Tag: telugu movies

Ala Vaikunthapurramloo

As The Swivel Chair Spins #6

Just a week after Visu’s demise, I saw Ala Vaikuntapuramlo which is the 2020 version of a Visu film. 

Had he seen it? Had he commented on it? I’ll never know. 

It is really a familiar set up of a change maker (Visu by default) who enters into a family, observes their problems (usually they dont get together) and solves it for them. 

Happy families are alike. Unhappy families (especially in Visu films) are unhappy in their own way. 

But here, director Trivikram Srinivas is greatly helped by lead actor Allu Arjun (Bantu) who seems to have built in to power a large mansion for at least a year. 

That mansion is Vaikunta Puram. 

Where a husband won’t speak to his wife. A son constantly disappoints his father to the level of doubting his birth (and rightly so) and a couple of good for nothing relatives and a scheming co worker (Murali Sharma is brilliant). 

Classic family set up. 

But Bantu by himself is a very well developed character, invested to the level of announcing to the audience what his “mannerism” is. Bantu is also developed using the one rule character development- he believes that telling the truth at all times is the best rather than lying. 

Obviously, this creates the main conflict when he is faced with his ultimate truth. 

Even though this is the most recent fun I have had streaming something, the movie by itself is not without problems- there is a paper thin villain and of course the women in Vaikuntapuram are criminally under developed- Pooja Hegde gets to be a start-up entrepreneur who gets tongue tied while speaking to an investor (?) and Tabu barely gets the scene, we only know about her from other characters. Nivetha Pethuraj doesn’t even get that. Most of the critical decisions are made and agreed upon by the men, even those who were at fault.

Yeah that’s a big paragraph, now let me shoot it back to say that this movie does not operate in any immediate reality, these constructs only exists in the mind of screenwriters a sense of hyper unreality as seen in the fights, dances, relationships etc- but they have managed to keep a family film at the core and still sell it, that’s really admirable. Add to this with Telugu cinema’s fascination with epics like the Ramayana. 

And heroine’s character name is Ammu, what’s not to like about that? I mean…

This streamed well. 

Parking Lot Notes: N.T.R: Kathanayakudu

An enduring aspect of Indian mass movies owes a lot to NTR, the aspect where everyone sees their hero as a divine being.

Sample this: Asia Week’s posthumous story on MGR was titled pretty much the same, a song from Kuselan harps about how cinema was the first to ‘show’ God on screen, it persists even today in the eyes of the people of Mahismati when they see Mahendra Baahubali. (also see Maya Bazar climax)

While the others in the list crafted an image playing heroic characters, NTR played the Gods themselves.

NTR is still my favorite on-screen Krishna (sorry Nitish Bharadwaj), I can exactly pinpoint when the movie Karnan (sorry Sivaji fans)  turns into the fun epic that it is, the moment NTR literally walks into the screen as Krishna (a similar scene is recreated in this movie) and of course Maya Bazar; arguably the greatest Indian film ever made (sorry Sholay fans and also looool sholay).

Sadly, NTR’s movies are not the focus points in this biopic.

The movies are just occurrences which pinpoint how great NTR the person was. Most of the dialogue is either a prophecy (which we now recognize as true) or a set-up for the sequel Mahanayakudu, which promises to trace the political life of the screen icon.

Knowing myself, I have already lost interest in the sequel. I am more interested in the man who played God and want to know more about the mythological movies, like how Daana Veera Soora Karna was shot in 43 days.

Balakrishna eases into the life of his father and the performance betters with surprising restraint  as the character ages. In-a-only-in-the-cinema-of-India-kind there is a meta moment when baby Balakrishna is born to the real Balakrishna who is playing his father and ends up naming himself!

Vidya Balan makes her Telugu debut, in a nothing much to write about already over played pillar of a support wife that most bio pics have.

While Balakrishna gets to play his father, Sumanth gets to play his grandfather Akkineni Nageswara Rao (ANR); in some portions it does feel like it is a story of these two actors lighting cigarettes, exchanging notes, reworking their careers, and collecting relief together. These are the portions that have stayed with me.


Now that you are here, why not see NTR and ANR in Lahiri Lahiri and wonder along with me, why no one is making a movie about how Maya Bazar was made!

Extra Notes

NTR and ANR featured themselves in a late career film called Chanakya Chandragupta, in which one actor called Sivaji Ganesan played Alexander the Great! I mean, yes!

Jai Mahismathi! I mean….Jai Pathalabhairavi!

FRS: Bharat Ane Nenu

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So you all know what an FRS is right? right?

-780.9: To us (Team FRS)

We are now doing FRS of Telugu (telungu as we tend to use) films even when having not  one percent knowledge of the language/culture/societal dynamix/audience expectation. That we are doing this in a brazen daylight manner (actually it is night while we type this, but brazen daylight has a nice ring to it) should attract more point cuts.

But we are kind to ourselves.

Also now that we are talking about things that we have no idea about, do we qualify to be called critics?

<Forget the above, we are getting on with it, in quite bit; lil rusty>

[Pause for Cough]

we welcome you to yet another episode of the FRS

[/Pause for Cough]

{we really wanted to use flower brackets, just for representation}

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+5: No Narration, well we know that is a hard thing to find these days 

+12: Hero is very much educated, well we know that is a hard thing to find these days 

-34: Hero is educated abroad in fact he has five degrees,(includes Iberian languages and town planning) but director does not focus on plunging student debt and such realities

-67: Money shot of hero running towards the audience, but is actually running for his convocation thing.

Bharat’s Law  (not Bar-at-law)

 You are not a mainstream Indian hero if you are not late for your own convocation; but of course you reach just in time before your name is announced.

Convenience wins!

+103: When asked what he is going to do with life after being soooo educated, hero says “I don’t know” which proves our primordial hypothesis that education fundamentally is useless. (Yes, we know)

-69.52: This ‘I don’t know’ then morphs into an opening song sung by none other than Farhan Akhtar; name of song raises doubts about where this movie is going.

Actually movie is going to the next scene. (-1 to us, don’t be a wise ass, always)

Next scene: Hero’s father is dead. (yes just like that)

And now director will use the travel back home duration to tell us what we really want to know about Bharat’s father and mother.  Your childhood memories, selectively aided by British Airways.

+45: Whole movie is about the importance of a promise or in other words the importance of keeping up a promise, a lesson that Bharat learns early on from his mother. A promise that he makes as chief minister also leading to make the villains ‘accountable’. Good overall thread, connects to title too.

-1947: Bharat’s father(Supreme Star Sarath) is dead, now we know that he was chief minister of Andhra Pradesh; obviously his son Mahesh Babu becomes the next CM.

Just like how silk sarees are passed across from mother to daughter, the thing that is passed from father to son is just an entire state. 

#DemocracyDemolished but didn’t see any think-pieces about how this film encourages autocratic rule and transfer of power and dynasties etc.

-56.2: Old CM’s family friend and mentor is played by Prakash Raaj which means that all the people in the 31 districts of Telangana and 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh know that he is the villain.

#KuchBhi

<sorry for spoiling, LOL>

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-35.912: Hero now becomes CM means we will be shown 3 hrs of slow motion CM walking with his aides footage with DSP music.

Many economists think that the slowness of the motion has a correlation with the slowness of economic growth.

But like most economists, they are wrong. Because Bharat changes everything in 8 months. Sab Teekh Ho Jayega.

[Pause for Cough]

This makes me wonder, is the real villain of this movie is Prakash Raaj or is he being pup-petted by a collegium of economists, who will not have enough TV air time in a booming economy? 

[/Pause for Cough]

+50: Whenever Kiara Advani is on screen

+51: Whenever Kiara Advani is on screen and wearing yellow dress

#FocusList2018 #VassumathiRox

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Is the above rating sexist? Should we add something about Mahesh babu wearing sunglasses to balance it? Maybe we should

[Insightful Intermission-also potential Facebook caption material]

 

Mahesh Babu wears sun glasses for 79.7% of the film, we interpret this as a big middle finger to all critics who said they could not see any of his expressions on his face in previous films.

This time, he didn’t allow them to see his eyes only.

[/Insightful Intermission-also potential facebook caption material]

-17:  Kiara Advani’s father is a middle class police constable who will surely have the honour of mouthing the dialogue ” after all we are middle class, what can we do?” or some such shixx in a socio-political film

-219: CM”s new research team recruits will consist of (surprise!surprise!) heroine Vasumathi. Reason for selection stated: “they are preparing for civil service exams”

#MeritBasedRecruitment

+10: If you want to be a good CM, the first thing you should focus on is traffic, good advice.

+72: Relentless hero is relentless, Mahesh Babu also has a mass re-entry scene much like the one Indiana Jones has in Raiders of the Lost Ark; should probably add more points for that shot from Slocombe

Keeping Up With The Joneses Rule (or the ONE rule of film making)

Never steal but if you can’t avoid it, always steal from the very best

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-34: Movie is cinematographed by two aces namely Tirru and Ravi K Chandran and pretty to look at but, for a man named Chandran he really does dial up on the sun flares and halos behind the hero.

We get it, guys! Watching this on amazon prime increased the heat on our already oven like laptop

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-400: Movie does not know what to do with heroine that it sends her to her hometown (I mean DEI!!), so going add more pix just for sakes

#BringBackVasumathi

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-52.33: All songs whenever, wherever

+127.9: Hero falls in love with one specific location for fighting scene that he requests all the goons to assemble there. Not seen anything like this!

-127.9: Movie builds up too many things but doesn’t really have the time, but then that’s why hero got second chance to become CM right?

Oh it is almost 2019 already. Intent matters, bro.

<All numbers are incidental and irrelevant, except the data provided by our data analytics team based out of Pune>

Yours sincerely

Team FRS

Subam

Vanakkam