Behind the Movie Gajaraju: Director Prabu Solomon is a popular name in Tamil industry who captivates on naturalistic flavor of film making. His last flick in Telugu dubbed as 'Mynaa' wasn't successful. This time he comes again with similar flavored 'Kumki' dubbed into Telugu as 'Gajaraju' with producer Bellamkonda Suresh releasing it in Telugu. Let us see, what is this wild love all about?
In the Movie Gajaraju: Story begins with Bopanna (Vikram Prabhu) and his pet elephant Manikyam finding their livelihood. Konangi (Thambi Ramaiah) and Hundi look after the elephant's wellbeing. In parallel there is Devagiri Aadivasi Hilly Forest Region, where a wild elephant Kapali strays into human settlements damaging their fields. With no support from Police and Government, Devagiri hamelt chief Papayya (Anantha Vaidyanathan) decides to hire a Kumki elephant to save the people. (Kumki means an elephant used for capturing and training of wild forest elephants).
Unfortunately Bopanna has to land in Devagiri bluffing the villagers saying that his innocent elephant Manikyam is a Kumki. Later on Bopanna was forced to continue his drama because he falls in love with Village chief's daughter Singi (Lakshmi Menon). At a time when Singi too reacts positively for the love, dangerous threat comes in the form of Kapali. A deadly fight between Kapali and Manikyam ends in death of both elephants, Konangi and Hundi. Very late in the climax, Bopanna realizes on how the mistake of falling love with Singi has taken the lives of his own people.
Values of the Movie Gajaraju: The core strength of this film is cinematography of Sukumar. Traversing through the dense forest locales in borders of Karnataka and Kerala, we feel of enjoying a scenic tourist spot. Extraordinary were the picturization of songs and the way Jog Water Falls are caught by camera will live us spellbound. Story is although new and innovative, it is wafer thin which leaves more emphasis on narration. Unluckily Prabu Solomon's slow pace of execution tests our patience. Now and then Thambi Ramaiah excels with his expression timing to keep us active. However, that was not enough to make the movie lively. Music by D. Imman is excellent and works in favor of locations to engage the audience. Editing by LVK Doss was also aesthetic. Dialogues by Seshank Vennelakanti were just okay. Hats off to Bellamkonda Suresh and Lingusamy for risking good amounts in such a risky project.
Performance wise Vikram Prabhu is not attractive in looks but is well versed with emotions. Same do applies for heroine Lakshmi Menon who offered so much of reality into the character. While Thambi Ramaiah steals most of the show with his comedy, Anantha Vaidyanathan was elegant. Elephant Manikyam was also good.
Out of the Movie Gajaraju: Strictly speaking, the thought is good and the way it is worked out with topnotch visually engrossing cinematography catching the greenery, mountains, thick forests...everything is fine. What misses is the below average pace of progression in story. There are two conflicts, one is the affectionate bondign between Bopanna, Manikyam and the second is romance between Bopanna, Singi. Director fails to convince in both the areas due to his over-artistic and over-realistic story telling format.
For commercial attitude mindset of Telugu audience, this kind of slow or dull paced movies can never offer any kick. So, 'Gajaraju' will be a wonderful experience only for those movie lovers who enjoy innovativeness and brilliant technicalities irrespective of dim speed in narration.
Cinejosh Verdict of the Movie Gajaraju: Watch it only for Cinematography.
Reviewed by Srivaas