It’s a Catch 22 situation when a filmmaker with an enviable body of work as a writer and director takes up the task of directing a hero known for his mass appeal. Should he retain his signature style or offer a Dabanng-style (or should we say Gabbar Singh) entertainer? If Pawan Kalyan has a humungous fan base that laps up all the orchestrated comic episodes, slow-motion action sequences and his quirky dialogue delivery with just a tilt of his head, there’s Trivikram Srinivas who has his own following that appreciates his writing (he wrote the dialogues and story of Manmadhudu) and his skill as a director who uses his actors well (Athadu and Khaleja are cases in point. Though Khaleja was panned at the time of its release, it has earned a following with time). Pawan Kalyan and Trivikram have come together earlier for Jalsa and Theenmaar, but the equation is different for Attarintiki Daaredi. After two successive hits in Gabbar Singh and Cameraman Gangatho Rambabu, there’s the added pressure of delivering the chops to the fan base that wants sheer magic.
A few minutes into the film, as you watch Milan-based tycoon Boman Irani extol the heroic qualities of his grandson Gautam (Pawan Kalyan) and how he can overpower any goon, you shudder at the prospect of watching another mafia-bashing film that’s high on style and low on content. Mercifully, as the title suggests, this is a family drama. Boman, about to turn 80, longs to see his daughter (Nadiya) who hasn’t come visiting ever since he banished her from the house for marrying a middle class lawyer (Rao Ramesh) against his wishes. He sends Gautam to India to mend the strained relationship. Gautam travels by chartered flights and can cough up a small fortune to buy a cool pair of wheels in a matter of minutes, but has to leave his aristocratic bearings aside and do what a few other heroes have done in the past — enter the aunt’s house as a chauffeur.
From here, it’s easy to guess which direction the film is headed. A strong-willed aunt asserts that she will not visit her father even though she herself reels in debts. A determined Gautam plods on, along the way striking a rapport with his aunt’s daughters Pranitha and Samantha. Pranitha shows improvement from her previous films and Samantha effortlessly scorches the screen.
When we begin to wonder how far this film will go with its wafer-thin storyline, the director ensures the audience is given plenty of laugh-aloud moments. Pawan Kalyan is at ease in these sequences, with help from M.S. Narayana, Ali and Posani. Brahmanandam arrives much later and brings the house down when he attempts a spoof on Gladiator called ‘Radiator’ and wins the ‘Bascar’ awards. The ‘Ahalya’ drama episode supposedly scripted by Brahmanandam starts off well but becomes a tad too long.
The latter portions of the film have enough to keep the fan base happy with several comedy sequences, some hilarious and some that seem force-fit. In between all this, Trivikram makes his presence evident in the climax. And this is where you get to see the mellow side of Pawan Kalyan. Having expressed his point of view, he lets Nadiya takeover and call the shots.
Trivikram has tried balancing between offering a family entertainer and pleasing the fan clubs. The screenplay is wobbly at times and it’s easy to see through the attempts to make up for it with comedy. A few lines make you cringe while most others are jolly good fun. The production is sleek and Prasad Murella’s cinematography and Devi Sri Prasad’s music fit the bill.
If a refined mass-style entertainment is what you seek, this film is paisa vasool.
Cast: Pawan Kalyan, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Pranitha and Nadiya
Direction: Trivikram Srinivas
Music: Devi Sri Prasad
Story line: A business heir has to eat humble pie in a bid to mend strained relationships.
Bottomline: A good dose of fun, tailored for the box office.