It is said that if the characterizations and the reactions of characters are apt, half the battle is won. Unfortunately, most films are found wanting on this front. Shatruvu falls in this category. Also, the director (NSR Prasad) has set forth with a cliched point and written a taut screenplay around it.
Anu (Aksha) is a terrifying 20-year-old girl, who brings bad luck in the form of death and worse, to those around her. She is the daughter of the Hyderabad Mayor and should everything go well, she will inherit a whopping Rs. 3,500 cr. But that is not to be. The conscientious daughter walks out declaiming to wage a dharmic battle against Mayor's adharma. "How much money do you need to live? How many families have you destroyed to make this money?" she shouts and even before you wonder how she will expose the land-grabbing, murderous father, her crime journo friend is ready with all the proofs to nail the deadly dad.
As the action-drama film begins with Anu facing one danger after another, she presents a dreaded look on her face. This apt expression gives way to unseemly confidence in her body language as soon as she bumps into Srikanth, a habitual khaidi. Our hero, named Shankar, makes a living by committing small-time crimes along with his two sidekicks (played by Raghu Babu and Duvvasi Mohan). The wise Anu discovers that he is not just another felon but a man with 'dammu' and 'dharma.'
The station SI talks of Srikanth in glorifying terms as if he were a Chiranjeevi. Once Shankar gives his commitment, he will not bow down come what may. He cannot be frightened even if you slit his body 24 times. Anu knows and remembers this factoid by-heart, is determined to live to fight on against her enemies, and clings on to our hero and, needless to say, falls in love with him.
Deadly Dad's goons are after her, but they can't hurt Anu because she has the audacious and trustful Bodyguard Shankar's support. So great is Anu's cause that her hero, who is otherwise an unrepentant sinner, rises from the half-dead apparently owing to divine support (yes, please picture the atypical Telugu filmi song that invokes god's shakthi when the hero appears to be almost finished). Even her dad's back-stabber, a blood-thirsty villain, doesn't kill her even when he can.
As if one hero is not enough to suffer because of Anu (the film's star unlucky mascot, as we said before), there is another school pass-out hero (with whom our heroine behaves as if she sees in him the incarnation of her dead brother) in the flashback. While Anu is in a foreign land, this school pass-out hero is personally seen by the Deadly Dad at the railway station, and is killed in the open. (Ruthless and greedy political heavyweights publicly killing innocents doesn't happen in real life. So, this must be considered as Indian cinema's unique contribution).
There are one too many slip ups here and there. Anu doesn't have net facility for her mobile (a sine qua non for her to complete her mission), but she orders for a new television set so that she can watch TV9 for quick updates on the most recent victim of her friendship/alliance. The encounter specialist whom she approaches for help, gives out the expressions of fear and irritation. One wonders why she stops receiving threatening calls from the moment she has Srikanth by her side.
Srikanth should select stories that have some semblance of logic and sense from now on. We have watched many heroes dance with skimpily-clad item girls after being released from jail. Surely, we expect more from Telugu cinema. He sports his moustachioed look with self-indulgence. He goes missing for good part in the second half.
Aksha, on her part, looks more than her age. She has put on weight from the time Kandireega was released in August, 2011. At many places she comes across as an MD of a company, rather than seem her role. Raghu Babu, Duvvasi have never been so uncreative.
If Gana's music is inspired, Prasad's dialogues are full of cliches. He has watched a good number of Paruchuri Brothers' films for sure.