Star Cast: Sai Dharam Tej, Prasanna, Mehreen Pirzada, Satyam Rajesh and Kota Srinivasa Rao
Written by Kalyan Varma Dandu, Sai Krishna, Vamsi Balapanuri and BVS Ravi
Produced by Krishna
Music Composed by Thaman S
Cinematography by K V Guhan
Edited by Madhu and S R Sekhar
Censor Certificate: U & Runtime: 136 Minutes
“A soldier is more important to not just fight at the border but within the country to save general public from atrocities“
Popularly the above-mentioned statement is what RSS follow as a principal. They are not just culture savers but also people who are supposed to talk against crime in general. To make each and every family a strict opponent of every atrocity committed in the society, this organization is started. Even though some misguided conceptions and over the endorsement of old school principles made them too unidimensional but they are based on foundations of human protection and love for freedom as a voice than just people with sticks to hit out anyone that speak against their will. They are not rowdies or goons who come for your money. So, using such a background for the hero is novel, but just trying to use it for one or two scenes and not integrating into the story is a big mistake.
“When you decide to tell a story tell it as you wish .. not what others want to hear“
Telugu Cinema has never been at the dire need of imaginative people than from last two decades. It is not to say that there are no visionaries or celebrated filmmakers but sadly people who blindly follow a pattern are increasing to please a producer or a hero who are also equally driven by visionaries of the 80’s. Increasingly, we are witnessing similar stories being retold in same fashion rather than innovation taking them to new heights. Mani Ratnam is a creator because he could use a concept of Balachander with a sensitivity of Balu Mahendra in the native touch of Bharatiraja and be adding imagery of a Spielberg. He told his stories with his sensibilities and brought out the best of many worlds. He can never deny that above-mentioned makers have inspired him but he never followed their pattern or never tried to become them.
Sadly, for Telugu Cinema, K.Raghavendra Rao and Dasari Narayana Rao, have dominated era and left us with people who copy them rather than who improve on them with exceptions like SS Rajamouli, Puri Jagannadh, and Trivikram Srinivas. These three have shown an inclination to mix and bring a new tone to their cinema rather than just blindly put up a pattern in front of them and follow it. Each of these three tried cat and mouse sagas, every Puri film after Pokiri works as a cat n’ mouse game with one or two exceptions. Trivikram Srinivas showcased it in Julayi and Rajamouli used the cat n’ mouse tricks in many of his movies.
But none of those just plainly disappoint you as they seem to have a vision when telling a story. It’s not that every director should be like them or should be as talented as them. When you pay ticket price same for their movies and others movies too you expect a quality entertainment. You can’t just ride a bike on sand without knowing how to escape the potholes and ride over the sand dunes. This is just a simple thought from an average movie observer who is more a bystander than a maker like those who are fighting for a chance. When someone so minuscule like me can be passionate, why can’t a driven, talented person who could make a movie against all odds be more enthusiastic to perform better and brighter?
“Hours spent in any group can only be knowledge acquiring of some form“
When a person can write how driven a young boy who wants to be a DRDO scientist should be, why can’t he go beyond creating just another Korean DVD mix? Why can’t he create an “Inspired” thriller that drives another youngster to take notes and make another film? None of the stalwarts and legends created something out of blue. Even they copied but never were shy about being naked with their ideas. Never did they spoil their own films with sequences that seem to have been drawn from other hit films. Story expansion doesn’t mean you use ideas from hit films of other languages or even our own language.
In this case, BVS Ravi and his team of writers try to showcase a conflict of ideology between two driven people. At a concept level, this is a great deal. Ideal for a potboiler that discusses the attributes of a “presumed” failure and a “highly” successful person. Both can be intelligent, both can be trying to play the game of one-upmanship, it could be for Nation, for home or for anything. It needed to be more about them. Dhruva or more likely, Thani Oruvan, understands this and makes it almost a romance between the protagonist and antagonist. That’s the reason in the climax Siddharth Abhimanyu says, “When love aims to kill you, you are ought to die.” Such innovative way to present the clash of two ideologies.
There the idea is also to make a box office film, but for that purpose, a heroine doesn’t remove her cloth in rain and drive the bike of a stranger. In the name of being useful doesn’t really become a stress buster and a song crackpot. In 2017, we don’t still need a woman to be caricatured or used to show the curves. Show the body no problem, even go for nudity, not an issue, just give it all a purpose. If those were your money shots then please don’t think of each and every person in theatre is expecting Shakeela bits or Manmadha rasaleela bits in every damn movie. Don’t just overkill the already dead tool. Please think of something even fresh way to integrate or if it’s unnecessary then let’s try for once not using such a bait. No harm in at least making a cohesive movie without distractions rather than making one incoherently lazy film with full of colors and glamour that matter nowhere. By the way, why does she fall in love with the hero? Just because she rode his bike? Or because he calls her “Banda Thoofan?” “Oh my God, he body shames me cutely.” Will that be a line from the heroine in our films going forward?
“When using International or National range elements don’t go for Tomfoolery”
When you say your character is intelligent you can’t expect all others even the viewers to be dumb to praise your character. When you respect the intelligence of the audience and expand, then the character shines. Here, this Jawaan is shown as a guy who accidentally gets involved in a big National robbery scheme that involves highly secured Defence object. In real life, 100’s of brilliant minds and highly trained folks will be working on its safety. But for heroism, if you design it such that only hero could crack a villain’s plan even though not equally trained one has to laugh and say, Cinema will have no logic. We can agree on that but why didn’t Army react after that? Why don’t they get suspicious of how he did it? This is not 80’s where a Judge can say on this ground I am leaving the protagonist even though it is a crime.
We need to understand the difference that people then were more forgiving than today, they are asking for more detailed approach than some lazy excuse to save a hero. If that’s not the case, then people won’t talk about logics in Magadheera or Baahubali. Won’t be asking motives behind a Fidaa or a Arjun Reddy. They would just go with the flow like how they did in the case of Bobbili Brahmanna, Bobbili Puli. Nobody would have wondered why police were dumber than an intermediate student in Julayi. It’s a big hit but they are many out there who still troll it for depicting high-rank officers as comedians. Not that it makes any difference for box office result of that film or dilutes the enjoyability of the said film. But mistakes repeated twice, thrice or many times will definitely result in a negative feedback than positive. So, it is better if we can come out of saying logic is for students, cinema is for fun. Fun in cinema is more laced with longevity when it is earned.
There are many logical loopholes like a legendary RSS member gets killed and no one investigates/give it a thought. Not even one police official or DRDO official asks Sai Dharam Tej regarding his successful plan in stymieing a masterful loot. Why didn’t no one thought of delivering the suitcase-sized missile through a flight. Why didn’t DRDO take military protocols post a serious attack on India’s most valuable missile and rather ask for middlemen Sai Dharam Tej’s help to safeguard the product (Sai Dharam Tej > NSG & Army??). Villain uses go-pros to monitor but lacks a backup plan in the end. Even though he could understand how clever hero is he always uses emotional tactics and only emotional tactics to make him do his job. Why doesn’t he think about making him a pawn in big sequence or play, only director can know. There are many like this that we can keep counting. In the end, when you say it’s a cat and mouse game between two clever and driven people and make them unidimensional you end up making a film that circles round and round.
Technically, KV Guhan gives some good concepts in staging and framing but he couldn’t really save it from digging a deeper hole aggressively. SS Thaman with his loud BGM doesn’t help the scene one bit. He just uses the rehashed versions of some old tracks and every instrument at his disposal.
To conclude, there is no debate that movie making is a business and we need money to pay the expenses. But it needs to have some sort of imagination, we may find 100 flaws in Baahubali, still, it is an enjoyable film. We may not completely be in awe of Dhruva but still, it is a greater attempt at giving fun with logic than dumbing it down to such level that even you can’t enjoy watching your own film. This film needed the vision to talk about the great ideas but not a guide on how to use famous ideas and ideologies in one film to make it look heavy and deep. All in all, the film appears to start with all right ideas in place, teases us a clash of ideologies, a clever game of two highly active minds but then ends as a passive cold and passionless patriotic drama that neither serves as a revisable film nor as a watchable one.