Saptagiri LLB Review
‘Saptagiri LLB’, starring Saptagiri, Sai Kumar and Siva Prasad in lead roles, hits the screens. Here is our review.
Saptagiri is a fresh LLB pass-out who wants to make a mark in the world of justice by winning one case after another so that he can marry his maradalu (Kashish Vohra).
When a hit-and-run case is closed without even an examination of a single witness, Saptagiri is shocked at the mockery of justice. He pits himself against the sharp-witted, high-profile lawyer Rajpal (Sai Kumar in a full-fledged role after a long time), who is arguing in favour of the well-heeled accused whose negligent, drunken driving has resulted in the death of six beggars.
Seeking a re-opening of the case, Saptagiri files a PIL. In the process, he discovers himself, realizes that miscarriage of justice is the norm in India, and becomes a star when he eventually wins the case against all odds.
A loose remake of ‘Jolly LLB’ (Hindi), the film was touted to be an emotional, hilarious court-room drama. Debutante director Charan Lakkakula was expected to adapt the original to suit Saptagiri’s quirky comic style. The pulls and pressures of playing by nativity rules and catering to the male lead’s image are many.
For most of the first part, the court set-up comes across as a skit taking place in an unreal ‘Jabardasth’-kinda world. Almost everyone competes with the comedy hero in playing to the gallery. The judge (played by TDP MP Naramalli Siva Prasad) can any time throw a fit and ask someone to do a ‘Goda kurchi’.
The hero’s characterization falls apart right from the word go. In the very first scene, he is introduced as a lawyer with a mind, albeit a funny man. In the next scene, a judge (played by Jhansi) is seen chiding him for bringing up frivolous cases! Then and there, it’s easy to see through the director’s intentions. We are expected to forget everything in the interests of ‘Jabardasth’-esque comedy. A few moments later, Saptagiri morphs into a mock Dandupalyam goonda, only to be bombed in the court premises by an unknown gang. The initial scenes sit ill at ease with each other.
Saptagiri has a ‘maradalu’, to marry whom he is desperate. He has to make the quick buck and show his legal intelligence at the first opportunity. This prompts him to challenge Sai Kumar’s character, a courageous act that wins him the laurels of his sidekicks (Shakalaka Shankar and others) and a righteous citizen (Gollapudi Maruthi Rao in a cameo). Later on, he falls for greed. His fall from grace for a brief is so sketchy that one wonders what is the point! Just because you have to engage the audience in a serious-minded scene, you don’t have to show such half-hearted scenes.
Whenever it’s the rom-com track, the flow suffers rather badly. For all the richness of the duets, it’s hard to bargain the comedian Saptagiri for the romantic Saptagiri.
The second half descends into a routine and the film refuses to stir itself out of its dungeon of clichés. Anything can happen in the court. The defense lawyer can insult the prosecution lawyer by showering such words as ‘Nela ticket gallu’. And the usually fiery and righteous Saptagiri can take a break while challenging Rajpal and lust after the latter’s female assistant! The judge, who has all along been behaving like a nincompoop, can assert himself in the climax and deliver an earth-shattering verdict, talking boldly like a JV Somayajulu on steroids! Nothing is consistent here.
It’s Sai Kumar’s full-fledged role that lends gravitas to the proceedings. He is remarkable as an unethical, corrupted lawyer who can go to any lengths to save his villainous clients. He is so full of himself and can sometimes gobble up the hand that feeds him! Watch his without-a-care-in-the-world body language in the court-room, which he feels has to listen to his diktats. Even as the prosecution lawyer and the judge are talking to each other, Rajpal is seen looking into his mobile with a trace of vanity.
The climax proves to be an undoing in the sense that Sai Kumar seems to dominate Saptagiri in terms of performance. You can watch the movie expecting the comedy hero to shine in a few dance moves rather than show something new with respect to humour. Siva Prasad is very good as far as his acting is concerned.
Prabhas Sreenu, Dhanraj and others in it roles are a throwback to the cheap comedy of a bygone era.
Bulganin’s background music works to an extent, while the songs are a turn-off in general. The cinematography and the art work pass muster.
A court-room drama that takes too many creative liberties and slides into clichés too often. A sense of seriousness is lacking. Saptagiri and Sai Kumar put in good performances, the latter more than the former.