How much can you de-risk a film from failing? Right from the title ‘ Intelligent’ spelt with an extra T to take care of numerological reasons, to raking up nostalgia with retro fitting an old Ilaiyaraja number (from the old mega star hit ‘ Kondaveeti Donga’) director V V Vinayak tries every trick in the book.
The usual Telugu commercial cinema venture of his has a hi-tech overhang too, when characters hack into bank account numbers and messages are exchanged freely over WhatsApp and shared over Facebook. All this, when you have a popular pair like ‘Supreme Hero’ Sai Dharam Tej and the comely Lavanya Tripathi to steer the proceedings of what ends up to be a tiresome, formulistic film.
In a bid to give his hero a smart, contemporary image of a modern day youngster, Vinayak shows him growing up to be a software engineer. However, the first half plods on exhaustingly with his dalliances and brushes with the bad guys who want to usurp his mentor’s software company, working for public welfare.
Nasser is seen in a typical father’s role whose daughter is obviously the heroine and the future boss of the hero, who instead behaves like his understudy, given the machismo compulsions of the techy protagonist.
The film is thus all about a remote-controlling don ( Rahul Dev) who confronts his tormentor when his brother, the local bad guy (Dev Gill) confronting the hero and his boss is killed and then everything is out into the open.
Bullets fly from one end of the screen to the other and each group tries to outwit the other with their own strategies and games. Right from the cops to the henchmen, everybody plays their own tricks and finally, the hero triumphs when he outwits the entire lot of politicians and their behind-the-scene backers.
With nothing to make it stand out from the regular potboilers which have been flooding the theatres over decades, Vinayak’s attempt to lend a clever touch to Sai Dharam Tej is marred by his love for pre-fabricated methods, which includes regular dream sequences and a mirthless comedy from Brahmananadam, who is frankly boring.
There is of course a fierce battle for megastar’s legacy among his family members, which given the postures and dance moves seem to belong to his nephew, who apes him non-stop and yet flounders despite all the hard work he puts in. There is more brawn than brain in this film and it is not going to add to the better watched ones of anyone associated with it.