Impressive teaser, trailer, ‘never before ever after’ promotions and also the recent form of super star Mahesh Babu and director Anil Ravipudi hiked expectations on Sarileru Neekevvaru which also marks comeback of Vijayashanthi after 13 years gap. Will the film live upto expectations?
Army Major Ajay Krishna (Mahesh Babu) on his way to Kurnool from Kashmir on an official duty in train meets Samskruthi (Rashmika Mandanna) and family. When he lands in Kurnool, he finds out that honest and dynamic medical professor Bharathi (Vijayashanthi) whom he came to meet is in a hazardous situation. Her family has a threat from a crooked minister Nagendra (Prakash Raj). Now, he takes up the responsibility like a soldier to rescue Bharathi and family. What’s Ajay’s connection with Bharathi? What’s the issue between Bharathi and Nagendra? Will Ajay succeed in his mission to change the corrupt politician?
The story is done and dusted yet has commercial viability. The film has shades of Venkatesh’s Varasudochadu, Mahesh’s Athadu etc. Cleverly, Anil Ravipudi picked a new army backdrop and added commercial material to cater wider audience. Patriotism and hilarity are completely contrasting shades. Anil Ravipudi managed to blend these two facets into one film. In fact, his final idea of bringing change in crooked politicians by deporting them to border is the right conclusion and appreciable. However, the problem lied in script and execution. The last ‘dragged’ portions appeared unrealistic because of poor writing and rushed up picturization.
Anil Ravipudi films typically have mannerisms and catchphrases from a comedy batch. Sarileru Neekevvaru also has the catchphrase for Rashmika Mandanna’s family. But, the over usage of ‘Ardham Avuthunda’ and ‘Never Before Ever After’ appeared monotonous, failed to click like Anthegaa Anthegaa. Anil and team penned some thought provoking dialogues on Nationalism and duties. But a better screen writing would have justified these dialogues. Onto direction, Anil again proved that he is good at dealing commercial potboilers.
R Rathnavelu’s camera blocks are just ok while Devi Sri Prasad disappoints big time with mediocre tunes. But, Mind Block song looked good on screen. Dance master Shekar needs special mention. Analyzing the strengths of Mahesh Babu, he composed mass-appealing dances. Tammiraju’s final cut needed several cuts. There’s no smooth transition in scene to scene. Everything looked turbulent in flow. Production values of AK Entertainment and Sri Venkateswara Creations are not as high as anticipated.
Onto performances, Mahesh Babu showed lots of variations in his character. He was serious in patriotic scenes, was funny in train episode and was power packed in Kurnool backdrop scenes. His imitation of Prakash Raj, Rao Ramesh etc are funny. Best thing is Mahesh Babu impresses with graceful dance moves, Fans will go crazy in Mind Block song. Rashmika Mandanna didn't look glamorous as per requirements of the role. Vijayashanthi is wasted and definitely not a worth comeback. But, she showed acting prowess in pre climax and that is why she is one of the crucial pillars. Prakash Raj is regular. Rao Ramesh and batch gives partial comic relief. Jayaprakash Reddy, Raghu Babu are wasted.
Noisy Love Track
Missed Anil Mark Fun
Songs (Except Mind Block)
Having planned the film for Pongal release, makers of Sarileru took the major advantage to serve a much needed commercial feast for audience. Despite a fact that Mahesh Babu shouldered the film entirely, director Anil Ravipudi just followed his trademark treatment style in a rather weak storyline which hasn't got enough meat in it. Like his past films, Anil sketched a fun filled first half, formulaic interval block elevating the heroism to peaks and confrontation between the hero, villain which formed strength of his last projects missed spark in this case. Apparently, the patriotic fervor in pre climax is respectable yet the climax is a weak pay off for the build up given.
Sarileru starts in Kurnool on Medical college Professor aka Vijayashanthi. Her honest attitude, Nationalistic feelings and courage to point the wrong side is decently established before moving the story to Army Officer aka Mahesh Babu on border. The Army backdrop rescue operation and loss of colleague Sathya Dev is a regular action fare dominated by Mahesh's handsomeness. In between Dang Dang song is also fine. Mahesh moving to Kurnool on a reason is immediately liquidized with much talked about train episode on Rashmika, Sangeetha, Rao Ramesh, Rajendra Prasad and others. Anil's mark was visible only in parts because fun quotient was inconsistent here. On the other side, Minister Prakash Raj villiany in Kurnool appeared to be a continuation to antagonist character in Raja The Great. Raghu Babu, Jaya Prakash Reddy too failed. No surprises, Mahesh comes to rescue Vijayashanthi and her daughters with packed action at Kondareddy Buruju. This is the top most peak in film to leave Fans go berserk promising Second Half Daddarillipoddi.
2nd half kickstarts revealing the reason behind Vijayashanthi rivalry with Prakashraj. Though it looks simple logically, Mahesh's violent reaction using Posani, Brahmaji is pure time pass. Alluri Seetharama Raju episode and Mahesh's warning to Prakash Raj is one more masala treat for Fans. Here on, Anil seems to have lost steam because fight scenes come one by one in the process of Mahesh unraveling the mystery behind Prakashraj's atrocities and a key scam. Like physically crippled's deadly mass fight scene in Supreme, here too Anil plannned forest fight which didn't click much. Story altogether shifts onto a new pedestal now when Mahesh delivers a serious sermon on scams in India. Lines here are clap worthy, they are unconnected. As we move towards pre climax, Mind Block song is wow for Fans to loosen the theater tops. Sathyadev's deadbody bought back to Kurnool highlights the sacrifices of Indian Army, a justification for the backdrop selected. Into climax, Anil's experiment in blending Rashmika, Prakashraj threads appeared just ok. Nevertheless, the idea mooted on deporting all the criminal politicians and bureaucrats to Army for realizing their duties sounded good.
In total, Sarileru Neekevvaru appeared like a hurried up product from Anil Ravipudi with modest production values. While Mahesh took this half cooked script to next level, there is an imbalance in Anil's masala proportions. Yet this can be a right film to chill in Pongal season and Fans will surely rejoice. Commercially, Sarileru is here to stand for a while pivoted just on Mahesh's presence. CJ goes with 2.75 stars and BO wise, records are to stumble.