‘Godfather’ movie review: An unabashed fanboy tribute that entertains in parts

The Telugu remake of ‘Lucifer’ that rides on the shoulders of Chiranjeevi stars Salman Khan in a guest appearance. However, Satyadev is the surprise package

October 06, 2022 12:21 pm | Updated October 08, 2022 08:31 am IST

Chiranjeevi in ‘Godfather’

Chiranjeevi in ‘Godfather’

The Telugu film Godfather, starring Chiranjeevi, Nayanthara, Satyadev Kancharana and Salman Khan in a guest appearance, is director Mohan Raja’s eighth remake. The director is aware that the source material, Malayalam film Lucifer starring Mohanlal, was an unabashed fanboy tribute to the star by actor-director Prithviraj Sukumaran. Mohan Raja takes the broad outline of Lucifer along with some of its key portions and does a fanboy tribute to Chiranjeevi. Godfather is shorter (157 minutes) than Lucifer (174 minutes) and also unapologetic about pandering to the lead actor’s fan base. 

The State’s chief minister named PKR passes away and a battle for succession ensues. PKR’s daughter Satyapriya (Nayanthara) is not keen on being the political heir but her husband Jaidev (Satyadev Kancharana) eyes the chief minister’s post. Also nursing his ambitions for the chair is PKR’s former aide, minister Varma (Murali Sharma). The one who can foil all their plans is Brahma (Chiranjeevi), the kingmaker who is loathed by Satyapriya for reasons that go back to her childhood.

The broad storyline involves clashes between Brahma and Jaidev and the story brings in a handful of other characters whose loyalties are not what they seem to be. These characters played by Sunil, Shafi and Brahmaji keep the proceedings interesting. Other characters include Puri Jagannadh, an investigative journalist and Anasuya a television news editor, both trying to stay on the right side of the moral compass.

Cast: Chiranjeevi, Nayanthara, Satyadev
Direction: Mohan Raja
Music: S Thaman

To Mohan Raja’s credit, he knows the strength of the original story but is also aware that the superhit Malayalam film that has been widely viewed needs to be presented fresh, rather than a frame-to-frame reproduction. He does away with one of the key characters from the original film, played by Tovino Thomas. This gives the story more room for Chiranjeevi, Nayanthara and Satyadev.

The film rides on the shoulders of Chiranjeevi, who sports a salt and pepper look and is at ease in the portions where he needs to put forth a restrained portrayal as the powerful kingmaker. The dialogues by Lakshmi Bhupal are on cue without being verbose and help to heighten the drama. Take for instance the now popular lines by Chiranjeevi, ‘nenu rajakeeyam nunchi dooramga unnanu, kaani rajakeeyam na nunchi dooram kaledu (I am staying far away from politics, but politics does not stay far from me). 

However, the characterisation of Brahma does not hold much intrigue as the film progresses. Though there is a supposed mystery about him, the adaptation strips away all grey shades. The final scene involving Interpol officers is laughable. It is this lack of nuance that prevents the film from rising above a loud fan-pleasing vehicle. 

Satyadev gets a character that is as devious as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and the actor revels in it. In the scenes where he crosses paths with Chiranjeevi or the showdown with Nayanthara, the actor nearly walks away with the film. Murali Sharma is fun to watch as a scheming politician.

Nayanthara gets a meatier role than Manju Warrier in the original, and she is effective as the stoic daughter and adamant woman who takes time to see things for what they are. She has to convey her emotional turbulence in a restrained manner and she does it well.

The unintentionally funny portions involve Salman Khan in a guest appearance; the action portions featuring him with customized weapons never have the desired effect thanks to the poor visual effects. He is called Masoom Khan and gets to shake a leg with Chiranjeevi. Music composer Thaman amps it up in the background score and with the ’Taar maar takkar maar’ song featuring the two actors, but the choreography felt underwhelming.

Godfather entertains in parts when the political intrigue leads to cat and mouse games. It had the potential to be a gripping political drama but ends up as one of those films that can be enjoyed only when you do not expect much from it. 

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