Indian cinema, we tend to believe, is gradually embracing a less formulaic approach to filmmaking. Hope comes in the form of films that entertain yet appeal to the intelligentsia with understated acting and crisp storytelling. And then, there are those films that fall back on formula — pack in highly-stylised action sequences, throw in a few songs, sprinkle some melodrama and weave a plot centred on the hero. Mr. Nookayya falls into the second category. Nothing wrong with playing to the gallery, provided you have a gripping narrative. This is where Mr. Nookayya falls short.
Nokia or Nookayya (Manchu Manoj) can smell a mobile phone from a distance and has a way with stealing phones, from those owned by lesser mortals to heavyweight politicians. He flicks Anuradha’s (Kriti Karbanda) high-end mobile phone at a railway station only to realise that the phone is a link between Anuradha and Shahjahan Bismil (Murali Sharma), a gang leader who has kidnapped her husband Kiran (Raja, in a guest appearance) for a ransom of Rs. 2 crore. Anuradha, a newly-wed bank manager, has stolen money from her bank with the hope of saving her husband. How Nokia’s path crosses with Anuradha and whether he saves Kiran forms the rest of the story.
Manoj takes on the mantle of stunt choreographer and gives his best to the slow motion action sequences. The film gives him scope to prove his comic timing too. Kriti Karbanda has nothing much to do except shed tears. Sana Khan, as Manoj’s girlfriend, adds to the glamour quotient and nothing more. It’s refreshing to see Raja after a hiatus. Murli Sharma looks menacing as the gang leader and again, is limited by a monotonous character. Brahmanandam puts in a guest appearance just to pack in a few gags.
Mr. Nookayya could have been an engaging thriller had the makers not let the narrative meander. What you get is a loud, over-the-top flick. Yuvan Shankar Raja shows his merit in one song but this is clearly not among his best films. Watch it if you don’t mind taking the formulaic route to entertainment.
Cast: Manchu Manoj, Kriti Karbanda, Sana Khan and Raja
Direction: Ani Kannekanti
Plot: A phone thief crosses path with a newly-wed woman who wants to save her husband from the villain.
Bottom line: Relies more on style than on substance.