After the super sensational KGF in all the languages, Kannada film industry started making Pan Indian films. Athade Srimannarayana with its engaging trailer garnered huge buzz in Tollywood as well. More importantly, Kannada version Avane Srimannarayana enjoyed rave reviews. Will this film appeal Telugu audience?
A drama troupe of five members loots a treasure, enroute caught and killed by Rama Rama (Madhusudhan Rao), head of dacoit clan Abhiras. Much to Rama Rama’s disappointment, treasure goes missing. Then dacoit leader dies before announcing the heir among his sons Jayaram (Balaji Manohar) and Tukaram (Pramod Shetty). After 15 years, a corrupt and crooked cop Narayana (Rakshit Shetty) arrives in the same fictional village of Amaravati on a purpose. What is it? Will he finally find the treasure?
The story is highly inspired by so many Hollywood cowboy films and to give Kannada touch, the local traditions and cultural beliefs are incorporated. Telugu audience may not connect to this treasure plot because of missing nativity and excess Kannada flavor. Though dialogues were witty, narration is tedious. Length is biggest drawback. Above all for the scale of film, it’s tough to see an unfamiliar Rakshit Shetty doing heroics all the time. Except one or two, most of the artists are unfamiliar for Telugu audience.
There were perceptible loopholes in the script, yet Sachin Ravi scored brownie points for his directorial skills. Taking was very stylish and lavishness sprinkled all through. The director who himself edited the film botched up to cut the film crisply. Cinematographer Karm Chawla added richness with his blocks. Charan Raj and B Ajaneesh Loknath duo came up with ordinary tunes which further slowed down the excitement. BGM by Ajaneesh elevated the scenes. Production values of Pushkar Films and Paramvah Studios are top class.
Onto performances, Rakshit Shetty looked inapt for the role which would have done by a commercial and popular star. Though he’s popular down south, he’s a newcomer for Tollywood spectators. Nonetheless, his comedy timing and fights were impressive. Shanvi Srivatsava looked decent in a traditional role and she has got scope to perform. Madhusudhan Rao who played the dacoit leader was apt wherein Balaji Manohar lived in the role of main antagonist. Pramod Shetty was also equally impressive. Achyuth Kumar got a meaty role and lengthy role as police constable. All the other artists were okay.
Loopholes In Script
KGF became blockbuster in all languages because it has universal appeal and the narration packed in action. Moreover, Yash appeared like a real hero material and the role was tailer-made. Heroic scenes were believable because of his towering personality and action-packed performance. However, Rakshit Shetty looked inappropriate to play Srimannarayana which was meant for a commercial hero.
In the very first scene, it is told that the film is all about a missing treasure. Then, the focus shifts to family feud in Abhiras after the leader passes away. Cut to 15 years, Rakshit Shetty makes entry in style as a con-cop who is witty and smart. The bar setup and the action scenes reminds us of even Telugu cowboy films such as Kodama Simham. Rakshit confessing his actual intentions in the very beginning is a big flaw and kills the interest. The drama group thread makes things from bad to worse. The interval is bang on with a twist in Shanvi’s real identity.
Then latter half begins on slow note with Rakshit making efforts to find the treasure. His cunning acts in the empire somehow are entertaining. The fight for power among the step-brothers is weak. Even the progression of Rakshit trying to find the clues to reach the treasure is uninteresting. The pre-climax action episode was bit lengthy. Then, the film ends on simple note without any twists to give last surprise.
All in all, Athade Srimannarayana failed to live up to the expectations it has built after the release in Sandalwood. Technically, the film is brilliant, problem lied with treatment to match the tastes of Telugu viewers. Except the grandeur, the film offers nothing more and it lacked the depth in story as well as screenplay. Rakshit Shetty is a wrong choice for a Pan India film. CJ goes with 2.5 star rating and it is out of question in recreating the magic of KGF at box office.