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Rajamouli-Raviteja Combo Clicks
APK | June 23, 2006
Rating: ***.25 (***** Very Good, **** Good, *** Fair, ** Average, * Bad)
Cast: Raviteja, Anushka, Ruthika, Meghna Naidu, Prakashraj, Vineeth Kumar, Brahmanandam, Ajay, Madhu Sharma, Ali, Jayaprakash Reddy and Others.
Art: R. Ravinder.
Cinematography: Sarvesh Murari.
Dialogue: M. Ratnam.
Editing: Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao.
Music: MM Keeravani.
Producer: ML Kumar Chowdary.
Story: V. Vijayendra Prasad.
Director: SS Rajamouli.
Banner: Sree Keerthi Creations.
Release Date: 23rd June, 2006.
Simhadri was one of the biggest blockbusters of Telugu cinema. It was one of those rare movies where everyone-the producers, the director, the distributors and even the theatre owners benefitted. The lead actor NTR reached such a high and miracles were expected out of him after that.
The story (as we all remember): A village simpleton goes to Kerala to reunite his master's daughter with her family, falls in love with the daughter's daughter and fights Kerala's Don thereby saving the entire population. Taking a cue from Rajamouli, director Puri Jagannath also made NTR save Mumbai from their don in Andhrawala. But that didn't work out properly and the movie failed. Now Rajamouli has repeated this theme again, and trust this director to copy himself with style. Read on.
Plot The movie opens with a revelation that inspector Vikram Singh Rathod is not dead and a villainous looking 'Bavji' digs up his grave to find it full of stones. The movie then shifts to Vikram's look-alike (or is it the same man?) Satti Babu, a petty conman who lives off cheating people along with his assistant (Brahmanandam). He falls in mutual love with a north Indian girl called Neeraja (Anushka) and tells her honestly that he is a thief, promising her that he will not commit thefts anymore.
In a railway station, he spots a woman wearing loads of gold and manages to steal her trunk, thinking it might have more gold in it-he does it as one last con job to survive the rest of his life. To their horror, they discover a little girl in that trunk and because of a suspicious police officer, he has to take care of that girl. He doesn't like kids, but he eventually ends up forming a bond with the child, who insists on calling him 'nanna'. Seeing this, Neeraja suspects him to have had a previous relationship and leaves him. People set out to kill him, and he doesn't know who they are.
Finally, the truth comes out-Vikram Singh Rathod, his posting in a dacoit infested area in MP where he kills the Don Bavji's son and almost rids the area of their fear-but Bavji's younger brother Titla survives 'killing' Rathod. Did Rathod really die? And who will end the reign of the dacoits there? That forms the rest of the story.
Story, Screenplay & Direction: This is the longest synopsis till date. And the movie feels really long, it isn't. It moves fast, one thing after another happening to lead to the final predictable end. The end is predictable, we all know what happens and we guess it a couple of minutes after the interval (those of us who've passed third standard), but Rajamouli's typical narration makes it watchable, even interesting. Even when we know what's coming next and how the hero is going to outsmart the villain, it is fun to watch Raviteja perform the role tailor made for him.
Look at the story: Simple, petty thief Satti Babu saves an entire valley from the clutches of a dreaded dacoit gang in some other land. Sounds familiar? Well, it's almost like watching Simhadri revamped. Not only that, remember the 'Cheema' thread that ran for almost half an hour in Simhadri with Ankita? Well, Anushka's navel gets 20 minutes of screen time in Vikramarkudu-but hey, you see no one is complaining. The choice of actors, and the little things that Rajamouli adds makes the movie stand out from the 100 other recently released villain bashing-demigod hero flicks.
Rajamouli's villains are all such dreadful characters, sinking to such evil acts that are disturbing. After 'Bhai Saab' in Simhadri and 'Bhikshu Yadav' in Sye, we have one more atrocious character who will not be forgotten that fast-Titla. He burns a man's house with his wife and kids locked inside it, and the whole village is so scared that no one helps them. Bavji's son harasses women in the village, and the way it is shown is gory.
The comedy track is sometimes good fun, sometimes embarrassingly scummy-especially those involving Anushka's navel. The romance between the lead pair is a little silly, and not very convincing. The sentimental bonding that Satti Babu has with the little girl is sweet, and the scene where they actually bond after he breaks her precious cassette with her mother's voice is emotional without being melodramatic. One really good dialogue is when Vikram's senior officer, Prakash Raj, tells him that a man needs fear to live and he replies to that.
The art direction (R. Ravinder) is very good and the audiences are transported to Chambal valley whenever Vikram goes there. The editing is slick and thankfully not jerky.
Performances Raviteja is back with a bang, and it is his best after Idiot. He has a really good screen presence, and one does not get bored watching him, even when he hams sometimes, it is forgiven. His flair for comedy is such that only he can do it-he is the most original actor we have. Whether you like him or hate him, one cannot ignore him. After directing Prabhas in Chatrapati, Rajamouli must have been delighted with the completely opposite Raviteja who is much older and energetic, and has 12 expressions a minute.
Anushka hardly has anything to do, but she manages. Titla (Ajay) rocks, he shows how versatile he is as an actor. Bavji (Vineeth Kumar) overacts a bit. Brahmanandam, Prakashraj and all the other supporting actors have very little to do, but they are aces when it comes to roles like these, they do this movie after movie; Prakashraj gets a lot of practice playing a cop and Brahmanandam playing a sidekick to the lead. Rajeev Kanakala is a good actor and another Rajamouli favorite. He shines too, along with Rajamouli's blue-eyed boy, Titla (Ajay).
The Music And The Moves Not one of MM Keeravani's great scores, first class but not distinction. But Raviteja is energetic and has his unique style (much needed for a Telugu film hero) and we forget about the music after sometime. Anushka dances well; basically for this movie, the music won't elevate the movie, it has to be the other way round. After 'Nuvvu Whistlesthe' in Simhadri (here we go again), we have 'Dammare Damma' in Vikramarkudu-similar setting (two girls and one man), similar steps and almost synonymous lyrics.
And the verdict is.. This is a general announcement: In the recently released Veerabhadra, Bangaram, the highly successful Pokiri and now Vikramarkudu, the heroes slay about 100 men each. Kudos to all of them-and that too without too many scratches on themselves. Oh well, welcome to the land of Telugu cinema.
This is a typical Rajamouli movie. And if you've enjoyed Simhadri and Sye (in that order), this movie will strike the right chord with you. One thing is that Vikramarkudu never bores you. It will keep you glued to the screen, because so many things happen all the time and the narrative moves quickly. There is loads of violence, a little bit of romance, a bowlful of sentiment and ample heroism, not to forget the most evil villains. A treat for Raviteja and Rajamouli fans.