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Sarileru Neekevvaru Is A Treat For Mahesh Babu’s Fans

Sarileru Neekevvaru

Starring Mahesh Babu, Vijayashanthi, 

Rashmika  Mandanna, Prakash Raj

Directed  by  Anil Ravipudi

Rating:*** ½ (3 and a half stars)

Mahesh Babu has always been the  poster-boy for  cinema  with a relevant theme and contemporary topic.This  is  the  first time  I’ve seen  him having so much fun with a role. In a film that takes  him from the  army base of Kashmir(where in the preamble we see  him  fool around with his sidekick/friend over a cup of coffee while  a timebomb ticks away in a public square—cool, did someone  say?)  to the town of Kunoor where  the righteous professor Vijayshanthi(back  on screen  after a long hiatus, looking  serene ) is in need  of serious help from our all-purpose  hero.

 In-between Kashmir and Kunoor there is a lengthy train journey which is an independent film  of its own. It comprises the fidgety  plot’s   romantic leading lady Rashmika Mandanna and  her  family desperate to marry her off to any man who would have her. Mandanna who really has no place in the plot,spends the  entire  film  stalking and  coochie-cooing our armyman hero who couldn’t be bothered less.He has far  more important things to do than  pay attention to  woman whose  IQ level is seriously underdeveloped.

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 There is an element  of  the  outrageous  in  the  way the  romantic leading lady insinuates  herself into the hero’s life over and  over again when clearly he, and the  film’s screenplay, have no place for her.But  then this is  a Telugu film. Mahesh Babu without  a heroine to sing dance romance and foolaround with,  is as unimaginable  as Prakash Raj not  bringing his  comic timing  into  his  slimy villainy. 

Unmistakably the  plot belongs  to Mahesh Babu and then Vijay Shanthi and  Prakash Raj . The rest are  precocious perks,  diversive  bumps  that come  with the terrirory that Mahesh Babu  lords over with such  equipoise. His dancing with  Rashmika at the end  and earlier with Tamannah Bhatia(in a  guest  appearance) is a rabblerousing  delight.

Mahesh Babu’s confrontation sequences with  Prakash Raj  show more writing skills than some  of the  other episodes  in this lengthy film that jumps audaciously from the comic to the action sometimes within  the same scene. In one specially inventive sequence  Prakash Raj brings on the mob  to teach Mahesh Babu a  lesson. As they move forward  menacingly with  blood in their eyes  Mahesh loudly announces that Samantha(Akkineni) is  visiting  in the  next street.

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The  mob  disperses magically. One wishes  there were  more such  cleverly  conceived interludes  in the plot  which tends  to wander into bylanes with deadends. But then  we have Mahesh Babu. He  is that decisive factor which  makes the audience cast its vote in the film’s favour,no matter how scattered  the flavour. Here he  is  more in the mood  to  please  the masses  than he has  ever been. His pre-climax  monologue on  political corruption  is  bound to bring the house down, though you may be wondering how a cocky soldier  reached  the  parliament. 

Sarileru Neekevvaru has plenty of  patriotism and family sentiments. But most  of all it  has the audacity to use  its charismatic leading man’s presence in loops of  high-flying heroics which  salute the  enduring star-power  of  an actor who never seems to age.No matter that the provocation  or the cause for rage.

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