Even as a child, Anand (NTR Jr) wants to plant trees rather than play typical boy games. And he grows up to be an environmentalist who wants to save the planet. Anand, who lives in Mumbai with his uncle, is not your typical college kid and that is evident from the social activism he gets involved in.
His pretty cousin Dhana (Samantha Ruth Prabhu) turns his paramour and soon joins him in his quest. But his life drastically changes when he heads to Hyderabad and he ends up meeting Sathyam (Mohanlal) who runs Janatha Garage. Sathyam is a savour of the masses and those in trouble, and Janatha Garage is his automobile repair shop from where he operates. And that becomes their identity.
Director Koratala Siva has tread the path that many other directors have taken in the past — a young man turns vigilante and wants to do good for society. But the major difference in his film Janatha Garage is that he has Malayalam star Mohanlal essaying a pivotal role and NTR Jr as the lead.
For Mohanlal, this film is one of the few he has taken on in another language. His screen presence adds tremendous value to the film and the role of Sathyam in fact reminds you of Mammooty's role in Mani Ratnam's Thalapathy.
NTR Jr has performed well in a role which sees different shades. His choice of films in recent times also shows that he wants to experiment and breakaway from the usual masala films that he had been doing. While Nannako Prematho was one such film, Janatha Garage is another.
Anand has bigger goals in life rather than to just romance women in beautiful locales and have a friend who provides comic relief. Of course, he has plenty of opportunity in this film to show off his wonderful dancing skills.
Koratala Siva may have made a family-oriented action film that is cliche-ridden but he has shown NTR Jr in a different avatar in Janatha Garage.
But there are loopholes; for example why would an environmentalist who wants to save the planet be OK with killing people? Or why the police ignore what happens through Janatha Garage? Despite the flaws, it is the on-screen interaction between Mohanlal and NTR Jr, especially in the second half, that is the essence of the film.
Janatha Garage may not be one of director Koratala Siva's best films but it is a film that has its moments where Mohanlal and NTR Jr shine. Janatha Garage may fix people's problems on reel but at 2 hrs and 42 mins, one's engine starts to buckle in real. It provides a ride that is entertaining for the most part.