'Feel-good Star' Krishna Bhagawan (as it is shown in the titles) is a lead for the first time in Kuchipudi Venkat's John Apparao 40+. Simran and Krishna Bhagawan make a unique combination, to say the least. 'Feel Good' might be going too far, John Apparao feels just okay. Read on.
Plot Apparao is a 40+ unmarried designer from Vizag into whose life walks in the beautiful Pravallika who he falls in love with. She wants Apparao to come with her to London where she wants to start a design studio. But she is in contact with John, a terrorist who is involved in recent bomb blasts in Hyderabad and looks exactly like Apparao. Apparao's life is in danger, and Pravallika's intentions mysterious while the former's adventures begin in Hyderabad while waiting for his visa.
Story, Screenplay and Direction John Apparao is comic in parts. There is this whole 'Banana' plot which has surely been developed as they went along. Apparao's weakness is stealing bananas and when he gets mistaken for John in Hyderabad, he always assumes the police/public are thirsty for his blood since they labeled him as a Banana Thief and has absolutely no idea about his look-alike and his vicious crimes. For that brief 20 minutes, the movie really gets comical. The bride-hunting episodes in the first half might put a smile on your face, but there's no rib-tickling comedy here.
The direction for most of the first half is quite shoddy, and the production values weak. That can be overlooked had the situations or dialogues really been funny. Most of the times, they are not but for some audiences with fewer demands from comedies, even this might amuse. Like Apparao cuts up models' dresses and earns accolades and praises from all and sundry. He's watching an adult movie, with a thermometer (graphic) going up. An unnecessary song with a model who kisses him for 'modifying' (tearing up) her dress to make it look 'better' and all the songs being remixes or parodies is one more trend in the movie.
The entire terrorist angle is inconsistent, with John talking in Telangana for some time and having a Dubai accent for a while. Not just that, first we get the impression that they do the bombing for money and towards the end it is unclear whether it is for money or it is a religious war. Pravallika is shown as being ruthless with absolutely no sense of social responsibility, whereas an announcement about a bomb-scare stampede from the radio makes her repent and changes her direction. Well, she always knew who those people were and what atrocities they committed.
Performances Krishna Bhagawan manages to get away with the title role(s) and gives it his all. This is obviously a one-off and the script helps him tremendously. Actually, there is just an episode or two in the movie that really tickles the funny bone and there he does a flawless job. Apart from that, the rest of the movie itself is average and so is his scope. Simran still has the oomph factor and it is unfair that her choices are so limited at this point. Had the script been even slightly better in the first half and not dragged in the second half, this combi and the little comedy would have really clicked.
Song and Dance Parodies and remixes.
Last Word A seen-before first half with half-baked themes and jokes. A second half with focus on the goodness in Apparao and the cruelty in John. One amusing episode that develops with the plot, climaxing in the second half. Direction, dialogues or music-for the most part, nothing to write home about. In totality, for those who prefer some laughs no matter what, John Apparao will provide that although it drags a little. Otherwise, as a comedy it is average and as a movie, highly forgettable.