In The Armchair


Posted in Movies and Entertainment by Armchair Guy on July 26, 2008

Or, another one bites the dust.

Chandra Sekhar Yeleti was, to me, the Golden Boy of Telugu cinema. Along with Sekhar Kammula, he looked like one of the few who bring a semblance of sanity to Telugu movies, with good plotting and realistic direction. Aithe was a great story, and although it had flaws (I didn’t think it was polished enough and hated the poorly spoken Telugu, and the acting was lacklustre), I thought it pointed to good things ahead. Then I saw Anukokunda Oka Roju, and I was sold on Yeleti. That movie was so perfect I could hardly find a flaw with it.

So it was that I looked forward to watching Okkadunnadu with a great deal of interest. I was hoping for something that was an improvement on Aithe, or even (though unlikely) on Anukokunda Oka Roju. When the movie first started, I thought I’d hit the mother lode. The first 30 minutes or so are excellent, with a tightly told explanation of the story’s basic premises and central problem. Having set me up with expectations of a blissful couple of hours, Yeleti then proceeded to demolish all of my hopes.

The first signs of trouble started with the Matrix-inspired wire-fu sequences when Kiran (Gopichand’s character) escapes from the hospital. Soon, he was single-handedly wiping a hospital drug-storage godown with 40+ goons. (When he hits a goon, the goon flies and lands a minimum of 20 feet away.) That could’ve stopped there, and the movie might still have been good – but that was not to be. Kiran solves all the problems he faces in this movie in this most direct fashion – by wire-fu-ing unbelievable hordes of thugs. There’s nothing else to the movie. The rest of the story is this: Kiran single-handedly bashes up Bombay’s most notorious don’s entire gang. He does so without any guile, either; simply walks into their midst and beats them all to a pulp.

What’s so sad about all of this is that Yeleti obviously has the ability to direct great movies. Perhaps it was the lukewarm box-office performance of his earlier films that prompted him to turn this potentially good movie into a no-holds-barred masala hotchpotch. It’s really too bad.

In short: stop watching this movie after the first 30 minutes. You’ll be left burning with curiosity, but perhaps unslaked curiosity is better than what you’ll see if you keep watching!

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