Telugu cinema Reviews

Mister: An overloaded bus

Varun Tej and Lavanya Tripathi in the film  

An hour into Mister, Chai (Varun Tej) finds himself on a bus packed with a hundred people and their belongings. Extra baggage hangs from the sides and there’s more on the roof. Another group of people, each one carrying sacks of fresh produce, stop the bus and want to get in. Chai doles out a few thousand rupees to match their earnings for the day and sends them off, because he and the fellow passengers shudder to think of the plight of this already heaving vehicle if they were to get in. Mister is in a similar situation. It’s crammed with too many characters and some of them are dispensed with at will, like those villagers who’d hoped to get on to the bus.

Mister starts off with a fully suited villain in the middle of a forest, declaring that he wants to rule the area. One village, led by the righteous Pichayya Naidu (Nasser), stands in the way. The grand old man lives on his own, hoping his grandson would visit him soon. Something from the past has strained their bond. The grandson Chai, meanwhile, is serenading Meera (Hebah Patel) who is visiting Spain. Through that entire Spain episode, I kept wondering why she’s in Spain. It’s nothing more than an excuse to make these characters connect in an exotic European destination. Many mainstream films do that anyway, so I tried to look past that flakiness. In the meantime, Varun and Hebah struggle with their parts. The dialogues, from Varun, Satyam Rajesh and that Spanish boy who speaks Telugu, come in spurts. They speak like they’ve been asked to rush through their lines.

Eventually the son of the soil is home bound and finds himself in a bizarre region that’s a reminiscent of Vijayanagara empire. When Chandramukhi (Lavanya Tripathi) asks what a mobile phone is, she’s not trying to act cute. She’s grown up in a place that’s cut off from today’s civilisation. This kingdom is a world apart from Spain, and here Chai is sentenced to death by the chieftain (Murli Sharma). They speak in Kannada, Chai has no clue and thinks he’s being honoured. Before he’s taken to a guillotine, he gets to watch an item number!

Some portions of the film get that bizarre. But by then, we’ve sat through quite a bit — a satire on the film industry through a failed director (Prudhvi), Shakalaka Shankar and others staunchly holding on to Gandhian way of life in a hamlet and much before that, an elaborate spoof on Oopiri. More characters appear. Another roster of names including Priyadarshi Pulikonda and Brahmaji are wasted.

In between all this is a question of who falls in love with whom and who has a large heart. Varun, Hebah and Lavanya have an easy screen presence and capable of solid performances but are wasted in an incoherent film.

In the end, one is left with questions. Was this the story given by the writer? Or did elements get thrown in at random? We’d never know.


Cast: Varun Tej, Hebah Patel, Lavanya Tripathi

Direction: Sreenu Vaitla

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Printable version | Sep 14, 2021 9:33:41 AM |

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