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Neither a love story nor a family drama

Neither a love story nor a family drama
Highlights

Sai Tej, the newly abridged name of the young hero Sai Dharam Tej returns to the box office race with ‘Chitralahari’ after a series of flops in the last three years.

Sai Tej, the newly abridged name of the young hero Sai Dharam Tej returns to the box office race with 'Chitralahari' after a series of flops in the last three years. Directed by Kishore Tirumala, who has had a mixed run in wooing the Telugu audience, the film tries to give a soft, human touch to the hero and attempts to show him failing in what he wants to achieve till the final reel, when things conspire to work in his favour, at last.

A listless kind of a pace bogs down the first half when the protagonist is shown inching his way up, supported by a father who is inspiring enough (Posani Krishna Murali) and a sweetheart ( Kalyani Priyadarshan) who falls for him, despite one of her friends (Nivetha Pethuraj) warning her to stay away. Sunil, the hero-turned-comedian in his recent films, is shown as Sai Tej's 'glass mate' as they are seen whiling away their evenings in a friendly, neighbourhood bar.

Of course, not all that the hero does is a waste of time, as he is time and again, shown designing an app which is aimed at providing critical information, post-accidents on roads to the concerned authorities. All the while, however, the misunderstandings and lover tiffs which are shown rob the seriousness of the hero's endeavour.

In the second half, the tedium continues and pressures mount on the hero to prove himself. How he does it, by making himself useful and emphasising his worth in the corporate world takes up the final portions of the 130-minute film. Yet, it is not all that feel good and heartwarming as the narrative is highly sluggish, predictable and gives no scope for any character to stand out. It must be hurting for Sai Tej who not only has the closest resemblance to megastar in his onscreen moves and action to keep hunting for that elusive hit, which may prove to be a mirage this time too. A sloppy storyline and unimaginative sequencing dilutes a potential winner, reducing it to an also-ran kind of a venture, the likes of which has been the bane of Telugu commercial cinema for decades now.

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