Telugu cinema Reviews

Gunturodu: Spicing up an old tale

Pragya Jaiswal and Manchu Manoj in the film  

The best thing about Gunturodu is it doesn’t take itself seriously. It doesn’t aim high; the team seems to know its strengths and limitations. The mass masala template is adhered to and as the film alternates between being loud and reasonably restrained, occasionally showing sparks of smartness.

Giving in to the cliché that comes with a setting in Guntur, we see the lead actor chewing on a red chilli as he beats up a dozen men. All without even getting up from his chair. Kanna (Manchu Manoj) has peculiar traits — he breaks into a gig when he’s happy and gets an itch on his palm when someone annoys him. The itch stops only when he beats up the person responsible.

Kanna is raised by a doting dad (Rajendra Prasad) who has no illusions about his temperamental son. In this hero-centric entertainer, the father’s characterisation stands out. The son has caused enough stress and the father admits his pet shih tzu is his balm. Director Satya uses the father-son track effectively. There’s one instance where Rajendra Prasad gasps for breath and races up an under construction high rise. Habituated to films that follow trite emotional tropes, you wait for things to pan out a certain way. It does, to an extent. Soon, there’s a little twist in the tale with scope for some spunk and Rajendra Prasad quietly steals the show.

In contrast, Sampath Raj playing criminal lawyer Seshu comes off as uni-dimensional, portrayed as a loud, angry ruffian who rarely exercises his grey cells. Gunturodu traces the clash between Seshu and Kanna in a story that’s so predictable. The hero falling in love with a girl related to his opponent is as old as the hills. The short bursts of smartness drown in this done-to-death story. Completing the picture are the hero’s comic friends, a few romantic numbers and some deftly choreographed action sequences.

Manchu Manoj, stockier than ever, is rather restrained this time around and carries his role with ease. Pragya Jaiswal is a picture of confidence and manages to make this regular heroine role look more appealing than the character actually is. She is at ease with the camera and it would be good to see her in more substantial parts. Sampath Raj does what best he can to salvage the ill-written character. For the most part, you’ll see him screaming and well, some more.

Mass masala films need writers who can come up with new lines. From Thuppakki to Kaththi (Khadi No.150) to Gunturodu, heroes tell their opponents ‘I’m waiting!’ Isn’t it time to think of something else?

Gunturodu

Cast: Manchu Manoj, Pragya Jaiswal, Rajendra Prasad and Sampath Raj

Direction: S K Satya

Music: DJ Vasanth

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2020 7:44:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/reviews/gunturodu-a-predictable-mass-masala-that-entertains-in-parts/article17400317.ece

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