There was a time when, if the director was not a Teja, or a VN Aditya, Uday Kiran looked as though he was doing rehearsals in front of the camera. Since he looked promising in his first three movies (Chitram, Nuvvu Nenu and Manasantha Nuvve), people kept forgiving him for his subsequent poor work. Unfortunately, he continued to get bad ones directing him in film after film, and it was not long before the industry was done with chocolate boy films. When he seems to have evolved a bit as an actor, he has got a director who has just started rehearsing behind the camera.
Yes, this is exactly how the work of Balaji N Sai looks like - a rehearsal by the director. Even though we get to see many films blighted by amateurish treatment these days, watching 'Jai Sri Ram' makes us feel that this director needs to go back to the film school to learn the basics. If the lip sync is not right at many places, the songs seem to have been made for a B-grade TV serial. This is only a "trailer."
The writing is unexceptionably outlandish, of course. Moments after the main villain (Aditya Menon) speaks vulgarly to a servant maid, there comes a bride-seeing ceremony scene. The girl has apparently switched off her mobile and Aditya and his father (playing Chintamani) are shown having aspirations to become Chief Minister for at least a month, thus they want to marry the girl whom they have never seen but whom they think has lost her virginity. (For not even a moment, is the girl (who turns out to be the heroine, played by Reshma) shown to be so rich as to attract a high-profile political family). Then comes a club song where we see Reshma to be a floozy who doesn't mind how the male companion is related to her! Next we see her eloping in order to marry her boy friend in Goa. From the moment she bumps into Uday Kiran, who has been on a rampage killing bad guys rather badly (to mean logically and technically lousy), Reshma is revealed as a bleeding heart do-gooder who values relationships a lot and who is not a bit lascivious.
The man around whom the story revolves is presented as though he is just another character for a good first 30 minutes. The way he kills two of them leaves a sore taste in the mouth not because the murders are grotesque, but because they are incredulous. One police officer who is would be murdered minutes later gulps down liquor fed into his mouth by Uday Kiran without resisting a bit, then he is pushed to the edge of the top floor and asked to take the right position to take the final plunge. "Alochistaventi.. dooku," says the hero and uses his middle finger to push him.
A well-wisher keeps calling him and instructs him to kill a specified person at a specified time, which our beleaguered and seemingly much humiliated and harassed police officer executes dutifully. Until the flashback starts, one doesn't see in him a man with a mission but a post-hypnotic robot who does someone else's bidding. After the suspense with regards to the main behind the screen is revealed the well-kept secret sounds inconsequential, in retrospect. Such tricks to keep the audience glued doesn't make logic, the one who knows the identity of the main villain doesn't need instructions from an Akasa Ramanna.
Credit goes to Uday for adding a semblance of seriousness to the proceedings, he looks utterly confident and composed in his new avatar. If not for him, one would want to come out of the theatre in the hope of catching some irritating TV serial.
Reshma, Aditya, Chalapathi Rao and others are just about ok.
Verdict: A director's rehearsal gone awry.