Starring Ravi Teja, Shruti Haasan, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, and Samuthirakani
Directed by Gopichand Malineni
Rating: ** ½
Everyone hams in this mara(maari)thon of quips, skits, kick and grunts . It is the director’s brief. Loud loud loud! Scream, shout, rant, run, fall, run again….Which was the standard fare in the 1980s. In recent times Indian cinema, specially Malayalam cinema , has grown up. Not Telugu, The prevalent atmosphere is still verbal aggression.
Even the little boy who plays Ravi Tejaa’s son is an expressions-ki-dukaan, so much so he can put the cartoon network to shame. It runs in the family, I guess. This cartoonish performing act. Ravi Taja who is known as the Masala Maharaja down South, ladles the masala so voluminously it’s like an over-anxious housewife who is not sure about the dishes being served to guests . Ravi Tejaa who hasn’t had a hit for aeons is desperate to grab attention. He makes sure he is omnipresent in every scene. He’s either physically present in every scene. If not, the other characters on the screen keep speaking about him, as if they have nothing better to do. Which they don’t really.
Resurrecting the Masala Maharaja’s career is a full-time job. Director Gopichand Malineni is more than up to the task. He has crafted a wildly heaving jerking lumbering potboiler which requires the hero to be funny,furious, ferocious and fierceless.The film opens a closeup shot of a 50-rupees note, a raw mango and a nail in the middle of the road. This, I am sure, was the screenplay writer’s devious ploy to get our attention.
The funny lines keep popping up everywhere . In an early sequence where the hero Shankara apprehends a terrorist and his wife posing as Hindu tenants(how does he catch them? He sees the wash lady enter their home with a burqa in her hand, soooooo clever, no?) the terrorist’s wife pulls a gun on Shankara who drawls, “Oh Annapurna has become Gun-purna”.
Presumably the character was named Annapurna only so that Ravi Tejaa can have fun with the crowdpleasing line rhyming Anna with Gun to make the movie run. Krack abounds in such interludes where the lines and situations are tailored to get the Masala Maharaja the applause he desperately he needs.
He gets it. Most of the way, Krack gets our attention in the same way that two dogs mating on the street get a passerby’s attention.There is an item song where the dancer heaves and thrusts in gravity-defying postures. There are no quiet or subtle moments in this film. If that’s what you’re looking for I am afraid you are in the wrong place. Ravi Tejaa turns on the bloodbath full blast against the film’s archvillain Katari Krishna(Samuthirakani) who practices the kind of lowbrow villainy which we thought had timed out three decades ago.
His mistress, played by the wonderful Varalaxmi Sarathkumar is far more interesting. She likes evil men,sex and the movies, in that order and she offers no apology for her sociopathic behavior. In comparison the film’s leading lady Shruti Haasan is boringly coy, saree, naughty glances exchanged with her better half, and all. After the first 15 minutes she vanishes , only to reappear in the pre-climax for some ridiculously misguided fist-to-fists with the villains.
The climactic fight on the beach is the film’s highlight. Excellently staged and almost ballet-like in its measured movements. Sadly, the rest of the film lacks rhythm and grace, none more so than the leading man who behaves like a performing artiste in a circus. He jumps, he squeals. He is Masala Maharaja who doesn’t know where to stop and doesn’t care if the overdose of masala becomes indigestive for the audience.