Upendra’s Upendra 2 (2015) Movie Review
Opened on 14th August, 2015
Starcast: Upendra, Kristina Akheeva, Parul Yadav, Tennis Krishna, Shayaji Shinde, janardhan, Satyajit & Priyanka Upendra
Music Composer: Gurukiran
Censor Certificate: UA
Runtime: 135 Minutes
Being an Upendra Fan is really hard these days. While his competitors have created history repeatedly, all Upendra has managed is Raktha Kaneeru & Uppendra apart from some really bad remakes (Godfather, Kalpana for example). While Raktha Kaneeru was salvaged by the numbers for a fan, it was saddening to see so much potential in the movie squandered by a couple of instances of farcical screenplay. The consolation was that Upendra outshone everyone & rose above the movie and director blamed for the lapses.
To say that Upendra 2 carried the highest burden on its shoulders would be an understatement. Upendra 2 was the 3rd Lifeline for Upendra (4th & last being Super) as an Actor, and the biggest gamble he even produced it. With Screenplay credits, it was also a test for Upendra the writer. One could not blame anybody if the story, screenplay or taking would be bad.
It was heartening to see 80% occupancy in theatre on release day with out the much buzz in Hyderabad. So the movie started with a psychologist laying the foundations with the preset-past-future mumbo-jumbo which would make the basic premise of Upendra 2 believable (To somewhat atleast). The very next was solid. Although the scene was subpar here compared to Tollywood it was still good for Kannada commercial film. Then Upendra, Kristina Akheeva & Tennis Krishna trio made few scenes worthwhile. Everyone laughed in the theater. Felt a sigh of relief. The way Upendra narrates there is No Past – No Future – Only Present that stands tall and that’s all matter in the end engaged everyone. The first round was won.
Then came the second half, where the story moves towards introducing two more characters past scavenger Nenu (Upendra) and Future undercover cop (Upendra). The story from single thread divides into two more sections. The past is connected to Salim’s henchman and future with associates of investigative officer (Shayaji Shinde). At this time Lakshmi (Kristina) decides to marry him. Thats when the twist in the tale arises Lakshmi gets to know about strange identity of Nuvvu belonging to Leels’s journey to Himalayas. How all this is related to Lakshmi’s property and how did don & police officer work on the same forms the rest of the storyline.
Readers this is not a review instead a write up of a true cinegoer to show his satisfaction. I haven’t seen in the recent times a script oriented film like this. According to me, Upendra tries new dimension of story telling with this film. Past – Present – Future thoughts run without any chaos. The placement of scenes between the Nuvvu – Nennu are interesting. Say for instance, when a blank screen appears for a minute everyone in theatre starts shouting, frustrated and the very next scene Upendra clears things about the thoughts is simply genius. Upendra 2 is a complicated script to handle but director Upendra has tried to essay it as complicated as possible. This is the first Telugu release for Upendra post his mediocre futuristic Super (2010) in Telugu, so when you ask for something different Upendra gives you “illusion of time” this time. Where Upendra explores the relation between consciousness and reality and in the process puts forward an amazing hypothesis that can explain many Delphic phenomena including present past future experience in altered states. (Spoilers) there are three states of mind showcased in the film. Present – Nuvu: Where Upendra finds happiness by living in the present and by not thinking about past/future related issues. Which even includes no selfishness, no thinking just doing what they believes in. Past – Nenu: He always have high hopes in life and he will do anything to fulfill his greed (Kushi). Nenu is the reason of the past influence on the local goon. Future – Undercover Cop: The ultimate aim of him to capture the underworld don Salim to get his Khushi. Will is the reason of future influence on investigative officer. If you remember carefully director always focuses on the line of the will, where it states “Nenu anne Danni vadilesi bavishyath gurinchi alochinchakunda ‘nuvvu’ ga marithe aasthi needi” thats how Lakshmi (Kristina) starts searching for nuvvu and finds the meaning in the end as Nuvvu (Upendra) makes her understand the importance of living in present and happiness in giving (that’s why police in the comes to the working place of Upendra and ask“ the money is saved in the Hospital??” that’s concludes that Lakshmi understood the importance of living in present (Nuvvu) and is eligible to inherit her ancestral property). Finally, Goon Point of view (lives in past memories and has greed to seize the property) & Police Officer (who tries to acquire the property and lives in future thoughts) are imaginary and only the present scenario with Nuvvu is real. With the sequel Upendra tried to convey rather a subtle message “True happiness (Khushi) is to enjoy the present without anxious dependence upon the future” through this thought provoking script.
While a fun platform is laid for Nuvvu’s story, there is a scent of seriousness for Nenu and Future’s stories. The interesting presentation of Past – Future stories seemed like thrilling add ons, yet the entire plot of imaginary seemed half boiled. Even the abrupt climax fails to elaborate the important final message of the film. When Nuvvu’s story is engaging in parts the story of notional thoughts didnt offer that feel, instead it offered a huge lag even the lag could have been justified, but that logically not that satisfying end made that lag futile. The errors are negligible, yet it could have been better, at least for the paragon buildup of the entire film. The scenes like Introducing the Past-Present-Future, Thoughts behind Khushi-thinking, the conversation with a wife, Inception Day dream reveals the mastery of Upendra in direction.
Music by Gurukiran was mediocre. Songs are commercial addons and they act as nothing but speed breakers to the narration. The background score gels well with the film. Staring the movie with end credits and ending the film with start up credits (We have seen earlier in “Monty Phython and the Holy Grail”) are wisely used by the director to bring the mood of the movie. Cinematography by Ashok Kashyup was of fine quality, especially the frames of Nenu (Scavenger look) were good. Editing is the worst culprit of the film, it seems the movie had become too long, and so there are some highly unbelievable transitions between and few seem incomplete. Choreography is alright.
Upendra lives and breathes Nuvvu and Nenu characters. I cant imagine any other actor playing this role. He expresses a lot through his eyes, smile and his histrionics. His character totally rubs off on the viewer. Kristina Akheeva and Parul Yadav stole certain scenes with their beauty, Tennis Krishna provided some good fun, Shayaji Shinde, Shobhraj, Bank Janardhan, Chethan, Tumukur Mohan and Mimicry Dayanand did justice to their limited roles.
For all those who predicted Kannada industry doom day is nearing, just watch out for new bunch of films (Lucia, Ulidavaru Kandante) brimming with solid thoughts. They are trying to find audience, experimenting with scripts that were long considered abstract and out of the box. Upendra 2 is once such film that foresee a story that almost strike to balance between real and imaginary thoughts. On the whole, Upendra 2 is not a completely satisfying film, but it’s an courageous effort with an interesting message.