Saarai Veerraju is an important film for Ajay, a budding artiste in Tollywood, whose acting mettle has never been explored so better. As the lead, Ajay impresses from the word go. His breathless explanation of how he won the Rs.6-costing curd rice is enough to sound the bugle. However, at times, his acting seems a poor version of Prabhas'. Though it is commonplace to see actors getting influenced by the style of others, it is better if actors are their ownselves.
The story begins with Veerraju being bet black and blue in the police station. Like many of the films these days, this one has a Kurnool connection too. Veerraju, for whom having gone to the police station and photographed in a newspaper on the occasion are matters of pride, is an uneducated youngster, whose only aim is to go to Dubai. However, that is only for the world; inside, he is someone burning with rage to kill Tambi Doorai, Ramnath, Narayana and Raghupathi - his four enemies.
As part of the mission, he murders one of them in Dubai (where the film throws up a silly song, unnecessarily stumping the narration). To complete the bigger task of eliminating the others, he returns to Hyderabad. In the city, he is on a constant search for one of the men; he every time misses the man he is searching for, but as destiny would have it, the unlucky villain enters the cage in which he could be eaten away by the hungry lion. Veerraju is presently lodging in Preethi's (Madhulika) house, and it is to one of the girls in Preethi's family that the villain is getting married to.
During his stay at Preethi's residence, the latter falls in love with Veerraju. The fact is that Veerraju neither loves Preethi, nor is he the normal guy he appears to be. He is overwhelmed by a mind-numbing rage, and is desperate to find the adversaries at the earliest. Before the interval, he nabs three of them and kills them in perhaps the goriest ways. After all, why is the fun-loving Veerraju, whose only dream was to live a happy life with his childhood friend Dhanalakshmi (Ramya Nambeesan), behaving like a megalomaniac? What made the sarai-obsessed Veerraju of Narasipatnam the violent man he is now?
It is difficult to believe that the film is based on a novel. Neither the characters nor the emotions have a depth typical of a well-written novel. We do not know whether the novel Aaru Sarai Kathalu, on which the film is based, has some literary value to it, but the film really does not boast of any moving scenes. Characterization is tacky. Even the screenplay is run-of-the-mill and does not have the signature of a novel-based film.
Veerraju's character is self-centered. A contrast to Dhanalakshmi who believes in doing her bit to others in whatever situation, Veerraju never consciously realises that the both are a dichotomy. The interesting relationship between the two orphans could have been more sensitively portrayed. Even the innocent sidekicks (Veerraju's co.) seem to have been lifted out of urbane films (except for the dumb character).
Ajay pulls off the role well, but he should try to be original next time; his expression does not effectively portray intensity nor suffering. The best performer would be the Malayam actress Ramya; she has raised to the occasion and carried the deglamorised role perfectly.
Sree Sai's music is mediocre. Cinematography by Vishwa is good. Ram-Laxman choreograph some good action sequences. Kannan's dialogues are good, but in some places, he could have written better (especially in the first half; the hero could have had some lines before he kills the villains). All in all, Sarai Veerraju is watchable once.
Released on: 4th December, 2009