‘Sarileru Neekevvaru’, ‘Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo’ and the Manmohan Desai brand of madcap masala

Posted on January 22, 2020

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/sarileru-neekevvaru-ala-vaikunthapurramuloo-and-the-manmohan-desai-brand-of-madcap-masala/

If there’s any place the masala film is truly alive and kicking, it must be Telugu cinema. What stands out is the effort that’s gone into writing the outrageous, “illogical” and OTT moments.

Spoilers ahead…

Sarileru Neekevvaru is a Mahesh Babu vehicle, but of course we aren’t going to see him right away. We have to idle for a bit before revving up to his appearance. Hence the detour to a college in Kurnool, where Bharati (Vijayashanti) is teaching a class. A girl complains that the boy behind her is misbehaving. Bharati walks up to the boy to admonish him, and she discovers he’s drunk and slaps him. (I had a nice little laugh imagining Arjun Reddy in her classroom.) When summoned to the principal’s office and told that the boy has an influential father, she refuses to apologise. Right is right. Wrong is wrong. A wrong cannot become a right. That’s her philosophy.

This is Manmohan Desai territory. Look at the upright character’s name again: Bharati. And look at the first shot of Mahesh Babu, who plays Major Ajay Krishna: he’s in Kashmir, standing in front of the tricolour. The film, thus, conflates Bharati and Bharat, the mother and Mother India. This mother has lost one son who served in the army. Now, her second son is in the army, too. The irony is that she has sent two men to safeguard the nation, and now, there are no men left to safeguard her home. Bharati ends up being harassed by MLA Nagendra Reddy (Prakash Raj). The stage is thus set for Ajay to travel from Kashmir to Kurnool. He will take a break from protecting Mother India. The mother needs to be saved, first.

Continued at the link above.

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Posted in: Cinema: Telugu