If the story-writer of 'Alias Janaki' had gone to a Rajamouli or a Shekar Kammula to narrate the story, the listener could have said this after the narration: "Flashback over? Tell me the rest of the story; what will the hero do now? Tell me how you want to start the movie."
That is Dayaa K's directorial offering for you. The way his hero, Janaki Ram (played by Venkat Rahul), is depicted, one feels that the writer had no other intention than to present the hero as an unruly 'jholawala' with the capacity for occasional outbursts. What is your hero, sir? Is he a social activist-like government servant feeling helpless about the crooks around him, and who often betrays his impotent rage? He does break into a fight with a fervent expression on his ultra-intense face in one action scene before the interval, giving us some hope. After the climax, you feel that if less than two dozen angry aam admi can teach a lesson to only villain, why do we need a film, a hero and a filmi hero with guts? If a newcomer like Venkat was capable of delivering a hit at the BO by preaching to Tanikella Bharani, the beautiful pravachans of Megastar Chiranjeevi in 'Stalin' would have set the BO on fire.
Janaki Ram alias Janaki is a conscientious officer in the department of town planning. He is incorruptible, thanks to his father (Naga Babu in a good act), who taught him how to be dutiful under all circumstances. (He is always available over the phone to motivate him now and then)
At some point in his career, Janaki has to deal with a file related to a slum, which now Mysa (Shatru) wants to lay his hands on. His life mission is to be honest and also protect the the slum-dwellers from encroachment by Mysa. Meanwhile, the always enraged, worried and lost Janaki falls in love with the always cool, lively girl (Anisha Ambrose). It is love at first sight, but the director commissioned 'marinade..' song without building proper tempo.
As Janaki helplessly tries to free the slum-dwellers from the threat they face from Mysa, the latter resorts to an extreme step.
What is the option left for Janaki? Will he be a Tagore? Or, will he inspire the mob to deliver jungle justice? If it is the second one, when exactly does the scene come? It is important for the experience you derive from the movie..
One important feature of this film is the liberal use of the mobile technology by Dayaa K to the point of irritating us. There is an item song which would make even a dogmatic votary of item songs feel stultified.
The screenplay is not at all engaging. Just before the interval, the tempo raises to a peak only to look milk-and-water post-interval. As stated at the outset, one starts feeling the story's inadequacy after a point.
The execution was meant to be experimental, but all that the director had were a few trendy, sadistic villains whom he thought will look terrifying enough to feel like Vishnu Vardhan's (Panjaa fame) antagonists.
The art work is fine and the cinematographer shows his grip. The BG score is what elevates even dumb scenes.
About the hero, though he is not glamorous, he has the talent to make a mark. He looks every bit that sincere and outraged middle-class man who is helpless, but wants to do something about the system. The director should have extracted varied expressions from him. In the scene where he watches that breaking news, he doesn't emote anguish at that moment, but in the next scene we find him emoting like Shivaji Ganesan. A case of bad direction.
Tanikella Bharani is his usual best, so also others. Amrutha Rao as Anisha's father is a big letdown. What is his image? What was he asked to do? Sri Ramya as the girl whose modesty was outraged is spot on. She fits the bill completely.
One hardly remembers the songs, except the first one.
Verdict: A 105-minutes-long flashback. The story is too short enough to test the director's talent.