'Sarkaru Vaari Paata', produced by Mythri Movie Makers, 14 Reels Plus Entertainment and GMB Entertainment, hit the cinemas today.
Mahesh (Mahesh Babu) is a self-made finance businessman in the US. An orphan, he is an NRI who recovers by hook or crook the loans lent by his firm. When he bumps into Kalavathi (Keerthy Suresh), it is love at first sight for him. Mahesh lends a large sum to her but she defaults on the loan. After all, Kalavathi is the daughter of an unscrupulous businessman-cum-politician named Rajendranath (Samuthirakani) in Vizag. It's now time for Mahesh to fly down to Vizag to settle matters. In the process, he drags Rajendranath into a mess.
Mahesh Babu looks inch-perfect in the entertaining scenes. This is his most organically gleeful role in recent times. He looks in a happy space, like how he looked in 'Khaleja'. Breaking into the Uttarandhra slang a couple of times and looking blissful in action scenes, the actor generates the superstar vibes all through the run-time.
Female-centric movies like 'Penguin' and 'Good Luck Sakhi' had dumbed down Keerthy Suresh, but here is a film that finally gives her the space to go glamorous and also deliver entertainment. That said, her performance in the second half is found wanting.
Samuthirakani played a positive role in 'RRR' but here he gets to 'Krack' down on goodness with all the force possible. He is somewhat routine. Subbaraju, Nadhiya, Brahmaji, Tanikella Bharani, Posani Krishna Murali, Mahesh Manjrekar, Ravi Prakash, and Satyam Rajesh are seen in different roles, and not all of them are equally important.
We have an unpopular opinion about 'Penny'. The choreography and picturization are a minus. The title track doesn't make any impact. Sid Sriram's rendition, AS Prakash's production design, and excellent choreography make 'Kalaavathi' a lively song. 'Ma Ma Mahesha' is well-choreographed (courtesy of Sekhar Master) but the lack of originality in terms of the tune is a minus.
R Madhi of 'Mirchi', 'Run Raja Run' and 'Srimantudu' ensures that the frames are good (they are hardly captivating). His cinematography is no breath of fresh air. Marthand K Venkatesh's editing is ineffective in the middle portions of the second half. The run-time of 162 minutes (including Ads) lets the director keep the scenes elaborate even where it is unnecessary.
In a pre-release promotional interview, director Parasuram Petla claimed that his film has nothing to do with banks and the banking system. Spoiler Alert: He was lying. The crux of the conflict plot point was captured by media reports on 'SVP' way back in 2020 itself. So, in order to create fake suspense, the director had to tell a white lie.
The film, made first and foremost as an entertainer, tries to exploit the public anger against wilful mega defaulters like Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi, the multi-millionaires who have fled India after borrowing thousands of crores from public sector banks. Samuthirakani's character represents those dirty men, although he behaves more like a goonda-cum-politician than a sophisticated businessman.
The film firmly refuses to tell a believable story surrounding the issue of bad debts. The narrative takes too many creative liberties and relies on Mahesh Babu to redeem every single scene. And the ideas in the writer's kitty are too limited. A bank notice here, a preachy monologue there. That's all the hero knows.
The action scenes (composed by Ram and Lakshman) are not riveting. They don't pack a punch much as Mahesh tries to salvage them by breaking into English lines in the first fight.
It seems the makers did realize that the fights and the hero-villain scenes are not great. That's why they started highlighting the rom-com track, which offers laughs because of how Keerthy Suresh's characterization is written. For too long, Mahesh has looked like a lovey-dovey sort of guy in the rom-com scenes. In this film, he willingly becomes a 'bakra', offering comic relief.
The film needed a well-rounded second half with a trimmed presence of the heroine. The climax should have offered something outstanding in terms of what the protagonist does about the evil he is fighting. Everything is pale.
'SVP' is all style and little substance. The rom-com track wins, but everything else crumbles.