A proud Nasser, who is the Commissioner of Mumbai, goes to the town claiming that there is no bhai left in the city. He and his unsparing department have cleansed the city of the dreaded Mafiosi. At this moment, Surya (Mahesh Babu) calmly alights the train in the city, looks around and walks like a psycho, neurotically claims that he wants to be a ruthless bhai and make the city his slave. The good Commissioner soon comes to know Surya's hideout, walks up to his den and our hero gives a lecture on the financial services rendered to the economy by mafia men like him. Just as you shudder to think that Ram Gopal Varma has overtaken Puri Jagannadh, there comes another bombardment. Our hero blackmails the Commissioner saying he can't get him because his daughter is deeply in love with him. Would a sincere, heroic cop become intolerant at hearing this and eliminate him, or would he become tame and meekly watch the tamasha, along with the entire government machinery, enacted by this small-time Dharavi-based thug? Had the writer used his brain?
First things first. Businessman is a Mahesh-magnified film. It is clear that the director throws all logic to the winds in the hope that Mahesh the Prince and a few cheeky one-liners will salvage the film. There is so much meaningless lecturing in the movie in the form of the demented arguments that our hero employs in many a scene. Surya grows from a no-one to a force who finances the electioneering budget (pegged at Rs. 35,000 cr.) of a political party, installs his favourite party at the Centre, yet the government, the police, the Army, none will not harm him. In short, he brings under his thumb one hundred billion Indians with help of a band of 50 goons, with a pistol in their hands, in each city. In the entire modern history, even a thousand Dawood Ibrahims and Ladens would not have been able to do it.
Coming to the story, Surya is an over-ambitious youth, who, in the course of the film, becomes a favourite of Dharavi's locals, an extortionist, a baron, a philanthropist, an entrepreneur, a one-man government (all business establishments have to pay 2 per cent tax to his empire!) and, at the end, a motivational guru. He wants to carve an identity for himself. In his pursuit of power, he joins hands with an unscrupulous politician (Sayaji Shinde), and asks him to treat him as a girlfriend. Playing street smart tactics with almost everyone in the country, he grows to be a multi-billionaire. He buys the media and installs his yes-man as Prime Minister! Alas! He can't save his girlfriend from being abducted by Prakash Raj. Well, you will not laugh at this particular flaw because it is meant to bring the film to a climax. Thank god!
Mahesh delivers a blockbuster performance. He is verbose and makes a compelling appearance on screen as a thankless, ruthless, mysterious goonda who confuses everyone and who scandalises the city without a regard for morals. Dialogues do not have a Pokiri-kinda perfection, but some of them are impressive. The scene wherein Surya philosophically says that money is bulldozing its way through human lives makes an impact. (Dabbu shaaswatham kaadu, manushule shaashwatham antoo untaaru. Kaanee manushulu chachchipothunnaaru, dabbu maathram chaavatledu).
In fact, Mahesh here plays his first full-fledged negative role. Our Puri tries to cleverly camouflage his villainy with manipulative philosophising, but it will interest none except his guru, RGV.
If a Puri heroine has irritated you, it is Kajal Agarwal and Kajal Agarwal alone. All that she does is cry and cry all through. Nasser is good, Sayaji Shinde is okay, Prakash Raj is routine.
Coming to the dialogues, which you might hear some say that they are an asset, they are actually irrational. If anything, they show Puri's penchant to become a pedagogue. Sorry, Puri, you may have to re-read Osho. We have a better understanding of what dharma is, we know why our heart goes to the hounded prey of a heartless tiger, and, above all, we know why your hero is a crook and not a hero!
Songs come at the wrong time. However, it must be quickly added that Thaman's background score and instrumentation in all the songs are amazing.
It is clear that the director uses the love track to make the audience not think about the missing logic. Puri's tricks might have worked two decades back. Audience have become intelligent for good.
PS: The director has vainly tried to take the audience for a ride. We pity his earnest attempt at creating a halo around the hero's character so as to impress the gallery class. An advice: Never try to do something which you have not completely understood yourself. Just as the writer may not be able to tell us how the hero mutates from being an immoral thug into a national icon at the end.
Businessman's ideology and structure are meant to attract the audience in B and C centres. It is, however, doubtful how far it will reach the family audience. Above all, given its gargantuan release in 2000 screens and the festive season, the film could easily collect huge monies. In the first two days when the film will be played in 106 theatres in the twin cities, you can only imagine the paisa vasool! It will be interesting to see if Buisnesmsan will keep the momentum in the following days.
Released on: 13th Jan, 2012