Katamarayudu movie review: This is a Pawan Kalyan show all the way
'Powerstar' Pawan Kalyan's latest action entertainer Katamarayudu, a remake of Ajith's Veeram, sets out to achieve two goals, beyond whatever story it tries to tell.
The first of the two is to portray Pawan Kalyan as a messiah of the downtrodden and helpless. And the second is to set things right, post the debacle of Pawan Kalyan's previous film Sardaar Gabbar Singh. The film succeeds in whatever it tries to achieve, although it doesn't quite do anything spectacular to keep the audiences hooked into its world.
If anything, the film reinforces the notion that Pawan Kalyan's attitude and charisma haven't diminished at all.
Katamarayudu makes no bones about portraying its lead actor as a larger-than-life persona, whose gaze alone is enough to send shivers down the spine of the goons and corrupt politicians. It also helps that Pawan Kalyan himself loosens up to dig deep into his fun side and turn this family drama into a fairly entertaining ride, until it hits all the possible cliches to keep the proceedings going.
This is a film whose story might very well have been brushed aside had it not been for the camaraderie between Pawan Kalyan and his four brothers, played by Ajay, Siva Balaji, Chaitanya Krishna and Kamal Kamaraju. The four are evidently in awe of their co-star, respect his persona, and it shows in the film.
But then, this is the kind of film which is more interested in creating whistle-worthy moments for the actor's fans rather than telling a strong story.
We are told that Katamarayudu (Pawan Kalyan) is the most powerful man of his area and he doesn't tolerate injustice to the farmers in the region. He lives in a palatial house along with his younger brothers. His life is almost perfect, except the fact that he doesn't like women, although all his brothers hope to get married someday.
Soon, all of them plot together to introduce a classical dancer Avanthi (Shruti Haasan) to Katamarayudu. The rest of the story is about how Katamarayudu and Avanthi fall in love with each other and how he becomes a better person in the process.
The first half of the film is filled with some genuinely funny moments centered around Pawan Kalyan, Ali and Shruti Haasan. There is a scene where Katamarayudu knows that he has begun to like Avanthi, despite his reluctance to fall in love, and all he does is smile to himself. In another instance, he tells her that he doesn't know how to express his love and that he wanted to send her a "love symbol" on his phone to propose to her.
In the context of the film and its characters, the two scenes tell everything that one needs to know about how director Kishore Kumar Pardasani has treated Katamarayudu's character. It is subtle but pretty well done. Shruti Haasan is gorgeous in the film and delivers a credible performance. Among others, Rao Ramesh shines the most and his trademark dialogue 'Kaani Kaani Kaani Kaani' (Kaani loosely translates to 'but') will stay with you long after you walk out of the theatre.
Despite all its good moments in the first half, Katamarayudu leaves you with mixed feelings in the end. It gives us just enough material to talk about and doesn't try too hard to evoke an overwhelming urge to empathise with its characters. The second half in particular leaves you with a deja vu feeling about heroes rescuing other families and villagers from serious troubles. The uninspiring background score is another big letdown.
There are films which overwhelm you and then there are films which underwhelm the audience. Katamarayudu is the kind of film which just whelms the audience.
Go watch it for Pawan Kalyan and a taste of 'seema pourusham' (Rayalamseema's pride), but chances are that you have seen the same story several times in the past sans Pawan Kalyan.
In the end, when you are asked the inevitable question: how was the film? You know what to say and it's there in the film - Bagundhi, Kaani Kaani Kaani Kaani (Everything is alright, but but but but).