'Agnyaathavaasi', starring Pawan Kalyan, Anu Emmanuel, Keerthy Suresh, Khushbu, Rao Ramesh, Murlai Sharma, Aadhi Pinishetty and others, hits the screens today. Here is our review.
Vinda Bhargav (Boman Irani) and a youngster (his son) get killed in the very beginning. Indrani (Khushbu), now widowed, is dispossessed of a property that rightfully belongs to her.
She now gives the long-in-exile Abhishikt Bhargav (Pawan Kalyan), her son, an invite to solve the crisis and prevent the unknown villains from taking over Vinda's empire.
Abhishikt suspects Sharma and Varma (Rao Ramesh and Murali Sharma) to be the villains and decides to take on them by clandestinely joining their company as a personal secretary. The hero assumes the identity of Balasubramanyam (Vennela Kishore).
As Balu, the hero woos Suryakantham (Anu Emmanuel) and Sukumari (Keerthy Suresh) in a funny manner so as to get close to Sharma and Varma. But this plan is a non-starter.
By interval, it becomes clear to the hero that there is more than what meets the eye. There is an unknown entity who has been trying to lay his hands on the huge company. It's Seetharam (Aadhi Pinishetty).
The second half is about what Abhishikt alias Balu does to teach the villains a lesson, why he had been living in exile, and how Indrani regains her glory.
Only one thing is very certain while watching 'Agnyaathavaasi'. The director is very convinced that his is a wafer-thin story line. And so, he stuffs scene after scene with quirkiness (euphemism is entertainment). Not that idiosyncrasies are unwelcome. But when they are overdone, a film can come off as not just obfuscating but also perilously self-indulgent.
In one of the long scenes, our supposedly virtuous, sharp-witted and larger-than-life (presumed to be one) hero goes after Sharma and Varma in a style of comedy that revives the good-for-dead memories of 'Gudumba Shankar', or maybe even 'Balu'. Trivikram's aim must have been to present a mixture of 'Jalsa' and 'Gabbar Singh', though.
Probably because his genius is taken for granted, not many see the fact that, many a time, Trivikram's scenes overstay their welcome. With 'Attarintiki Daredi', this affliction was not true at least with respect to the sentimental scenes. Whenever Nadhiya, Boman Irani, Mukesh Rishi or Rao Ramesh were around in that film, we warmed up to the emotions. In 'Agnyaathavaasi', Khushbu, Tanikella Bharani, Bomani Irani and the hero seem to there in monotonous moments in a plastic environment. Also, the language in which they speak is too high-brow at times.
It's not easy to digest a heroism that believes in spending disproportionate amount of energies and time on fooling Vennela Kishores, troubling Rao Rameshs (his comic timing is so good) and such stuff. Too much of focus on hocus-pocus shortchanges the main villain, who in due course of time, we forget, is Aadhi Pinishetty.
Between them, the rom-com tracks involving Pawan and Keerthy Suresh (as a bimbo who falls for the hero's fake failed love story) on the one hand and Pawan and Anu (as another bimbo who is obsessed with seeing everything straight) on the other hand are somewhat too peculiar. As said before, there is only so much of eccentricity that you can take.
The corporate office backdrop is claustrophobic after a point. If not for the Bulgaria scenes (a song and a not-so-rational chase sequence), there would have been no respite from the environs of AB Group building in the second half. Even a fight unfolds within its premises. Abhishikt Bhargav believes that the building is a holy place and Trivikram takes it too seriously.
Pawan Kalyan's emotional act in the climax takes the cake. He is sprightly otherwise and experiments too much with his body language. Had the situations had substance, his comedy and chemistry with the co-stars would have paid off. The songs are a letdown with the choreography and the situations spoiling the show. The fights are slick and the impact is so-so.
Coming to others's performance, Keerthy and Anu deliver okayish performances. They put in great amount of effort in getting the dubbing right. Two monologues by Khushbu bring out her acting prowess. Aadhi Pinishetty is a cool villain with some Abburi Ravi-kinda dialogues (Phew!). There is too much of Tanikella Bharani. Rao Ramesh, Murali Sharma and Raghu Babu are OK. Others, especially Vennela Kishore, are wasted.
Anirudh Ravichander's BGM sounds fresh in some of the scenes. His sound is distinct for sure. All the songs have been a hit outside the film. V Manikandan's cinematography is impressive, especially in the songs.
Scenes that overstay their welcome, quirks gone overboard, a Pawan Kalyan whose comedy is experimental, sentimental scenes that have an 'Attarintiki Daredi' hangover, sidekicks atrophied, romances gone crazy - this is 'Agnyaathavaasi' for you. Watch it for Power Star, if not Trivikram's famed genius.