Mohanlal, NTR Steer the ship to safety

Mohanlal, NTR Steer the ship to safety

Mankind is running short of time. At a time when felling trees in the name of development is making headlines, Koratala Siva decides to push the cause.

Mankind is running short of time. At a time when felling trees in the name of development is making headlines, Koratala Siva decides to push the cause. It could be counterproductive with an audience that never ever takes anything serious and refuses to accept a star outside their comfort zone. Not surprisingly the entire cast and story depends heavily on the star value. Notwithstanding the fact that the stars deliver the punch, the end product seems a tad tiring clichéd and falls between the two stools of entertainment and message carrying cinema.

A middle-class family headed by the elder patriarch Satyam (Mohanlal) arrives in Hyderabad. Satyam brings with him his sibling (Rahman) and soon a team Ajay, Brahmaji, Banerjee and John Kokken– join under him. Soon the Janatha Garage that they establish not only repairs vehicles but takes on social causes. “Anything gets repaired” is the adage. A rich businessman Mukesh Rana (Sachin Khedekar) enters the scene and builds a grudge that would keep the 162 minutes narrative going.

Satyam loses his brother and sister-in-law in the gang war and their son to the family of family bride (Suresh and Sithara). The little boy who is weaned away from the family and its backdrop is out in Mumbai to prove that blood is thicker than water and has green in his arteries. He is a social activist fighting to save environment and a good part of the earlier narrative is expended on the need for being environment friendly. Issues like felling trees, illegal mining, plastic bags and fireworks are all pointed out in passing and with the usual drama from Tollywood that makes it all so light.

Issues are here reduced to entertainment. The protagonist is so charismatic and picture perfect that you see him only in the precincts of the theatre and the script. Soon the green Anand (NTR) picks up panga with the local MLA in Mumbai and is thus shunted off to Hyderabad where, predictably, he runs into the family. He leaves behind his lady love Bujji (Samantha) with whom he has already had two love duets and discussions on a green society. At the other end is gal 2 (Nitya Menen) who is just out there to freak out away from a home full of restrictions.

We also have steadily climbing the ladder the local police officer Chandrashekar (Sai Kumar) who does not approve the means adopted by the members of the Janatha Garage. This local avatar of Don Corleone does not obviously find the approval of the law officer. The story thus has the love track involving the hero and two heroines and songs. One gets the role, the other gets the hero. There is then the family drama angle of parental love duty of the son and the failure of the erring son (Unni Mukundan- who joins the enemy and pays the price).

We also have the punch-filled drama and conflict between good and evil and dust raising, blood spilling fights to establish the eternal conflict between good and bad. In the midst of all this, we also have “the editor is on leave” board. Why else would a filmmaker desire to keep his viewer engaged for nearly three hours. This if nothing is a clear indication that our filmmakers are woefully out of tune with the times.

What keeps the film going is some stellar performances. Everyone takes his task with a degree of seriousness. Actors like Ajay, Banerjeee, Brahmaji, Devayani, Unni and Sithara do their job with sincerity and do not stretch too much. The heroines predictably and sadly have nothing to do and they are more than willing to throw some star dust into the dusty script.

The film then belongs truly to a very doctored well-toned performance from NTR. He carries his responsibility with a panache that may not find the immediate approval of his audience but sends a clear signal that he is an actor who given a good role can surely deliver and there is more to him than just lineage, fanfare and dance. He stands up shoulder to shoulder with the thespian Mohanlal who can never get anything wrong. This clash of two great actors is akin to the Akshay Bachchan outings. Worth watching for the contrasting styles within the same grammar!

Film Name : Janatha Garage

Cast : Mohanlal, NTR, Samantha and Nithya Menen
Direction : Koratala Siva
Genre : Drama-action
Likes : Mohanlal and NTR
Dislikes : Too long and formula-ridden

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