Post Sudigadu, Allari Naresh fans look up to him for the same bag of gags but director Satti Babu squanders away Allari Naresh’s chance of scoring a hit exactly one hour after the film commences. A simple and a cute story refuses to move ahead post interval and the socio-fantasy turns into a clichéd sentimental family drama. Plenty of double entendres, cleverly masked obscenity and Chitragupta’s sexual innuendos targeted at Yama, spoofs from films — all in the beginning of the film assure one that Yamudu (Sayaji Shinde) and his Mogudu (Naresh) are out to create a two and a half hour laugh riot.

Naresh (Naresh) is a mere mortal born in a theatre and moves on to theatrics; on one such day when he ought to stage the Ramayana, his colleague Sita goes missing. The real Narada replaces Sita with Yama’s daughter Yamaja (Richa Panai) and the latter falls in love with him. Why Narada brings Yamaja to the earth is a different story. Yama descends in search of his daughter and takes her away and Naresh who realises her love for him follows Yama to his kingdom, holding on to the buffalo’s tail.

The entire entertainment is confined to the first half of the film, though there are a sporadic funny scenes of a cricket match in Yamalokam, the story fails to move forward, at times there is a glaring absence of logic. Naresh is supposed to be vested with powers as he is born without destiny but he is portrayed as a hapless, anxious youth waiting for a solution. While Yama’s kingdom appears as a street play on screen, the family drama involving Chandra Mohan and his son turn into a Muthyala Subbaiah’s tearjerker. There is a Chaplinesque dance that makes one yawn and doesn’t leave time and patience to think of the message the character is attempting to convey. The biggest flaw is that the film begins on a fresh note, raises expectations and turns into a regular Yama story. Most scenes look heavily inspired and influenced by previous Yama movies.

Ramya Krishna who is on the heavier side is seen wearing a celestial costume, slips into a sleeveless, ill-fitting dress in a remix song of ‘Attho Atthamma Koothuro’ and forces you to turn your head away. Not that the actors in the original film and the original song were far better, it is just that the director and the actors have lost their sense of judgement and improvisation even after years of the release of Chiranjeevi starrer. Telugu audiences are used to import of heroines but they still cringe when the girls show an enthusiasm to dub their voices. There cannot be a bigger misfortune when Sayaji Shinde pronounces Puthrotsaham as Putra Utsaham and Richa Panai speaks in a language that sounds only remotely like Telugu.

Naresh is not at his best but is okay, he enjoys his repartees. He clearly fails in bringing out melancholy in the finale. Krishna Bhagwan’s dialogues and some by Naresh are down right disgusting. A better second half could have made the film an average watch. This one is clearly made for the mass audience.

YAMUDIKI MOGUDU

Cast: Naresh, Richa Panai

Direction: E Satti Babu

Music: Koti

Genre: Socio Fantasy

Plot: A mortal’s battle of wits with Yama for his daughter

Bottomline: An expensive stage play on screen