'Katamarayudu' hits the screens today amid high expectations from Pawan Kalyan's die-hard fans. Here is our review of the massive release:
Katamarayudu (Pawan Kalyan) is his village's big brother who dispenses instant justice, runs a few ethical businesses, settles scores and shares a jivvu-full life with his four brothers (Ajay, Shiva Balaji, Chaitanya and Kamal Kamaraju) and his in-house 'vakeel' (played by Ali).
There hardly is an anomaly in his life, except that Katama has cramps before women can even think of living in his neighborhood.
The brothers, three of whom are in love themselves, now want to show their selfless brother the joy of love by making him fall in love. They find Avantika (Shruti Haasan), a Classical dancer, who is too sensitive to bloodshed.
After a few schemes played by the brothers, the two fall in love. But Katama's problems have only begun, as his sweetheart is the daughter of a pacifist Gandhian (played by Nasser), who is ultra-sensitive to action sequences, justified or otherwise.
There are remakes. Then there are puzzling remakes. 'Katamarayudu' belongs to the latter category.
First things first. The film is meant for those who are tossed into rapture when Power Star breaks into those been-there-done-that 'Jivvu Jivvu' dances, those infectious smiles in the presence of the heroine, those interactions with villains which come with a dose of 'gyan' (some times appropriated for Pawanism), etc.
Oh yes! The film has a story line. Only that, after the hero saves one family member after another from the heroine's family, the climax almost starts playing out in front of your eyes, unless you are someone who wants to delude yourself into thinking that they wouldn't have gone for a remake if it was so hackneyed.
Director Kishore Kumar Pardasani succeeds in projecting heroism quite well. The intro scene where even a bull in the backyard of Katamarayudu's house flies into rage when Pradeep Rawat asks 'Rayudu unnada?' is superb. From then on, Pawan's cult fan base is regularly catered to. 'Nenu dandha chesina neethi untadi.. Aapina neethi untadi,' so goes a punch line.
While the rom-com scenes involving Shruti, Pawan and Ali & Co are just so-so in terms of conceptualization, the 'Khushi' reference (read the interval 'nadumu' scene) and the like can excite fans.
Every time the legions of fans need something sexy on platter, a swashbuckling fight sequence here or boisterous bromance there is offered in the first half. It's in the second half that the fights become utterly uncool. (By the way, why do our selfless heroes, otherwise invincible, get beaten up only in the climax and in front of those who have been misunderstanding them?)
After projecting Rao Ramesh and Pradeep Rawat as loathsome and macabre, respectively, the screenplay delivers a merciless "drop" when they are turned into an imbecile and a fool, respectively. Tarun Arora's villainy doesn't substitute for the lack of a strong antagonist in general.
The humour works at times. In a role reversal of sorts, a relative tells Pawan what he had said his relative in 'Attarintiki Daredi': 'Ekkada neggalo kadu.. Ekkada taggalo teliyali'. 'Naku preminchadam tappa, prema ela cheppalo teliyadu', so goes another. Some of the scenes start off as serious ones, but midway have a change of genre, as if a genre-change surgery was performed on them!
Pawan's dignified performance saves the day. In his 'Komaram Puli' mustache and 'pancha kattu', he comes with an admirable poise. His dialogue-delivery and the chemistry with his brothers and the heroine are enjoyable.
Shruti Haasan as a dance trainer with a touch of innocence is good. She does a fine job in the songs. If Nasser is routine, Rao Ramesh is striking. Shivaji Balaji, Chaitanya and Kamal pass muster, but Ajay stands out. Ali is his routine self. Manasa Himavarsha and others are seen in bit roles.
Anup Rubens' songs come out well on the big screen. The songs, barring 'Yelo Yedarilo Vaana' and 'Laage Laage', are not up to the mark. The title song is blighted by insipid choreography.
Prasad Murella's cinematography deserves kudos. Brahma Kadali's art work adds richness to the visuals.
'Katamarayudu' works because of Powerstar, who gives a number of fanboy moments with utter ease and grace. While it will take time to establish the exact antiquity of the story (given how antiquated it is ASI should step in), the film works to an extent.