Most of them might laugh if someone finds in 'Sukumarudu' flashes of serious entertainment. That is there for sure. Ashok G seems to be thinking that males who are 40 and beyond, and who like to see verbose characters, are the ones who decide the fate of a film. Thus he makes Chandrashekar Gundemeda write dialogues laced with madcap humour, cerebral sentimentality and a whiff of rural lingo to make the proceedings look as authentic as possible.
In this unbearably lengthy film, there come many scenes which could not have been written by a frivolous-minded writer. Is Ashok G a voracious reader of novels? May be, yes.
The problem with his film is that it looks like a mismatch of influences, he might have day-dreamed about being seen as a director with a mark of his own. If he wants to win laurels by making true-to-life, rural-based films, with a curious dose of oddball wit, he may think of joining Kollywood. Even if he doesn't make big bucks there, he may at least win kudos from the discerning.
Honestly speaking, there are a few moments in the film the kind of which we do not get to see routinely. The story is quite simple, it begins to look like another 'Greeku Veerudu', but the longer it takes for Sukumar (Aadi) to become human and honest, the more slice-of-life character the film assumes.
Sukumar is a self-centered man, his sole intention of arriving at his ancestral place in India from US, is to gobble up the mammoth property to which he believes is the rightful inheritor. There at the palatial bungalow, he meets Sharada (as Vardhanamma) and Rao Ramesh, both wedded to ideals. The character of Sharada is so neatly etched that it is impossible for someone who learns the craft of writing from the films released in the past 20 years to write it. Rao Ramesh's character is an icing on the cake. Sharada delivers an impeccable performance in the author-backed role, while Ramesh is at his usual best.
There are too many characters, too many fillers in the film that it looks quite odd at many places. Sriinivas Avasarala, Dhanraj, Raghu Babu, 'Adhurs' Raghu, JP, Tagubothu Ramesh, Gollapudi, not to forget Tanikella Bharani, are there to lend layers.
Superstar Krishna's role is short, but highly effective. Nisha Agarwal and the new girl prove to be bad choices.
It must be added that the film is entirely screenplay- and dialogues-based. Though it is Aadi who is the pivotal character, he doesn't look as important as Nani in Pilla Jamindaru. Perhaps the script overshadowed his presence completely. Also, the role is way too nuanced for him to come out with flying colours. Even in the scene when he delivers a lengthy NTR dialogue from a mythological, he doesn't surprise us enough.
The length could have been curtailed by at least 30 minutes if not more. Honestly, the director doesn't seem to have planned to make a lengthy movie when he wished to make the film, but his conviction drove him to do that.
The performances of a majority of them is apt. The pace could have been faster and the second half doesn't give any variation in terms of the comedy style and the sentiment.
Technically, the film is musically scarce. The songs become almost a substitute for capital punishment. The cinematographer did a good job.
Verdict: Sukumarudu is a mismatch of influences. If you have a taste for a story-telling style that has a place for madcap humour and a sentimentality that is devoid of run-of-the-mill melodrama, watch it with low expectations. Otherwise stay away, lest you might come out of the theatre making your mind to never read reviews!