forged in multiple genres as years progressed.  The actor’s acid test began when NTR stormed the scene with all the charisma surrounding him. He still stood firm to his ground and in fact understood his limitations and began picking roles that wouldn’t give a reason for an unbiased film lover to compare between the two. In fact both created parallel paths for themselves such that both needn’t had to overlap with each other in their own domain. However it remains a fact that no industry has ever seen a combination of  two contemporary stars act together such as these two. They had paired up in 15 films in diverse arenas which till date is a record for any industry.

          If it was the 1950’s dominated by mythology and folk lore tales such as Mayabazar, Missamma, Appu Chesi Pappu Koodu that enabled him a solid foundation, it’s definitely the 60’s that bound him with the family audiences more than ever. He invested all his fruits in setting up Annapurna Studios that was a principal move in making some of the most memorable films ever crafted in Telugu cinema. Films imagehowever commercial have a small token of responsibility in ensuring a social message. His films such as Sudigundalu, Maro Prapancham despite bombing at the box office earned him commendable respect from the audiences and the critics alike. The 1960’s marvelled him to deliver exquisite performances in works  such as Mooga Manasulu, Gundamma Katha, Doctor Chakravarthy and the classical Krishnarjuna Yuddham. Surviving the storms from many quarters, he had completed a magnificent couple of decades that he could be proud about.

        1970’s was a period of change. While Hindi films saw Amitabh Bachchan making his footsteps in the industry in that period, the Telugu industry witnessed the same phase through Sobhan Babu, Krishna and Chandramohan. So, it turned out to be a critical chapter in the careers of NTR and ANR. Both of them had developed their own fan bases with their films but they needed to prove their versatility yet again. ANR assessed his strengths smartly and proceeded with films that were populist yet socialistic in their narration. Dasara Bullodu, Prem Nagar, Andala Ramudu and Secretary were the ones that helped him polish his coveted status in his home industry. The consistency in his projects definitely wasn’t the same during this juncture as the actor had to consume a lot of time in experimenting with his choices leaving him with less commercial success on hand. The 1980’s began with a bang for the star with the likes of Premabhishekam turning out to be a massive commercial success. Megha Sandesam which narrated the melancholic life of a writer bagged 4 national awards ringing a note to the wagging tongues which had questioned ANR’s adaptability with the changing times. One must however confess, this was indeed the time where his feasibility as a solo star took a heavy beating. However, the actor tuned himself accordingly being a part of soul clinching efforts such as Sitharamaih Gari Manavaralu and Suthradharulu. On the whole he has acted with actresses such as Savitri, Krishnakumari,  Jayasudha, Sridevi, Anjali Devi, Bhanumathi, Jamuna, Shavukaru Janaki and acheived equal acclaim when paired with each of these powerhouse performers. From an L.V.Prasad to Bapu, A Dasari to K. Vishwanath, he’s worked with astute directors giving his career a diverse dimension in every phase. His next project will see him portray the role of Valmiki in Bapu’s magnum opus with Balakrishna and Nayanatara, Sri Rama Rajyam.

 image                  Besides his film journey, the actor can be considered lucky to have survived this long. In the early 70’s, the actor had to undergo an open heart surgery which left him only a few years to live. A medical miracle has seen him live with the same exuberance till date. It’s still a mystery to many laudable doctors to witness such an event. Probably life borrowed a thing or two from his ventures and injected them into actuality. The actor labels his wife as his living inspiration. He’s seen and conquered many pitfalls in a swinging career spanning 6 decades in the film industry alone. He’s seen his son, grandson continue his famous legacy with élan. He hasn’t allowed their life to suffer under a shadow of a super star. Nagarjuna had to climb an RTC bus each day to reach his college everyday. Not a day went by , where he had skipped this routine. He attributes difficulties as his best teacher in his 87 years spent on the earth. He wanted his off springs to learn from the same. What more does one require from a life that has seen every emotion with such intricate depth? One needn’t be a film lover to appreciate ANR, one just can be a human to be inspired.

 

(Picture Courtesy: www.telugucinemastills.com)

When emotions reign over sensibilities..


Swathi Kiranam Telugu Mp3 Songs Free  Download

Passion is one aspect that drives an individual to perform upto his capabilities. The preferences might vary from person to person but  firm determination is the essential criterion that separates the winners from the rest. While a common man blames the situation for his present status, legends overcome every barrier and challenges posted in front of them to emerge champions. If talent opens their first door to success, their work ethics help them unveil the other doors on the long run. Their dire desire to do justice to the field they’ve chosen scores more than the fame they are offered with. But, the character test for such success begins rightly there. Their ability to sustain the respect provided to them takes them to the next stage. Inspiration is one significant reason that helps to continue the consummate legacy in life that the master’s were adored for. There isn’t a better situation for a master if his disciple outshines himself. But what if insecurities turn catastrophic for the master ? Does self denial of talent result in consumption of jealousy? Swatikiranam is a film that explores this sensitive subject with astute clarity. K. Vishwanath chooses music as a backdrop to convey his compelling story that boasts of sincere performances amplified with a resounding music score by K.V.Mahadevan to mark an end of the 90’s era where films essentially suffered without being able to cope up to the challenges presented by the growing prominence of  television.

                            Anantarama Sharma is a larger than life classical singer who is flowered with praises from every corner.  He commands an authority such that there’s not a single event in the town that proceeds without the singing stint of the same. His respect surmounts to such a level that there’s not a single musician who could challenge his credentials. Sarada is the better half and a humbler counterpart helping her husband tower high peaks in life, both on the musical and the mental count. Gangadhar is a child prodigy who literally grows with music amidst a poor family background. His enchanting voice propels him to great heights at a young age. Quite a while before,the child is playful,happy and satisfied with his life crooning melodies with his pals dancing around the lakes with the chilly breeze teasing him. His parents however motivate him to contemplate high regarding his interest towards music. Life changes for the child from being a random street boy to a reverent singer whose achievements go way beyond in describing the capabilities for his age. The conflict begins when Anantarama Sharma feels small in comparision with the chap. He can’t digest the fame the young lad has acquired in such a small timeframe.  His finesse in the same field has taken him such a long while to seal such honour. He feels let down that his expertise in the craft couldn’t match the much acclaimed flair of the newbie. The story from now confronts with the realities that the experienced campaigner had to face in his career. Will his heart melt with time or will his insecurities get the better of him? How will the child accept such a devastating feeling from his established master? Your senses are drawn in for a stimulating drama that distinctively appalls you for its natural and a simple portrayal of the extremities that human emotions can reach.

                      K.Vishwanath’s fascination with themes surrounding art began since the classic Shankarabharanam. His films such as Sagarasangamam, Swarnakamalam help him complete an uncompromising trilogy that beautified and amplified the portrayal of dance and music to another level. This film unlike the others is more out of emotion rather than any art form. I say this despite acknowledging the fact that the film’s biggest strength is its music. Its basically for the reason that the film could have set itself in any backdrop for its depiction of the story. But it turns out that for the director had felt the music is the best possible platform for exploiting the content to its best.  His repertoire is visible with his ease in un-complicating his characters that never let the film touch exaggeration. The gentle strokes of humour that we experience in our daily life is skillfully woven into the narrative. Childhood depiction which has nowadays become so hackneyed is such a treat to relish with ,if imbibed with maturity.

 

   

        If such minute details aren’t enough to describe the charm of the film, one definitely needs to have a word on the performances. Mammooty as the master commands respect for the  very basic fact of him dubbing for this role. Another credible aspect that he needs to be appreciated for is that the actor could have easily done 2 or 3 Malayalam films at the same time instead of opting for a character driven plot. His performance has every attribute that we would ascribe for the word ‘dignity’. Radhika is subtle in her character much contrasting and distinct to her ‘manly’ roles in her earlier works. She is magnificent and Vishwanath deserves credit for extracting  such a gentle side of the actress for this film much similar to her earlier venture with the director, Swatimutyam. Master Manjunath who packed a punch with his wit and innocence in televised version of  Malgudi Days pulls in a heartening performance that undoubtedly uplifts the film at crucial junctures. Jayanti, Dharmavarapu Subramanyam, Sakshi Ranga Rao, Janaki and Ananth form an ensemble cast who also play their part with great composure.  Jandhyala’s dialogues are once again impeccable that sets the standards high for such quality lines that are soul stirring. Vani Jayram passes her acid test as a singer with a flamboyant  yet a sweet voice that aptly suits the child which went on to see the former winning a National Award for the song ‘Anathi Neeyara’.

              The film projects the quality of Telugu cinema at its best. As a an avid film watcher, I can’t do much but crib over the fact of today’s filmmakers in Telugu of hardly matching the class the ones of the yesteryears. I just hope that filmmakers such as Sekhar Kammula, Gautam Menon,Trivikram who’ve exuded hope do the needful for a bright future of Telugu Cinema.

My Take: 4/5