At the outset, Chandu (Balakrishna) is a middleclass man employed at a supermarket but he is hiding a secret and there's another world where people fear even the mention of his name. Why is he living in hiding?
Over the years, and especially after a spate of films like Simha, Legend and Lion, there's one thing we have understood about a Balakrishna film. It's not incomplete without a checklist. Before talking about how the film is, it is absolutely necessary to mark these off.
Hero is initially the simple man who has a secret. Check. Hence a flashback. Check. Where he is the almighty. Check. He has to tell people in some form or the other that they won't have their next birthday (as in, he threatens to kill: chachipotav!). Check. He'll dance with at least two girls (in this there are four). Check. Well, that's how you switch on the Balakrishna mode and then all you have got to do is watch the film with an open mind.
Being true to that checklist, Dictator takes you into the life of Chandra Sekhar Dharma alias Chandu (Balakrishna) who is leading a very simple life as an employee of a supermarket. When an acquaintance (Sonal Chauhan) is in trouble, he intervenes and things take a surprising turn taking us into another life that defined his past.
Three questions might arise as you watch the film. One, doesn't Balakrishna get bored of doing the same kind of roles again and again? Nope. Two, don't cine goers get bored of watching him do the same kind of films repeatedly? From the cheers in the cinema halls, evidently not! And does this formula still work? Surprisingly, yes.
The thing about Dictator is that it doesn't pretend to be a new story and is outright true to what it wants to do - entertain. It is a complete one man show where Balakrishna shines at every instance. From giving you his most dancing ever (Imagine him doing a moonwalk and singing 'What's up baby') to actually looking cute in the Tingo Tingo song, the actor is a surprise packet of fireworks waiting to explode in all its glory. Added to that is his dialogue delivery which is as effortless as ever. He is aided by some noteworthy performance by Anjali, Rati Agnihotri and Sonal Chauhan.
While director Sriwas does an impressive job of playing to the gallery, one would expect more in terms of innovation from him. Though he does give his own spin to the same old tale, it would be nice to watch him give us a new story especially with someone like Balayya, whose potential filmmakers have been channeling in only one direction for years now.
In the list of fails in this film would be the comedy which leaves you with little or no laughs at all. And then, the first half moves on to be very slow, though it is compensated by the pace of the latter part of the film. Even Sonal Chauhan who is seen in a very important chunk of the film is suddenly missing after the flashback episode and her story gets no logical end. For some reason, the villains (except Rati Agnihotri who is marvelous) have been asked to overact. As for logics, please remember it's a Balakrishna film you are watching!
'Nenu edi fix avvanu. Okka sari fix aite relax avvanu,' says Balakrishna in the film. Well, he doesn't relax really and give one of his best performances. This one may not go down as a milestone in his career but for his fans, this will certainly be the 'full plate meals' they desire.