Mahesh Babu dazzles in a cliched storyline
Mahesh Babu dazzles in a cliched storyline

 Political films, incorporating contemporary developments have become a regular feature in Telugu cinema over the last one year.  

Beginning with ‘Nene Raju Nene Mantri’ starring Rana, followed by MLA of Kalyan Ram, Superstar Mahesh Babu’s summer sensation ‘Bharat AneNenu’ completes the list. An out-and-out political thriller, it is Mahesh’s ‘Swadesh’ moment, a la Shahrukh Khan, of a foreign-returned youngster trying to  elevate the lives of his fellow Indians.

Director Koratala Siva presents a rather long film of 173 minutes, aiming solely at the support from the vast number of Mahesh Babu fans round the world. After a quick intro about the Non-Resident Indian status of the protagonist, the director wastes no time in pitchforking him into the rough and tumble of state politics, run from the background by a wily schemer (Prakash Raj) who anoints his dead friend’s (Sarath Kumar) son as the Chief Minister in a bid to remote control the state of affairs ( pun intended). 

Of course, none of his plans work as the hero shows that he has a mind of his own despite being a novice in political matters. Using it as his strength, the new CM comes up with tectonic shifts in policy matters and governance rules, including stringent fines for traffic violators.

 It undoubtedly upsets the applecart of the old guard who are forced out of their comfort zone. Very soon, the shadow boxing assumes a straight slug fest kind of a nature, with both the lobbies attacking each other and the hero triumphing once again, shown swearing in for the second time at the end of the film to re-dedicate himself for public welfare totally.

As a story line, there is nothing new about the super heroism of the lead star or the doomed-to-fail evil designs of the bad guys. The guesswork that goes into how this narrative will pan out as it progresses too is not very taxing, as the director wants to just build on the superman nature of the do-gooder chief minister.  

What stands out is the slick presentation, the gorgeous Kiara Advani, who maintains a lovely poise unique to her own and the grandeur of the visual effects taken up. Yet, a watchable first half of the film starts dragging in the second half when the CM comes under attack and works hard to redeem  himself from the scandal which plagues him.  A belated twist at the end to portray the villain in an even more ghastly manner is something which one expects to happen.

While Mahesh Babu dazzles, his lady love lives up to her role adequately. Prakash Raj has to find himself a way to move out from the southern film industry and do something different as he is so predictable with his dialogue delivery and mannerisms.  That said, the film may end up disappointing the core fans for its tepid storyline and the formulistic fare it ends up as, ultimately.