'Adhinayakudu' is more a family drama than a political pot-boiler. Minus hyperbole, ridiculous stunts and over-the-top melodrama, 'Adhinayakudu' is watchable once, with the proceedings pepped up by a resurgent Balakrishna. Speaking of its other side, the film could have done better with a more interesting plot and less confusion. Paruchuri Murali has written good dialogues, but there is nothing to carry home for the fans out there. Some of the lines sound like mothballs, and it is the hero's characteristic baritone that saves the day. They would have sounded quite vacuous in the mouth of a lesser mortal. As for his directorial sense, it has its share of glaring loopholes which suffers the tempo and pace.
The first 20 minutes were incongruent. First Inspector Murali Sharma and Opposition leader Kota strike a deal with Pradeep Rawat to kill the much-revered Rayalaseema icon, Ramakrishna Prasad (Balayya). Next, an unnatural trend-setter (Balayya, again) gets his target right in a golf session. Soon, a lecherous son of a Minister kills a girl after molesting her. In comes our young Bobby, who enters the Minister's household as a journo, terrorises the father-son duo in a badly-choreographed fight, and makes them confess to the rape before the camera. As if these bombardments are not enough, we are introduced to the scheming plans of Bobby's trusted guardian, Charan Raj, who commits suicide after letting Bobby know who his father is. Pathetically enough, we see Lakshmi Rai enter the scene in the next frame, and the film descend into romance-comedy mode. Now Bobby travels to Rayalaseema and during his train journey, he indulges in some fun with Lakshmi Rai, introduces Saloni in a fictional story and sleeps off.
The film picks up pace after this phase of hiccups. The Brahmi-Balayya comedy track is an asset. Lakshmi Rai is a raunchy doll, not a performer. Kalyan Mallik's music and BG score are both surprisingly good; at least two songs were spoiled by not-so-intelligent picturization though. Ram-Lakshman's fights come without proper tempo but Balayya looks convincing in these difficult action scenes.
Balayya is promising in all the three roles. The senior most, as a people's leader, comes with a unique Seema slang. His performance is dignified, whereas the son's role is equally good. If the actor could make his point effectively without having to resort to in-your-face self-importance, it is because of the characterization and not the dialogues. Adhinayakudu would have been another passable fare without the hero's verve. As of the young one, he is there to do dishum-dishum and romance.
The film seems to get knotty towards the end. The villains don't have much to do. Paruchuri's ideas go dry for want of a sufficient plot. Nobody except the outcaste son is concerned about the protection of a mass leader. When their targets keep failing, the villains abduct this son's son to raise him against his family and to field him to kill one after one. Doesn't this plot sound way too paper-thin? If you go expecting some explosive political references, you will be in for disappointment. The movie is entirely apolitical.
Jayasudha and other important characters do justice to their roles. Venu Madhav makes a comeback but doesn't add anything. Brahmanandam is helped by a novel idea, more than by a humorous line or two.
In the absence of an edge-of-the-seat plot, the film is all the less promising. The story is told in a complicated fashion when the plot was quite simple and oldish. Adhinayakudu draws from time-tested stories and presents its own rare conflict point. Otherwise, it doesn't deserve special mention.
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