Gautham (Mahesh) is a rock star suffering from a mental disorder due to which he loses grip over reality. But he’s convinced that his parents were murdered by three men and his only aim is revenge.
Movie Review: Hearsay had it that the movie was a rehashed adaptation of the Bourne series. We can assure you it isn’t. That said, that said the film seems like an earnest attempt to fashion a spy thriller (in which the protagonist is in search of his true identity) to the dictates of the mainstream Tollywood potboiler template. We’ll try to take you through the process of how a film maker looks to adapt a Hollywood thriller in Telugu would have to do.
Firstly, cliches of the Hollywood spy thriller genre would need to be tinkered with suitably, starting from the protagonist. Since the intelligence wing of India, RAW, doesn’t quite have the same ring as the MI6 or FBI, having the hero play a spy could prove detrimental. Playing an undercover cop or investigative journalist is considered too passe these days. A rock star is considered to be the epitome of super cool these days (in Telugu cinema parlance at least), and needless to say offers numerous song possibilities and the excuse to dress up the hero in a multitude of looks. So rocker it is.
Now adapting to the central conflict of the plot – stolen identity – would be a real challenge. It would be too old fashioned to have his loose his memory due to a head injury sustained in an accident. Having his memory erased by the villains would get too implausibly hi-tech for the plot. We also need something that can bring in some melodrama… like the loss of a loved one.
Voila, Gautham is introduced awakening from a nightmare from his childhood where he’s on the run, dodging bullets from goons. It is followed by a prophetic rock number that goes Who are you?…giving you a hint of the central theme of the film. The song ends in a spectacular chase sequence after which Gautam surrenders to the police, confessing to killing three people who murdered his parents. It is revealed, our man is suffering from a brain disorder resulting from a 25% shortfall in grey matter in his brain! As a result he can’t tell reality from hallucination, the doctor explains after proving that Gautam doesn’t remember how his parents looked.
Did he really have parents? Did the get killed? Is it all a creation of his bleeped up brain? The rest of the film is designed to answer these questions in a rather complicated way. There is a touch of sophistication in the way the screenplay plays out. The cinematography is very slick and creates an intense mood with dull color pallets.
The acting by Mahesh Babu is pretty intense right though despite going overboard with the brooding act a few places. He wears a permanent frown right through the movie without as much as half a grin even when he proposes love. He seems to have worked on his dancing which should cheer his fans big time. Kriti Sanon looks pretty and well enough to justify her role. The rest of the cast is just filling the numbers and do what they are told.
The writing is sharp right through albeit being not so whistle worthy. It packs quite a few smart one liners delving into the nature of truth, identity, pain etc. The music though comes as a dampener, as does the background score which seems too pretentious. The action sequences are very Hollywood inspired but fall well short of being breathtaking and end up looking cheesy.
So the bottom line is simple. The Tollywood format of six songs, five fights and loads of entertainment and melodrama makes it impossible to respectably adapt racy Hollywood styled suspense thrillers.
Note: The movie isn’t as slick or racy as the trailers suggest, so lowered expectations will help.