Godfather: Two middle-aged superstars trying to behave like post-teen dudes

Salman Khan joins hands with Chiranjeevi in a mission to finish off the corrupt element in Andhra Pradesh’s politics. This sounds like some serious fantasy play, done up in the snazzy tones of a political propaganda.

Subhash K Jha September 29, 2022 14:23:03 IST
Godfather: Two middle-aged superstars trying to behave like post-teen dudes

Watching Chiranjeevi fight the baddies in the trailer of Mohan Raja’s Telugu film Godfather is a surreal experience. He does indeed look young enough to be his son Ram Charan’s elder brother. But that doesn’t actually make him young.

In the South, there is a culture of 60-plus heroes behaving like 20-year-old goon-cleaning one-man squad. There is a shot in the trailer of Godfather where Chiranjeevi sits on a goon who is on all fours. The audience in the theatres would love this. This is known as showing the rogues their real place.

For audiences in the Hindi belt, there is some spicy chola bhatura with the idli sambhar. Salman Khan joins hands with Chiranjeevi in a mission to finish off the corrupt element in Andhra Pradesh’s politics. This sounds like some serious fantasy play, done up in the snazzy tones of a political propaganda.

There is something intrinsically wonky about the trailer of Godfather. It reeks of desperation to succeed. That is not a good sign in cinema, least of all one featuring two fading superstars. Neither Chiranjeevi nor Salman has had success for some time now. Whether their combined force generates box office heat remains to be seen. The box office potential of the film looks bleak.

Interestingly Salman speaks his dialogue in Hindi in the Telugu film. His entry verbal fusillade goes something like, “Na yeh tera matter hai na yeh mera matter yeh family matter hai.”

If that makes any sense to you, good luck with that.

What is especially worrisome is the presence of Nayanthara as an upright politician trying to walk the straight and narrow path as her husband (played by Satyadev Kanacharana) has gone rogue. Nayanthara is not the first actress to play a female politician to be embarrassed by her kith and kin.

Initially, Nayanthara who is known as ‘Lady Superstar’ in the Tamil and Telugu film industry reportedly refused to be cast opposite a relatively new but talented upcoming actor Satyadev who has been seen making his presence felt in several Telugu films like the recent Netflix anthology Pitta Kathalu and Zee 5’s 47 Days. He was selected to co-star with ‘Lady Superstar’ as the plot’s focus is on the female lead, not her co-star.

It is common practice in Bollywood to cast talented non-A listers opposite A-lister heroines in female-centric films. Taapsee Pannu is often seen with actors who are not superstars like Vikrant Massey and Pavail Gulati.

It remains to be seen how Nayanthara’s role shapes up in this Telugu remake of the 2019 masculine-centic Malayalam blockbuster Lucifer where Manju Warrier had played the politician and Vivek Oberoi played her husband.

This brings me to the fundamental question: Why the remake of the film Lucifer in Malayalam that is already a big success on OTT? Mohanlal was widely appreciated in the original. Chiranjeevi has a hard battle ahead.

Subhash K Jha is a Patna-based film critic who has been writing about Bollywood for long enough to know the industry inside out. He tweets at @SubhashK_Jha.

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