Harish Shankar’s Duvvada Jagganadham (2017) Movie Review
Movie Review: Duvvada Jagannadham
Star Cast: Allu Arjun, Pooja Hegde, Rao Ramesh, Supreeth, Tanikella Bharani, Murali Sharma, Vennela Kishore and Bunty.
Music Composed by Devi Sri Prasad
Cinematography by Ayananka Bose
Edited by Chota K Prasad
Directed by Harish Shankar
Censor Certificate: UA & Runtime: 156 Minutes.
After watching this latest film from Harish Shankar, who already has 5 masala films to his name as a director, I was honestly thinking what could be the reason behind attempting such a pulihora, all seen before kind of film by him, at such a monstrous range. Because even when there have been a number of films made on the same point in the “socially responsible person with uncontrollable temper” in the past, the makers felt no harm in trying it once again, take the audience for granted.
Jagannadham (Allu Arjun) a priest at Satyanarayanapuram Agraharam, and satisfies his “vigilante justice” as DJ with the help of constable Purushottam (Murali Sharma). Then this Agraharam guy becomes half-baked Arjunudu – half warm Krishnudu – and – Smithers with love, and half still cold-and-calculating societal values. That’s when Royala Naidu (Rao Ramesh) catches up with DJ, and makes unbearable hoof spraining twist to cleverly punish the vigilante DJ, merciless killer, bringing two clairvoyant persons together and settling the final scores.
A director achieves his pinnacle when he innovates with the content he is given and uses the reserves to the best possible effect. S.S. Rajamouli is successful not because he uses the cliches but he does what he knows to the best of his ability and never lets his arrogance come in the way of making a movie. Here, Harish seems to believe in some elements like creating a Brahmin character in his earlier movies. Also in not trying to use any strong logic or motivation behind what hero does ever. In his movies, if the hero finds a girl attractive then he will romance her whoever he might, whatever he does, he will react the same way. Also, in his movies, heroines are showpieces, they’re there to give the audience a good ‘show’ and also let hero sing some erotically romantic songs.
He follows all those ‘routines’ again in his Duvvada Jagannadham as well. But he looses touch with the script as he writes his hero as a hero just because he needs to be one. Why a Brahmin Cook reacts aggressively to a crime? Why a boy brought up in conservative environment finds it hard to just turn his face away and walk on the road like his parents and others do? Just because he is born aggressive, he reacts. How lame that sounds? In Gentleman, the hero needed his friend to commit a suicide, his mother burn herself alive, before he becomes a thief. In Tagore, the professor needed to loose his family before he decided to deliver lessons to society about the ill-effects of bribery. In Sivaji, hero needed to loose all his properties and money to react against the government violently. In Aparichitudu, he needed to have an inherent frustration that built up due to laziness and don’t care attitude of government officials before he reacted the way he did. To make the long discussion short, a vigilante needs a reason, a motivation for the things he does.
Also, Harish Shankar tries to find an excuse to insert a song in the narrative rather than let it organically ask a song. He tries to calculate the length of the movie and then plan an interval sequence, a comedy sequence, an action sequence and half-boiled motivation scene for already vigilante to take on another case, which he would have done in any case. In Azad, with the same sequence a hero took birth here, a hero just goes on another tour to exact his kind of justice. Even the climax that the director will be different appears highly amateurish. For an act like that to pass you need to create enough suspension of belief and also give some foreshadows to the audience to prepare them for such a finale. Rather this looks like a forced attempt to create something new at the last moment rather than it being organically developed from the beginning. In short, characters even in Masala movies go through a journey and if you feel they don’t need to then you end up making a mockery like Duvvada Jagannadham. Also, watch Rudraveena, if you want to know how an inherently rebellious young boy can grow into a justice seeker fighting against his family, himself and against the norms of the society as well. Maybe creating something that is close to Rudraveena in commercial angle would have helped DJ to look unique.
Allu Arjun tries hard to make the Brahmin cook character believable but he overacts in those scenes and to make it typical the makers and actor tried to induce elements like him eating pan every time but the very details are the ones we get irritated with on repeat use throughout the runtime. Pooja Hegde sets the screen on fire, but she gets nothing much to do in the film as per the given role. Rao Ramesh tries to deliver some serious moments in otherwise unintentional comedy film. Posani Krishna Murali as Politician Pushpam has simply lost the novelty playing the identical kind of roles again and again. Rama Raju plays it fine and so does Harish Uttaman in his few scenes. The rest of the Agraharam cast are perfectly fine in their limited characterizations.
In the music department, Devi Sri Prasad has a forgettable soundtrack and the background score does tend to become loud and a lot repeated score too unnecessary for simple sequences. Cinematography by Ayananka Bose in the movie had a character. For the first time in a normal routine commercial film, a director of Photography tried to be a character with changing environments and scenes. But at times it looks highly dull and at times it gets brighter than ever. Maybe Ayananka tried to follow the script to the tee. Editing by Chota K Prasad could have been better, the film lags behind with few drawbacks like loosing grip in the screenplay, missing logics, and a weak second half. The production values of the movie are faultless but the VFX looks really pale. In such a big production you can’t accept such work in any case.
When a force like Sri Krishna needed Arjuna to carry out his plan to win the Mahabharata war, many thought he might just needed someone to carry out his dirty work as he is a God. Well, such is the feeling DJ brings to you. It is like Arjuna needed a Krishna so he found one rather Krishna finding his Arjuna to carry out the ‘Justice’ War he started long time ago. The characters don’t have any depth or clear cut motivation to carry out their plans and hence their actions seem pointless throughout the runtime.
While Harish Shankar wants to sell his product by hook or crook rather than let the project find it’s place among the likable commercial films, his formula of cliches doesn’t work at all in any context. He tries hard to make people laugh at his jokes, try to create interesting sequences but none of them innovate and thus we see a boring and bad film that moves on expected lines at every given moment. If you think this is the next scene ten minutes then the exact same scene will come and go by even though you wish otherwise. Such lazy writing doesn’t deliver any message to society my dear Harish sir.
Survi Review: 1.5/5