Saturday, August 25, 2012

Movie Review - Sudigadu (Telugu) - Laugh till thou dropeth dead!!

What’s the best thing that breaks you into laughter??Tom and Jerry, Charlie Chaplin, SRK and his one-liners, or Spoofs of Telugu films!! Gotcha, you’re spot on. It seems that the last one in this series tickles your funny bone. But is it an entertaining fare or not, is on the audience to decide. What brings audience to theatres is sheer entertainment, and if comedy forms a major chunk of it then it’s a treat. But Sudigadu doesn’t fall into the shoes of an entertaining ensemble because the lion’s share is taken by comedy, leaving aside emotions, romance, characters, and other elements.

In the past, many great directors presented a satirical version of the society in their films, and Jandhyala was at the forefront in etching new characters and situations that generated some meaningful laughter. Ahanaa Pellanta, Rendu Rella Aaru, Baava Baava Panneeru are some of his classic comical gems that stay in our hearts forever. Then came the era of EVV Satyanarayana, where he followed the foot-steps of his mentor, but tweaked his style of film-making without losing its essence. Though comedy dominated the films made by aforesaid directors, other elements were also incorporated to make it a perfect blend. But in Sudigadu, director Bheemineni Srinivasa Rao was clear in his mind – Make us laugh and nothing else. This may lead to some disconnect with certain sections of audience.

Ayurveda identifies 6 Tastes by which all foods can be categorized: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Pungent, and Astringent. What happens if there’s only sweet in the meal? Does it taste good? Does excess intake of sweet makes the food palatable? Here we can strike a parallel between the comedy portions in Sudigadu with consumption of sweet food. Excess dose of comedy made the film bland, especially in the second half. The initial momentum provided by uncanny scenarios isn’t driven forward in the latter part. The movie has a string of great set of ideas, and deserved better execution, but it falters at many places. Some clich├ęd roles in cinema that were mocked to death are again showcased here.

The road less taken is taken for a reason. Sudigadu is a living testimony to that old adage. The movie embarks on a different journey and carves a new genre in cinema – MOCKUMENTARY!! All the credit goes to Allari Naresh and Bheemineni Srinivasa Rao for making this happen. The director did a stupendous job in bringing together some parody gems that were long forgotten. He tried to induce parody into every scene rather than into the movie. His meticulous research and eye for detail should be applauded. In bits and pieces the movie has many moments of glory, but it loses steam when you put all the pieces together. This main reason is its story that doesn't count - the plot is but a rickety base on which jokes are piled on.

The movie would have worked well had there been a decent story, and timely parodies become part of it. But here the entire film is a parody that wears the audience patience thin. Allari Naresh was part of many parodies earlier and with Sudigadu he goes overboard firing all the cylinders with his comedy punches. Some of the magical moments of the film are Omkar annaya episode, Bharateeyudu - the serial killer, and the scene with the stamp - “An S S Rajamouli weapons.” Directors such as S S Rajamouli, V V Vinayak, Puri Jagannadh, RGV, Trivikram, Raghavendra Rao, Shankar etc. are part of this film, and some of their movie scenes and stereotypes are shown to perfection.

Actress Monal Gajjar shows promise in her role. The songs composed by Sri Vasanth are full of beat and energy. For the first time, we are surprised to see such humongous openings for Allari Naresh flick, thanks to the pre-release publicity that created a lot of hype around the film. Bheemineni played safe with his statement where he asked the audience not to search for LOGIC in the film, so he can’t be blamed for all the mismatches and goof-ups. So, let’s make way for this genre-defying MOCKUMENTARY.

Bottom-line: Sudigadu is a film spoof that is more of a doting testimonial than a vile derision. There are some very blatant digs on famous films - Businessman, Dookudu, Gabbar Singh, Shiva, Tagore, Robot, Boys, Prema Desam, Ye Maya Chesaave, and a tiresome deluge of Seema/faction films. Some are so generic that they can be attributed to any film irrespective of the hero or the director. The comedy has some clever touches, and if you relate every parody scene to its original, the fun quotient becomes exponential. The film is as nonsensical as it gets, and every little banality that it makes mockery of is amplified umpteen times over – The series of bullet episodes need a special mention. COMEDY, thy name is SUDIGADU!!

My Rating: Expectation - 7/10; Reality - 6/10

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