Allu Arjun and Trivikram Srinivas third combination Ala Vaikunthapurramloo is in Sankranthi race and buzz went all time high with songs topping charts and promotional content luring all the sections to wait for release. Will the duo complete a hat-trick of hits?
Valmiki (Murali Sharma) and Ramachandra Murthy (Jayaram) work in same office. Marrying boss’s (Sachin Khedekar) daughter Anjali (Tabu), Ramachandra becomes CEO while Valmiki remains to be a loyal servant. Jealous filled Valmiki replaces his infant son with Murthy’s new born baby boy in same hospital and alone Nurse (Eshwari) is the evidence for all this. Valmiki shows his hatred on Murthy’s son by naming him Bantu (Allu Arjun) and treats his son Raj Manohar (Sushanth) staying in Vaikunthapurramloo as the real king. Meanwhile, Bantu joins at Amulya’s (Pooja Hegde) office as tourist guide and cupid strike the two. When things go smoothly, Bantu comes to know the reality in his birth and various problems in Vaikunthapurram. How he sorts out all these hurdles form crux of the story with an emotional end on Bantu’s decision regarding the one to choose between both parents.
It’s a known story with template screenplay. However, Trivikram Srinivas weaved magic with his flamboyant writing and balanced direction. Unlike his previous films, this doesn’t have adequate one-liners and uproarious scenes. He dealt the film in a lighter vein. It’s a perfect package, nothing is forced. Hero elevation scenes are situationally included yet there’s no super heroism, there is adequate comedy within the plot yet nothing uproarious, there’s place for action yet not the regular bloodshed and super hit songs canned amazingly. There are satisfactory number of whistle-worthy moments like stylishly choreographed first fight, his entry into Vaikunthapurram, dramatized pre-interval episode, parody of several top Telugu stars in board meeting, the conceptualized Srikakulam action block and emotional pre-climax followed by Trivikram mark final touch bring a perfect completeness.
Trivikram penned situation based sensible lines which appeal family audience. More than a writer, the director in Trivikram charms. PS Vinod’s cinematography uplifts the style quotient. He showed all the artists in best possible, beautiful way. S Thaman songs are beyond super hits and Trivikram did all the justice in picturization. Background score is as pleasant as songs. The divine and heavenly feel we sense in key portions lasts long. Ram-Lakshmna choreographed fights don’t look violent. The action choreography for Srikakulam song is best work and so stylish. Editor Navin Nooli’s cuts especially in action sequences are very sharp. Production values of Haarika & Haassine and Geetha Arts are top-class.
Onto performances, Allu Arjun by far comes up with best performance. With settled performance, subtle expressions and representing every middle class youth, Bunny lived in the character. There’s emotional trauma in him to travel inertly all through. Styling, fights and dances are a proof of his versatility. Murali Sharma is second hero of the film. We hate him completely for his cunning and selfishness and he was just flawless. Thankfully, the character remains same even in the end. Pooja Hegde is a stunner. She is gorgeous best in glamorous role. Especially, so pretty in songs like Butta Bomma. Bunny, Pooja created magic with their rocking chemistry. Tabu in her second innings in Tollywood has got a meaty role and one particular scene with Jayaram proved her acting prowess. Jayaram is apt as Tabu’s husband. Sushanth is given little scope. Nivetha Pethuraj was cool. Sachin Khedekar is other big asset. Samuthirakhani is good in a brief role, so is Govind Padmasoorya. Rajendra Prasad, Rahul Ramakrishna and Navdeep fill the fun part. Sunil is wasted. Other artists played their parts.
Allu Arjun All-Round Performance
Pooja Hegde Glamour
Trivikram Dialogues, Direction
PS Vinod Cinematography
Old School Story
Nothing Much For Masses
Template 2nd Half
Telugu cinema and Telugu audience are familiar with subtle family emotions. Try the same theme 100 times and still you find space for 101st, that’s the beauty. As a story picker, Trivikram hasn’t touched any novel point here, what he did is treated a known storyline in his own style that leaves a pleasant and calming effect. Never Trivikram went overboard on sentiment, melodrama, hero elevations, comic side, songs…name every aspect and the film stood balanced, intact. Every character had its identity and a perfect pitch in its own space. Ala is a rare case where Trivikram’s directorial brilliance excelled beyond his writing skills. The way he handled all technical departments with amazing songs, eye soothing visuals, beautiful locations, well suited artists and smooth edits made Ala the fine film to watch. Of course, Ala had its own drawbacks and there were few clichés in second half but did not hinder the story telling process in any way.
Ala begins with a middle class man Murali Sharma swapping his infant with millionaire Jayaram’s son. A nurse alone aka Eshwari is the evidence and she is in coma now. Platform is laid superbly for remaining fun and drama to drive. While the infant at Murali Sharma grows up as Allu Arjun, it’s Sushant on other end. Instances created between Murali Sharma, Allu Arjun take lion share and their chemistry is very authentic. OMG Daddy picturization is posh. Entry of Pooja Hegde and Bunny joining as Assistant is neat. Samajavaragama song should have been shot with more finesse. Ramakrishna, Navdeep did their part here. Scenario at Vaikunthapurram with Tabu, Jayaram, Sachin Khedkar, Sushant, Niveditha Pethuraj, Harshavardhan, Sunil is no different from Nadiya family in Atharintiki Daredi with villain Samuthirakhani, Ajay eyeing on their company shares. No time to relax, soon after Jayaram plans Sushant’s wedding Pooja, Trivikram drove us to interval with Eshwari revealing the twist to Bunny before dying. Eshwari stole the show here and Bunny carried the emotion forward superbly. Nevertheless, Butta Bomma song in first half is a visual treat.
Second half is all about Bunny entering into Vaikunthapurram to resolve issues. Differences between Jayaram, Tabu cleared by Bunny is one emotional high to connect with husbands, wives. Following the same Atharintiki Daaredi template, here too Bunny attacks Samuthirakhani to save the empire and a follow up song Ramuloo Ramula. So, zero novelty and appears clichéd. Thrown away from Vaikunthapurram, the reasoning behind Bunny hiding his actual identity before Tabu, Jayaram bought a new performer in Bunny for all of us. Climax fight composed in Srikakulam accent is a novel idea. All is well and movie ends with beautiful emotional mother-son and father-son bond.
In total, Ala Vaikunthapurram is almost a Trivikram’s old template film. Without any mistakes in treatment, storytelling and writing part yet again Trivikram delivered a Pongal winner. Every time you get a déjà vu feeling, he covers it with a beautiful song or clean dialogues or an action block to bring back the flow on track. Definitely, Allu Arjun stood as lifeline and we find a new level of artist in him. Songs, visuals, action, dialogues, emotions, drama… Ala is packed with everything to be called as a simple n cute film to watch with families in this big festive season. BO wise, they have a sure shot winner on hands. Go for it…