If you have watched sport closely, you would have observed a few writers and commentators talking about what is called ‘game face’. It basically means bringing on a front that might/might not be a part of your real persona, but acts as a mask to show you mean business to the opposition.
Evidence of this can be found in Dale Steyn, who uncoils like a monster snake when he takes a wicket and is persistently in your face when he strikes the rhythm he wants. You should see this when he says, “I know that you are hurt, but I am not gonna apologise”
Rafael Nadal scowls, screams and shouts during a game. He goes to a point where he refuses to acknowledge good points by his opponents. It is all in the field of play. Both the players are gentlemen off the field. Nadal, if you listen to him in his press conferences is so courteous that it is difficult to believe his transformation on the court.
The reason I make this point is that there must be something similar in movies too. The person donning the greasepaint becomes a different man altogether. Where we see a man struggling to put across his thoughts, fumbling with words and generally being lost for words metamorphosizes into a performer with panache on screen. Yes, we are talking about Balakrishna.
Legend comes on the back of many expectations, because the last movie in the combination of Balakrishna and Boyapati Seenu- Simha- had set the cash registers ringing. This movie too follows a similar format, just that there are a few political overtones associated with the script. The director of the movie works feverishly to elevate the image of Balakrishna. Difference between Simha and Legend lies in the way the elevation is handled. In Simha, it is basically the character that Balakrishna plays that’s elevated, but in Legend it seems as if the director wants to elevate Balakrishna, the person. In fact, the proceedings at certain moments weren’t far removed from being sycophantic.
It’s Balakrishna, the actor that redeems the movie from its mundane proceedings. He seems to love the camera and the camera too loved him back. He seems regal in appearance in a lot of shots in the second half where the actual story unfolds. He is amazing when talking about women and their greatness. A pity that this well-conceived scene wasn’t to be seen by a lot of women in the theatre I watched the movie in.
Another actor who tried to rise above the restrictions laid on him by the script was Jagapathi Babu. In the initial moments, it is a pleasure to watch him modulate his dialogues with growing age. The director, for some strange reason, resorts to reducing him to a villain who just rants and shouts in every scene that he makes an appearance in. Radhika Apte gets a few good dialogues in the movie. The lady playing the grandmother character had nothing to do other than sporting a permanent frown throughout the movie. Boyapati Seenu wastes good actors like Suhasini and Sitara in inconsequential roles.
Boyapati Seenu has failed as a director in this movie, the way he failed as one for Dammu. He stops himself short of taking the film to the next level by confining himself to a template based direction. Sometimes you feel as if the faces of a few characters from Simha have been changed and placed in the movie.
Verdict: In what could’ve been a Balakrishna’s own version of Tagore, the director fails the movie and makes it just another movie. Watch it for Balakrishna
Image courtesy: Idlebrain.com