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Times of India
: The complete absence of thrill factor is what proves to be the biggest stumbling block for the movie. Even the suspense surrounding who plans the murder attempt on Anna just isn't engaging enough.
: Some actors have the ability to rise above the film they are acting in. Without even wearing an iota make up, Mohan Babu manages to lend a sense of believability to the character of a good natured strongman who reigns supreme in an unspecified fiefdom in Rayalaseema.
In an undeniable acting master class, the veteran of over 500 films exudes a simmering intensity with most random of gestures like shaking his foot, letting out a sigh hhuuu when he wants someone dead, his intonation when uttering the word respect, or just lifting his lungi to show his displeasure. The filmmaker deserves all credit for extracting that performance as well.
There's no doubt fans of Mohan Babu will have much to rave about the movie. Even his harshest critics will struggle to find fault with the performance but admirers of Ram Gopal Varma and the Godfather trilogy might not echo the same sentiments. It's not a bad film per say...but lacks that something that separates the good ones from the rest.
In trying to suitably adapt to the commercial diktats of Telugu cinema the filmmaker might just have taken a few too many liberties with the characterizations of the iconic characters of the much celebrated Mario Puzo novel. So the factionist equivalent of a Don Vito Corleone breaks into a duet on his sashtipurthi (60th birthday) celebrations with his wife. He even has no qualms in playing second fiddle to his wife in matters of the home.
Bhushan (Kishore), the Sonny Corleone equivalent becomes the evil son of the family who'd rape a woman just because her brother expresses his disapproval at the way in which Bhushan eyed her. Vishnu plays the deserving heir who embodies all that's worth emulating about his father. In one particular scene designed to accentuate the difference between the two sons we have Bhushan sipping on beer when talking down to his kid brother Krishna who sips coffee from his cup while looking on intently. Obviously there isn't any subtlety about this film that seeks to blend the gritty elements of Hollywood's film noir traditions with the tackiness of Tollywood family drama.
The villains are even more caricaturized. Tanikella Bharani plays this sermonizing politician who keeps throwing profoundly tacky one-liners. There is one who just keeps eating cake and another who is always dressed in a black coat with tie sporting a bald patch. Vishnu tries his best to look the part of a no non sense character but his diction and voice modulation just aren't there yet.
The complete absence of thrill factor is what proves to be the biggest stumbling block for the movie. Even the suspense surrounding who plans the murder attempt on Anna just isn't engaging enough. Despite the predominant brown color tone and blaring background score, there just aren't enough moments that could leave you with a strand of hair or two rising.
More than anything else, the film once again goes to prove how difficult it is to adapt an international best seller into the song, dance and hero worshiping package of mainstream Telugu cinema. It just isn't good enough for us unless it's lame enough.