There was a defining moment in Nuvvu-Nenu when Uday Kiran detested the tyranny of elders like a puerile, saying "Chi chi mee peddolu unnare.." Watching Neeka Naku Dash Dash one feels that Teja has not been able to come out of that hangover. In NNDD, the girl, now a tired heroine after hours and hours of running from chasing goondas, says to a violent cop, "Neeku moodindira", referring obviously to the heroism of the hero, who has all along presented a timid persona. Coming as it does after she is beaten to a pulp, the scene would have raised the roof but for the fact that it was delivered by a bad actress. Talking of the hero, like that Prince in Nijjam who wore a helpless look, debutante Prince wears a pathetic look throughout and seems like the alter ego of a child artist. Sans good performances, what is left in NNDD is an overdose of already-seen elements and a dash of blah blah.
Teja knows well that there are only a handful of stories to tell, the problem is he doesn't know how to tell the same story with a different narration. So, in NNDD he retells an old idea (at least a decade old, if not more) in a different setting. In fact, the difference begins and ends with the setting. It is basically a love story, a prop and a liquor syndicate out to nab the love birds are there just to cloak the trappings of Jayam that are so vividly on display.
Here the story is initially set in a factory where the hero and heroine prepare fake liquor. The setting is a cottage industry but Teja gets into the Nuvvu Nenu mode and vainly tries to showcase it like a college campus. He adds a heavy dose of low brow humour and a dash of masala to cook up chemistry between the two lovely captives, Shiva (Prince) and Gayathri (Nanditha), who work there like bonded labour along with many other 'college kids', owned by Bapineedu.
Shiva mistakes a co-worker to be a cheat and complains against him to Bapineedu, who guns him down and promotes Prince. The truth, however, is that the murdered worker had been saving his salary for his sister's wedding. Owing moral responsibility for his death, Prince takes upon himself to handover Rs. 5 lakhs to the deceased worker's mother. In the process of running away after stealing Bapineedu's money, his problems are multiplied when a greedy Nanditha loots crores of rupees! The dirty money minted by Bapineedu by tonnes is very important because a good chunk of the share goes to someone as important as the Home Minister.
There is a sincere police officer (Banerjee), who wants to finish Bapineedu. The rest of the film is about who catches hold of the love birds on the run first - the cop or the crook?
Teja's stamp was on an impressive display for a good 45 minutes when the film entertained. Rest of all it was an apologetic attempt at rehashing one or two oldish elements. If a weak comedy track in the half-an-hour is placed on the heavy shoulders of Suman Shetty, Venu's comic timing in the second half works well. Nanditha's repetition of the word 'dash' smacks of innuendo.
Teja's style lies in treating the inhumanity of the villains with dispassion and the heroism of the underdog with indulgence. Though he treats gore with a flourish in this film, the atavism of Bapineedu's mistress and Prince's later stage boldness look completely old-fashioned. The romance is boring and even unseemly, its throwback to Chitram and Jayam is, again, outmoded. Teja doesn't like to mix his thinking with that of others and that's why he doesn't watch TV, as he had said once. Fair enough. But how does he miss logic even though his head is not 'muddied' like the rest of us? If you know who is missing, would you ask your warden to check whether that person is there in the hostel or ask him to count the heads? There is so much unaccounted money in the almirah but Baneerjee is looking for evidence to arrest Bapineedu, thereby setting him as his competitor in hunting down the lovebirds. Only in our films do we get to see illogical elements like this: A house where hundreds of crores are stashed away is guarded by unarmed men, all drunkards whom even the boss doesn't trust after 9'O clock.
There is no more any magic left in Teja's dialogues. Yashwanth's Nag's music is not helped a bit by the poor tempo for the songs. The cinematography was, however, adept.
Released on: 13th April, 2012