If Reddeppa (Milind Gunaji) mixes business, politics and crime, Krish Jagarlamudi mixes theater drama, dance and a bit of anger and angst in 'Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum'. The trailers deluded us into believing that we are in for an aggregate of 'Aakali Rajyam' kind of frustration and 'Osey Ramulamma' kind of rebellion. It turns out that 'Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum' is more a measured tribute to Surabhi (a theater form) rather than a tantalizing take on a crony capitalist regime that defrauds the nation and beefs up the coffers of bandicoots.
It is an irony that while Krish is a cerebral individual in real life, his heroes are invariably self-centered and who always have to be awakened by the heroine's prose or someone else's poetic words. It would not matter much in a film like 'Gamyam', if the male lead is just another cynic who is guiltless about his lowly preoccupations. A canvas like 'KVJ' requires a hero who comes with a mind of his own, rather than end up seeming like an accidental hero.
In the fantastic world of Bellary, Reddeppa, a notorious amasser of one lakh crore, is silly enough to enter the battlefield, waiting to slug it out with whoever wants to dare him. At times, he is sans his security guards and common sense. As if one such unthinking character is not enough, there is Devika, who breaks into dances with her man at the drop of a hat. Suffice it to say that 'KVJ's screenplay is a reminder of run-of-the-mill villainy, sadism and fun, not to forget the oldish elements of revenge against the killer of parents.
Devika (Nayanathara) adds spice with her voluptuous looks, and as she leers away at the handsome hunk, one wants to ask, "who is more rapacious - Reddeppa or Devika?" As for N Narayana Murthy-like daring, there is none. Oh yes, Krish shows chutzpah - by having a song for Reddeppa!
Littered with bright romance in the songs (which somehow don't excite), filled at many places with not-so-interesting comedy, 'KVJ' is thankfully elevated by some superb lines, Mani Sharma's nimble back ground score, Rana's intensity in emotional and action sequences and two twists that perk up the entertainment quotient. Without the theater scenes, which are exalting and dexterous, 'KVJ' would have been nothing more than old wine in an old bottle. That the Surabhi element enriches the narrative is a bonus!
B Tech Babu (Rana)wants to abandon his legacy, settle down for work in America and earn in dollars. As destiny would have it, he ends up moving to Bellary to perform in the grand Navratri series of sequences as per the last wish of his grandfather. As he starts his work there in the lawless world, he accidentally ends up locking horns with Reddeppa's thugs on the one hand and on the other, bumps into Nayanathara, the bold and idealistic documentary-maker, who wants to uncover the unknown past and illegal activities of Reddeppa.
How his encounter with Devika, the sole conscience-keeper in this country of "450 news channels", transforms Rana's thinking and consequently truncates the villain's life, forms the rest of the story.
'KVJ's strength lies in its being artistic and angsty, albeit in bits and pieces. The chaste Telugu is amazing, brightened up by Rana's impeccable dialogue delivery. Kota's idealism, Devika's inner personality, LB Sriram's 'insane' devotion for earth, and the bonhomie among the Surabhi group members - they all work fine.
The dialogues (by Burra Sai Madhav) are its biggest asset, though they are not consistently superb. "Koneru talli astikalane matti lo kalipesaru", is one such dialogue. 'Thindi lekapoyina parva ledu, mattini adigithe pettuddi. Matte lekapothe?" is another. The scene in the police station works fine.
'KVJ's weakness lies in its being not substantial. For most part, it keeps us wondering which character will be caught hold by which character in the endless cat and mouse chase. One feels that the interlacing of the theater scenes should have been more exciting, nuanced and straightforward - the kind of refreshing juxtaposition (between film and reality) that we saw in 'Rang De Basanti'.
Rana looks fit for the role for most part. There is a sparkle on his face that is not welcome here. He looks energetic and overpowering in all the action sequences, which are well-choreographed. Nayanthara is gorgeous but speaks only one good sentence. She dubs for herself and succeeds in it.
Milind Gunaji as the main villain and the bunch of comedians (read Raghu Babu, Brahmi, Posani, Sathyam Rajesh) are good. One remembers nothing about Murali Sharma except his dubbing.
As already mentioned, Mani raises the quotient at many moments. Gnana Sekhar's cinematography and Sravan's editing are fine.
Released on : 30th Nov, 2012