Naanaku Prematho review

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Brian Charles Lara – This man was an exceptional batsman, doing stuff that few were capable of doing. He had an ability that was second to none. To date, he remains the only person to reclaim the highest individual innings score.

Till 2011, for a period of five years, he held the record of figuring in most lost matches. 63 of them. It was eventually broken by a teammate of his – Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Now, ala Jagapathi Babu fashion, in the movie, I will ask you to remember this.

****

Sukumar’s title rolls are among the best in the industry. In this movie too, the title rolls are brilliant. But then there is a sense of deja vu to it as a similar thing was seen by me just a few weeks ago . Sukumar has had to bear the burden of being an ‘intelligent’ director. Sometimes, it seems as if he himself buys into the hype and over complicates a normal situation. Case in point, Jagapathi Babu’s introduction scene. The scene neither points to the menace of the man or to his intelligence. However, as the movie proceeds, we are provided an insight into his personality.

The scene where NTR asks Jagapathi Babu to play his own game, Jagapathi Babu, for the fear of being upstaged, asks one of his henchmen to play his game and when he realises he lost, he says the henchman lost the game. That is, at once, indicative of flaws and strengths of Sukumar at the same time. Strength because he built that scene up beautifully well (in a standalone manner). Flaw, because without setting the menace or the cantankerous nature of the man, he ran the risk of  making him a side note in the story.

Though it is difficult to maintain a count, there are as many good sequences as there are bad. One of the worst flaw in the movie is the lack of continuity or you can call it as undermining the audience too. When you yourself are pitched as an ‘intellectual’ or a ‘brilliant’ director and known for making ‘intelligent’ movies, you can’t have sequences for the sake of convenience.

There’s one sequence in the movie where NTR wanting to gift Jagapathi Babu a painting asks his associates to get the same painting from an auction. When the associates end up with a counterfeit, NTR rejects that painting because of a stroke of Cobalt Blue in the wing of the butterfly.  According to his reasoning the colour didn’t exist 2 centuries ago but when he has the original, he has no qualms in placing a camera in it.

When NTR and Jagapathi Babu meet for the first time, Jagapathi Babu plays the game that he plays with everyone else with NTR too. The beauty of the sequence is such that you too end up playing the game with NTR. Like Jagapathi Babu, Sukumar, as a director, tries to put you off the track when NTR borrows the phone from Jagapathi Babu.

The movie is such that the good in it is juxtaposed with the bad at all times.

****

Yes, what did I ask you to remember? Brian Lara. NTR is the closest we have that can be compared to him. He is one who is brilliant in each one of the ‘navarasalu of natana’. He has everything in him that can make him a reigning superstar, but he isn’t. Somehow, when it comes to him, the sum is never equal to the parts. This isn’t the first time that I am saying this.

NTR shines in the movie. The dances are effortless, as always. He blows the argument to smithereens about the best dancer in the industry with his moves in the final song. They are a treat to watch.

It’s  a little sad to see him go overboard with the promotions. ‘THE SCENE’ when it happens doesn’t quite make you cry as much as NTR said it made the people in the room cry. Yes, he performs admirably well in the scene, but it’s nowhere close to moving you to tears.

To call it his best performance would be doing injustice to his body of work. He has better performances than this. This is a different role for him.

****

There are very few movies in which actors match wits. This is pitched as one of them. Rather ‘Naanaku Prematho’ tries to be one of them, but it isn’t. The premise is set very early in the movie and you know how it’s going to end.

Jagapathi Babu could’ve done with a little more menace or some character build up or both. Though the character is sketched well, it pales in comparison with NTR’s

Rakul Preet Singh, dubbed for own character and does well in the scenes in Spain. Rajendra Prasad, Rajeev Kanakala and Srinivas Avasarala are adequate in the their roles. It is good to see Sukumar deviate from the stereotype in offering Thagubothu Ramesh a role in which he doesn’t need to drink. Sukumar plays cleverly with this point too, by making him drink a glass of juice and making him say that.

****

Verdict: A disappointment considering what could’ve been. Sukumar needs to drop the monkey from his back and try to make a normal film without trying to hoodwink himself, audience or both

Image courtesy : idlebrain.com

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