Not a patch on the original
Not a patch on the original

The quest for new stories, new plotlines is ongoing in Telugu cinema. While a majority of the releases are bad rehashes or stereotyped reruns of old hits, a few plumb the depths to unearth potentially interesting concepts. This week’s release @ Narthanasala too, on the face of it, had all the right chances to emerge as a watchable kind of a movie, having taken a leaf out of the NTR’s classic ‘Narthanashala’, released in 1963. 

The thespian had played the transgender dance teacher Bruhannala in his usual captivating manner, a sort of inspiration for its namesake, released a good 55 years later. This venture, however, pretends to take up the same theme but loses itself completely enroute. After a shaky, non-starter kind of a phase which lasts for the first 45 minutes, the film awkwardly passes over the phase when a male child (Naga Shaurya) is made to dress up as a female to satiate the unreasonable ego of the family patriarch. Of course, this is a very fascinating twist on its own, if it were to be followed by rib-tickling comical scenes, albeit under the commercial film formula which our directors are experts in taking up.

Yet, given the please-all mentality which bogs down the innovative urges of modern day creators, the film, helmed by debutante Srinivas Chakravarthy, totters and drags itself into a mishmash of borderline sex comedy and pseudo message mongering to the womenfolk to be brave and face the bad men in their lives. A half-hearted, ineffective variation to the macho hero is introduced when he plays a romantic game with a gay character to get into the heroine’s home and win her hand with the active support of the ladies in her home.

The usual insufferable acting style of Jayaprakash Reddy, which has stopped appealing to the public is seen in full flow, where he is shown as the heroine’s uncle. Then follows the unbearable hamming of Sivaji Raja, who is the hero’s father, popping in and out of scenes to slow down the film even further. One wonders why there are two heroines – Kashmira and Yamini Bhaskar - in the film, a home production of Naga Shaurya, which fails to give enough footage to either of them, even as the former manages to marry her beau at the end. A torrid time waste of a film, it ultimately turns out to be, a sad reflection of the muddle-headed manner the Telugu filmwalas operate in their desperate bid to entertain the fickle audience.

 


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