Om Namo Venkatesaya Review, What’s Behind: The title of ONV is derived from divine chants of Lord Balaji and so is the story of Hathiram Baba, an ardent devotee of Tirumala Sri Venkateshwara Swamy. After Annamayya and Sri Ramadasu, the popular combination of K Raghavendra Rao, JK Bharavi, Nagarjuna and MM Keeravani is set on to narrate one more story between God and his most loved disciple. Let’s see what is this film all about?
Om Namo Venkatesaya Story: From very childhood days, an enthusiastic Ram (Nagarjuna) is driven by the only goal of contacting with almighty. After early education at Anubhavananda Swamy (Sai Kumar), Ram goes into decades of penance only to get disturbed by Lord Venkateshwara Swamy (Saurabh Raj Jain) who arrives on earth in the form of a child. Ram fails to identify his own creator but once realizes the mistake goes on spiritual path to Tiruamala establishing a Mutt with help of Krishnamma (Anushka). Saving Tirumala from clutcsmhes of corrupt mediators (Rao Ramesh, Vennela Kishore, Raghu Babu and others), Ram enlightens pilgrims teaching the sacredness of temple, brings new glory to temple town. Pleased by Ram’s allegiance, Venkateshwara Swamy begins to frequently visit the Mutt, plays dice with him and loses everything. How Ram became Hathiram Baba? Why he took to the extreme step of Sajeeva Samadhi is rest.
Om Namo Venkatesaya Artists & Technicians: Unlike Annamayya or Sri Ramadasu, the story of Hathiram Baba is not so popular in Telugu states. Except Lord Balaji used to visit Hathiram Baba and they used to play dice, there’s no concrete information available. JK Bharavi and Raghavendra Rao have dug a hill out of mole. Apparently, ‘Om Namo Venkatesaya’ appears to have been scripted on the same line of above mentioned two but kudos to the team for keeping faith and sanctity intact. JK Bharavi does his work incorporating cinematic aspects into a rather biographical film. Raghavendra Rao took this concept to next level with magical handling of every technical department. Despite narrative flaws and monotonous treatment is clearly visible, viewers may not complain big as final godliness essence fills the soul and end result is achieved. MM Keeravani’s music is delightful and his RR kept emotions on high. S Gopal Reddy’s cinematography is brightly impressive. One has to understand the elevation of spirituality while cranking camera in such atypical subjects. Goutham Raju’s editing is mediocre and needs some immediate chopping. Production standards from Mahesh Reddy are extremely wonderful.
Onto performances, there’s no alternative for Nagarjuna in TFI to take up Annamayya or Sri Ramadasu and now Hathiram Baba. After gaining lots of experience in this genre, Nag cakewalked as Hathiram Baba. His interactions with Lord Balaji and merging into God in the climax are best parts. One artist who equaled Suman’s majesty as Lord Balaji is Saurabh Jain. His height, stature and warmth in smile are mesmerizing. Vimala Raman, Ashmita are fine as Laxmi Devi and Bhudevi. Pragnya Jaiswal shined in a song while Anushka’s lengthy Krishnamma character is marred by odd physique. Jagapathi Babu is wasted. Sai Kumar. Brahmanandam, Rao Ramesh, Vennela Kishore, Raghu Babu, Sampat Raj, Jabardast Batch were just ok.
Om Namo Venkatesaya Advantages:
- Nagarjuna Grace
- Saurabh Jain as Balaji
- Raghavendra Rao Direction
- Keeravani Music
- Neat Writing
Om Namo Venkatesaya Drawbacks:
- Jagapathi Babu
- Missing Drama
- Unnecessary Comedy
Om Namo Venkatesaya Rating Analysis: Devotional plots dealing with bond between god and devotee are always secure. When there’s a successful team like Nag, KRR and Keeravani in it, obviously it becomes much safe. After Annamayya and Sri Ramadasu, definitely ONV falls short in striking a similar emotional chord but to learn about a rather not-so-popular Hathiram Baba made the film meaningful. Those areas when ONV lacks in content or emotions, seniority of artists and technicians level the final output. KRR blended his brand commercial tinge into this spiritual script offering a complete cinema experience.
Beginning with Hathiram Baba childhood episodes and his classes at Anubhavananda Swamy, there’s KRR mark lets for a smooth take off. After that Hathiram Baba back to home and romantic song with Pragnya are a standard KRR slate. Hathiram Baba’s stepping into Tirumala followed by Rao Ramesh and batch corrupt activities is unwanted. Anushka as Krishnamma track is well written. Just pre interval, movie picks up on ‘Akhilanda Koti Brahmanda Nayaka’ song for colorful visuals and a smooth tea break.
Second half starts sluggishly with Jagapathi Babu- Anushka conflict. Once Lord Balaji and Hathiram Baba meet, it’s a new feel-goodness imbibed. Knowledge about Sree Vaari Nithya Kalyanam, Navaneeta Suprabhata Harathi or exploring the unknown facts of Tirumala is piously dealt. Dice game between Balaji and Hathiram are also beautifully executed. Towards climax, movie becomes heavy leading to a touching end.
Commerciality and repetitiveness apart, ONV is one more brand KRR, Nag and Keeravani devotional film with a story which many may not know. Strong performances, beautiful visuals and soothing music stand on top. For avid Lord Balaji devotees, ONV is a must watch while for regular cinema going audience, can be easily watched once. CJ goes with 3 stars leaving the Box Office verdict on audience.
Om Namo Venkatesaya Cinejosh Verdict: A Devotional Tirumala Trip
Om Namo Venkatesaya Cinejosh Rating: 3/5
Reviewed by Srivaas