To make a film based on legends and age-old stories calls for a giant leap of faith and an earthy conviction based on market realities. How best can you make a modern-day film out of a fairy-tale kind of story to a generation of mass movie-goers?
Well, there is no easy answer. The makers of Pournami (the director Prabh Deva and script writer and producer M S Raju) have take that giant leap of faith. How convincing is that? Well, you can give 100 for effort and sincerity, and around 70 for eventual result.
In some sense, Raju has spun a hardy commercial story around a seemingly centuries-old tradition. The story takes off from a practice in a land named Demuni Patnam. According to legend, a girl from the Chandra Mohan dynasty has to dance before Lord Shiva to propitiate him so that He can shower his blessings on the land. This practice has been going on for years.
Pournami (Trisha) and Chandra Kala (Charmi) are sisters and are born into this dynasty. Pournami has to dance before the God. But a local Zamindar (Rahul Dev) proves to be a major problem. Pournami has to leave the place and the Zamindar covets for Chandra Kala. Enters, Siva Kesava Reddy (Prabhas). He becomes the tenant of Chandra Mohan's house and impels Chandra Kala to learn the dance and perform the Godly dance.
But there is a past to him and there is reason why he helps the family. All the knots are untied in time for denouement.
Prabhas has got a meaty role. There are some interesting aspects to his character and he has managed to bring that to the fore. There is a raw intensity to his persona and that has been used well by the director.
Trisha, though playing the title role, has not much to do. But she is beautiful and is confidence personified. Charmi, on the other hand, seems to have walked with a bigger pie. She has used the opportunity well. She has also danced beautifully.
Sindhu Tolani has a small character and she passes muster. So does Madhu Sharma as some one who pines for the hero. Archana has one dance and is pretty good.
Chandra Mohan as the father of the dancers is very believable so is Mukesh Rishi as the father of the hero. Rahul Dev as the evil Zamindar is vetry credible. He is cool and suave and hence a treat to watch.
Music of Devi Sri Prasad is certainly one of pluses of the movie. His classical tunes are a treat to watch. The young music director after being in wilderness seems to have announced his comeback strongly.
MS Raju's script is interesting and has a certain surprise element. But at times it tends to sag, seemingly losing the momentum of the moment. Prabhu Deva as a director certainly has a flair for novel ideas and themes.
He has managed to weave a dance-based idea into the broad story. In that sense, the choreographer in him is also is satisfied.
By no stretch of imagination Pournami is a radiant, fully rounded one. But at the same time it is also not caught in the waning period.