Jagapatibabu, though popular as family subjects' hero, had several hit films in other subjects too. He had a different image. He is a very good performer too and this was proved with films like 'Hanuman Junction, Gayam, Antahpuram and Samanyudu'. Once again, director P Vasu chose this hero for a deglamourous role which maintains a low profile all through the film, but has a lot of scope for performance. The film explains the value of friendship. The story runs between a rich man and a poor man and their childhood friendship. In order to show the richness, the director chose films which is the most common commodity among the people. People always think that the heroes would earn lakhs of rupees besides a huge image and going near them is a difficult task.
Balu (Jagapatibabu) has a small saloon in a village, which doesn't have the basic requirements like a revolving chair and a good mirror. He has a wife Sri Devi (Meena) and three children including two girls. Sri Devi was very accommodative and has an understanding. However, Balu is unable to make both ends meet with his daily earnings. He is not in a position to pay his child's school fee. He used to say that Super Star Ashokkumar (Rajanikanth) was his childhood friend.
Incidentally, Ashokkumar comes to their village for a 20-day outdoor shooting. Balu's children start pestering him to take them to Ashokkumar, but Balu is quite hesitative as he is not sure whether Ashokkumar could identify him. If Ashokkumar did not recognise him, Balu might be necked out and that would be not only an insult to his friendship, but also Balu would lose the prestige before his family. At this juncture, the school principal (Gita) comes to Balu and pleads with him to invite Ashokkumar as chief guest for the silver jubilee function of the school, which Balu could not.
Somehow, the college management gets the appointment of Ashokkumar and invite him to the school function. Ashokkumar accepts their invitation and reels out his experiences in childhood and talks great about his friend Balu. Did Balu meet Ashokkumar even after realising that he did not forget him? What Ashokkumar did when he learns about Balu? Is that lecture at the school function is like filmy dialogues or did he really remember his friend? Answers to all these questions form part of climax.
Jagapatibabu gave a brilliant and excellent performance all through the film. Especially, doing such a character, especially the role of a barber, is great for a hero with some stature. Moreover, the character was completely deglamorous and had a very low profile. But Jagapatibabu really lived in the character. His histrionics and body language were perfect to the core and director was able to extract all the acting talents from Jagapatibabu.
Meena, who played opposite Jagapatibabu, also did complete justice to the role. She appeared on the screen after a long gap, but was good to watch as the mother of three children. She lost her weight considerable and appeared glamorous.
Rajanikanth played the real life role in the film. He maintained his usual style and appeared glamorous in the film. He has not much scope to perform in many of the scenes in the first half and most part of the second half as well.
However, it was he who mesmerised the audiences with his performance in the climax. Veteran playback singer SP Balasubrahmanyam lent his voice to Rajanikanth. His dialogue modulation perfectly suited the style of Rajanikanth, especially while delivering the lecture in a school function, where he narrates the value of friendship.
Nayanatara also played the real life role in the movie.
Comedy by Dharmavarapu Subrahmanyam, Sunil, Ali, MS Narayana and others are okay and was able to tickle the funny bone of the audiences, especially when the movement of the film is giving boredom.
Padma Shri Thota Tarani, who was responsible for excellent sets for Rajanikant's latest film Sivaji, once again came up fantastic sets for this film too.
Camera work by Arun Krishna is okay. The most notable technician for the film after the director is the dialogue writer. Marudhuri Raja penned dialogues for the film, which are very good and casual. Dialogues in the climax were quite heart-touching.
Editing is perfect in the film, as the audiences can't find even a single scene which is irrelevant and boring. Above all, it is P Vasu who needs compliments for coming out with another good film. After a blockbuster like 'Chandramukhi', he came out with another notable film. As was rightly said by Rajanikant during the preview of the film, such movies would come very rarely. The director was able to maintain the friendship thread in a peculiar way. Though the story appears dragging till the climax, the audiences never feel boredom with occasional and timely comedy track.
Music by GV Prakash Kumar, the nephew of AR Rahman is melodious and the audio was a big hit even before the release of the film. Especially the song penned on the making of a film was worth listening, with good literary values.
Though the hero of the film is Jagapatibabu in reality, the producer and director chose to highlight Rajanikanth, keeping in view the saleability of the film. Though Rajanikant appeared on the screen for less than 45 to 60 minutes, the film made a business of more than Rs 60 crore, just because of the image of Rajanikanth. The film proved a tear-jerker in the climax. The audiences who pay a price of Rs 50 for the ticket would feel satisfied with the last 20 minutes' of the movie.
Cast: Jagapatibabu, Rajanikanth, Nayanatara, Meena and Mamata Mohandas, Vijaykumar, Sunil, Dharmavarapu Subrahmanyam, MS Narayana, Narsing Yadav, Duvvasi Mohan, Kondavalasa Lakshmana Rao, Rallapalli, Gauthamraju, Gundu Hanumanta Rao, Tanikella Bharani, Geeta and others.
CREDITS: Dialogues - Marudhuri Raja, Music - GV Prakash Kumar, Lyrics - Veturi, Ramajogaiah Sastry and Ananta Sriram, Choreography - Lawrence, Brinda, Ashok Raj, Art - Thota Tarani, Presents - Seven Arts, Camera - Arun Krishna, Producers - C Aswinidutt and GP Vijaykumar, Screenplay, direction - P Vasu
Banner: Vyjayanti Movies
Released on: August 1, 2008