With an industry shaken blockbuster Srimanthudu behind, combination of Mahesh Babu and Koratala Siva obviously generated sky high expectations on BAN released today in theaters. Kiara Advani as heroine and other stellar casting in key roles let us see how good BAN really is, how far the movie matched the expectations and how far Koratala touched the present Indian political scenario in the following review.
Bharat Ram (Mahesh Babu), a five degrees graduate from Oxford University, London flies back to India knowing about his father, CM Raghava Raju (Sarath Kumar) sudden death. Landing in Hyderabad, Bharat is forced by his uncle Varada Raju (Prakash Raj) to take up the CM seat. A political novice Bharat uninterestingly accepts the duties but adopts remarkable policies only to face the ire of his own cabinet and opposition. Meanwhile, Bharat also falls in love with simple living, middle class girl Vasumathi (Kiara Advani). However, Bharat faces many hurdles in discharging the duties. How he honestly fulfills all the promises made to public on accountability, responsibility, transparency for the wellbeing of people is the rest.
To pen it as a story or essay write up, BAN is so simple. It’s more than enough for a writer to sum up all the present day problems in society surrounded by political bandits and rowdy sheeters entering into popular public houses. But to present the same on screen as a three hour film, the real skill of director comes to question. While the intentions of writers Srihari Nanu and Koratala are genuine to the core, screenplay in mid portions struggled to find the ground. Yes, contemporary problems like Traffic, Education, Corruption and Local Governance touched in different parts of narrative left a profuse Koratala mark though audience easily correlate the overall premise and backdrop of BAN to that of Sekhar Kammula Leader and Shankar Oke Okkadu. Fixing a social theme into commercial grove with a message to take home is what Koratala mastered and he succeeded to good extent in BAN, definitely not as large as Srimanthudu.
Cinematography by Ravi K Chandran and Thirru is top notch. Sreekar Prasad’s editing is just acceptable and little jerky at times. DSP’s musical score is above average except one super hit theme title song. Art work in erecting the Assembly set is worth a pat. Production standards from DVV Danayya are first class.
Onto artists, one can’t turn eyes from career best handsome looks of Mahesh Babu. His sober dressing with reserved walking style and dignified body language as a NRI fits to the tee. His dialogue diction with intermediary English lines is good to hear. Onto commercial heroism, fights did the trick though emotional depth is observed shallow. Kiara Advani is good at looks and has got little meat to excel. Prakash Raj is a regular villain and has done such characters many a times in past. Sarath Kumar, Sitara, Amani are brief. Brahmaji, Ajay, Posani, Ravi Shankar, Rao Ramesh, Jeeva, Devraj and others played their part.
Education, Traffic, Local Governance, Assembly, Media Episodes
Mid Second Half
A young and handsome CM that too Mahesh Babu in title role, BAN has got all the much needed push to attract our attention despite he has got Spyder failure on back. Yet, Koratala Siva and Sreehari Nanu should be credited for showcasing Mahesh in first of its kind characterization untried by a present generation star hero till date. Not for first time, Koratala always conveyed social responsibility, civic message through his films and for this time he has got a wide canvass preaching directly from CM seat. So, he has got enough scope to amalgamate various topics into one coherent script.
BAN takes off on a slow note in London including childhood portions. Once Bharat lands in Hyderabad, following episodes leading him to take CM seat are neatly dealt. Connecting the psychology of a NRI with traffic problem in Hyderabad is surely a commercial ploy worked out very well. Assembly scene when Mahesh promises accountability, responsibility and fear among citizens took the film to next level. Bharat, Vasumathi love track using Brahmaji in lighter vein is cute. BAN theme haunts all along. In between family emotions on Sitara, Mahesh and villains in opposition are blended well. Action packed interval bang promises much more in second half.
Into the latter part, Rachakonda by-election sub plot is not so effective, just helped in commercial elevation of Mahesh Babu with Durga Mahal fight. Vachadayyo song sounded close to Baahubali Dandalayya song. Immediately, story picks with interesting rural problems like agriculture, hospitals and the proposal of local governance or the power of voters to elect their CM directly. However, tempo falls down next moment as Vasumathi becomed the cause for Bharat dethroning which lacked the believability. Now that the main antagonist is before us, investigation from Ajay and mystery behind Sarath Kumar death were formulaically revenge oriented. In between, a bang class highlighting the stupidity of media is a slapping reality. Pre climax is good compared to popularly tested climax.
All in all, Bharat Ane Nenu is a hit product on hand. Other than Mahesh, none could have done the justice. Despite emotional intensity lacks at times with the slow narrative, BAN is a good film with properly relevant theme. The film is worth a watch and CJ goes for 3 stars with possible records to break.