'Balakrishnudu', starring Nara Rohit, Regina, Prudhvi, Ajay and Ramya Krishna in main roles, hits the screens this Friday. Here is our review.
Balu (Nara Rohit) is a yes-man working for a muscleman (played by Kota Srinivas Rao) in Hyderabad. He is assigned the task of protecting Aadhya (Regina Cassandra), who faces a threat to her life from the soon-to-be-out-of-jail Prathap Reddy (Ajay), a factionist who is baying for her blood because her late father Ravinder Reddy (Aditya Menon in a cameo) and her aunt Bhanumathi Devi (Ramya Krishna) have a bloody feud with him.
Not surprisingly, love blossoms between Balu and Aadhya. (Balu is not supposed to talk to her, but he romances her in broad daylight and even gets paid Rs. 2 lacs per day by her super-rich aunt. Phew!)
The twist in the tale arrives when Prathap Reddy, on whom Bhanumathi has announced a bounty of Rs. 10 Cr if caught alive or dead, bumps into Balu and gets trapped by him in a funny gameplan that has comedian Prudhvi getting embroiled in a typical Brahmanandam-Sreenu Vaitla style.
But when the plan of the hero goes haywire, Prathap Reddy is back in action, ready to eliminate the heroine and her family.
It's now up to Balu to save their skin by playing a series of comical and confusing games.
The film starts out as a faction drama by telling the story of how the families of Ravinder Reddy and Prathap Reddy have been at each other's throats. The heroine's father is predictably very good-hearted, vying to render 'Mirchi'-style good (read peace) to the faction-ridden Seema land. On the other hand, the villains are incorrigibly mean and intent on bringing back the glory of 'Samarasimha Reddy'-level goriness.
By and by, it enters the rom-com zone (these portions are amateurish despite the presence of a formidable comedian like Vennela Kishore), only to turn into a hilarious drama of confusion and funny tricks with the entry of Prudhvi.
Debutante Pavan Mallela doesn't take the rivalry element too seriously and that's a blessing. In the second half, as Prudhvi, a photographer whose dream is to get a Padma Sri ("Celebrities ki Padma Sri ivvaru. Icchake celebrities avtaru. Mundu awards concept ento telusuko," he tells the hero somewhere) is fooled, as he continues to fear for his life, as comedian Srinivas Reddy's Chitti Babu Drama Company joins them, the proceedings elicit a good many laughs.
If Vennela Kishore, Raghu Babu, Duvvasi Mohan, Sathya and most other comedians are a damp squib, Prudhvi and Srinivas Reddy strike the right notes. Of course, credit must be given to Nara Rohit where it's due, for most of the comedy scenes involving the '30 Years Industry' saviour wouldn't have worked but for Rohit's complementing comic talent. (He even imitates Megastar Chiranjeevi's dialogue delivery style in a comedy scene).
Since there is a drama troupe, the tried and tested parody of the Draupadi disrobing episode arrives without compunction. Prudhvi as Dhritarashtra elicits laughs, although Regina's Duryodhana act falls flat.
When it comes to the action and romantic parts, only laziness is obvious. While the songs are generally a turn-off, 'Artharatri sooreedu' (featuring the lead pair and another girl) brings out the magic of Mani Sharma.
Ajay's character, which is quite crucial, goes missing for a good portion of the second half. And just as you think the story has been given a miss, too, the heroine slaps the hero so as to elevate her aunt's character.
All the Hyderabad tourism in the first half could have been avoided.
The anti-climax phase presents a cocktail of broken hearts, raging villains and male bonding between Prudhvi and Rohit.
Much was said about how Rohit has shed his weight. But that is hardly the biggest takeaway. His comic timing seems to have improved. With good action choreography, he would have seemed much better. He tries Rayalaseema and Telangana slangs to a good effect. Ajay's character was supposed to be blood-curdling, but he actually comes across as having lost his energy (and so, lines like 'Prathap Reddy ante sanchalanam' seem out of place)! Ramya Krishna's act makes an okayish impact, while Regina passes muster.
Vijay C Kumar's cinematography passes muster, while the BGM is okayish.
If you are looking for an escapist fare, you may give 'Balakrishnudu' a try. The comedy scenes involving Prudhvi, Nara Rohit and Srinivas Reddy work to a large extent.