Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mahatma: Krishna Vamshi fails to measure up

Krishna Vamshi's ambitious 'Mahatma' evoked much interest as it is the first Telugu film with Gandhi as central theme. Especially with a top-notch 'Lage Raho Munnabhai' setting the trend, I had some anticipation on what KV has to say. After all here is the guy who is capable of a 'Sindhuram'. Of course he later veered off to produce some insensitive mass stuff like 'Khadgam' and 'Raakhi'. I thought he would be back to his 'Sindhuram' touch with 'Mahatma' but then KV showed he had no such plans. Mahatma as a regular Telugu film is average but as a film about Gandhi will be rated miserable.

KV, unlike lyricist Sitarama Sastry, does not show an understanding of Gandhi's principles. Sastry's lyrics about Gandhi are the high-point of the film and conveys the spirit of Gandhian principles and how we caricatured him in our present age due to our ignorance but KV does not carry forward any of that seriousness from songs into the movie. The hero claims to fight non-violently when in fact he does not even fight. Being non-violent does not mean being inactive and let things happen. Nor did it mean self-immolation! Did Gandhi say things would just fall into place if we just sit there in the middle of the problem non-violently or kill ourselves!? In fact in the climax, the hero refuses to fight the bad guys but gets away with his life purely on luck. That does not in anyway vindicate Gandhi's non-violent principle. Does it? My sky-high admiration for Raju Hirani grew even more after watching this fare. So bland is this one. Ironically, this has bucket loads of blood and a self-immolation scene, which again is supposed to be non-violent. If that's not enough, we have YSR's snap all over in the titles and in the movie. Wow, that's the cherry on the cake..YSR lauded in a movie preaching non-violence. Ultimate tribute i should say. Gandhi would have turned in his grave, that is if he were not cremated.

The biggest negative is that the movie couldn't focus on Gandhi and instead meandered aimlessly touching other topics like politics and Telugu film industry. The duets are misplaced and not even great to bear with. They slow the film down. While 'Mahatma' and non-violence preaching looked half-hearted in execution,the titillating item songs and few gratifying fight sequences are superbly executed! In fact hero Srikanth poured his heart out in these sequences! Maybe they are the only scenes where he is not confused :) Another positive is the casting. The actors suited the roles to the T. The guy who played Dada's (Jayaprakash Reddy's) son was superb as is the lady who plays his sister. The scene where the lady kicks Srikanth from behind is one flash in the pan that speaks eloquently of the creative director. KV also cleverly tries creating some sequences as pointers to real-life events for entertainment. So Ahuti Prasad's appa reminds us of Veerappa Moily sent by 'high-command'. The shooting episode resembles similar one involving congressman KK's son. The Gandhinagar constituency delimitation sequence reminds us of Khairatabad and the subsequent dynastic politics involving election contest of PJR's son and daughter. While the movie is littered with these details which shows that KV keenly follows regular politics, he hardly gives us any new insight or revelation into the affairs which is what we require especially in this serious subject. Even in his previous ventures like 'Raakhi' and 'Khadgam', KV did the same. He emotionally empties himself out but does not coherently say something meanigful at the end of the movie. On the otherhand, he picturized romantic sequences very well even in these otherwise serious movies. It looks KV is much more at ease with light-hearted romatic subjects. 'Ninne Pelladutha' was a trendsetter. I even liked his 'Sasirekha Parinayam' as it looked effortless and subtely gave the message even while entertaining. Here, it is just that this movie is not a honest attempt to understand and unveil the Mahatma, so it does not have a soul and fails in the core.


raja said...

Hi All,

I saw the movie and its really good. Worth a watch.


Amar said...

I know Veer Raju, u liked the message in the movie although KV mailed to deliver it right :)