Daggubati Venkatesh and Akkineni Naga Chaitanya appeared together for a brief period in Premam which was a runaway hit. Now, Venky Mama is all expected to shake the BO as Mama and Alludu will be sharing screen space in a full length film. Moreover, both have scored hits with their last films. Director Bobby also delivered a decent hit with his last film Jai Lava Kusa and Venky Mama has two glamorous heroines Raashi Khanna, Payal Rajput. Let’s see whether the film capitalizes on all these positives.
Venkataratnam aka Military Naidu (Venkatesh), son of great astrologist (Nasser) and village headman, against his father’s wish takes the responsibility of his nephew Karthik (Naga Chaitanya) when Karthik's parents die in an accident, as predicted by grandfather. While Naidu decides to stay as bachelor to take care of his nephew, Karthik on the other hand, rejects a job in London to stay with his uncle. While Karthik makes efforts to convince school teacher Vennela (Payal Rajput) to marry his uncle, Naidu takes the responsibility to unite Karthik with his ex girlfriend Harika (Raashi Khanna). As per horoscope, Naidu’s death is must in Karthik’s hands because of Karthik born in Sri Krishna Amsha. Karthik now is in military and Naidu goes all the way to meet his nephew in Kashmir. Who wins-l, astrology or the unconditional love between Mama and Alludu?
Core point of unconditional love in between Mama and Alludu and the horoscope prophecy of Mama to be killed in Alludu’s hands like how Kamsa killed in Krishna’s hands is a perfect setup for emotional balance and brings enough interest to generate excitement. But then, Bobby who worked with big league of writers couldn’t really deliver a convincing emotional drama. When you have enough nucleus in story, all you need to do is pen an engaging screenplay based on the character designs and rural premise. But, showing inability in handling fun, Bobby forcibly included meaning less comedy. Even the romantic tracks of Chay, Raashi and Venky, Payal were unimpressive. Nonetheless, we will thoroughly enjoy whenever Venky and Chay are seen together. Their rocking chemistry is pure and is the saving grace.
Coming to direction, Bobby couldn't create the ambience elaborating on importance of horoscope and its negative effects are injected on to viewers that haunt till the end. Except few bits of drama and action, everything including comedy is half baked. Fortunately, Prasad Murella camera blocks sets up different disposition in different interval of times. Songs composed by S Thaman are mediocre, though background score gives weightage to the scenes. Editor Prawin Pudi should have trimmed the romantic tracks in first half and cut short the second half as well. Moreover, we sense the jerkiness due to complete deviation in second half from first half from rural to army backdrops. Production values of Suresh Productions and People’s Media Factory are lavish in every frame.
Onto performances, Venkatesh is at his usual best. His comedy timing and bonding with Naga Chaitanya bring us our memories with uncles or nephews. Particularly, he’s master class in emotional sequences. Naga Chaitanya also played his part sensibly. The bond he shares with uncle looked authentic. However, as per the script, his character becomes passive as the complete focus shifts on Venky character.
Raashi Khanna wins the hearts with innocence required for her role and also with glamour treat. Payal Rajput was okay as a school teacher. Rao Ramesh is becoming monotonous doing similar roles. Nasser was good and Prakash Raj makes an impact in a brief role. Chammak Chandra and Hyper Aadi were funny at times. Dasari Arun Kumar looked apt in a negative role. Nonetheless, the main character ‘Karma’ makes less impact.
Odd Combination Of Two Good Backdrops
Old School Emotions
Expectations were sky high on Venky Mama given that real-life Mama and Alludu are coming together in a full length movie and promotional content including teasers and trailer set the bar high. In fact, Manam magic was expected to be repeated with Venky Mama which was a long dream for late Ramanaidu. However, Venky Mama somehow disappoints due to many setbacks in writing and taking.
The initial setup of horoscope angle in the film makes viewers curious as believers will instantly connect to it. Immediately, the terrorists attack followed by Venkatesh coming to meet his nephew in Military Camp after three years of detachment further increases the interest. The momentum is continued further with Mama, Alludu’s rocking chemistry in the village in initial portions of flashback. But, things turn unexciting and we disconnect ever since the romantic angle and a temporary villain are introduced. Old school emotions and Chay, Payal’s episodes further trouble. The interval where the real villain is shown makes us believe the second half will be engaging.
Then second half is completely contrast from the first half. Hiccups are felt because of the odd combination of rural backdrop and immediate shift to Kashmir Army, terrorist setup. This shift between these two dissimilar backdrops is not smoothly integrated. The episodes to convince Chay moving away from Venky are poorly dealt. Then, the much hyped surgical strike to give elevation on Chay’s character looked terrible. The pre-climax fight and the unrealistic climax lacked emotional connect.
On the whole, Venky Mama is a mediocre film although there are some good moments. Better screenplay with different second half would have made this a wholesome entertainer. Though there’s authenticity in the bonding of Venky Mama and Alludu, Venky completely dominates with his exceptional screen presence, wherein Chay becomes passive. The emotions which are crucial for film of this genre appeared fake. CJ goes with 2.5 star rating and the film may garner good openings given that there’s no competition this week and it is the first big ticket film in Telugu after long time.