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Alludu Seenu: Outlandish launch pad

Samantha and Bellamkonda Sai Srinivas in the film.

Samantha and Bellamkonda Sai Srinivas in the film.  

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If this Friday’s release Alludu Seenu is to be taken seriously, a youngster arriving in Hyderabad from Sharjah will exclaim ‘green balls’ at the sight of watermelons and enquire about the missing fourth wheel when he spots an auto-rickshaw. Perhaps he always lived in a sand castle (a set where the latter portions of the film unfold) and is not net-savvy enough to have read up about India. The silliness that tries to pass off as comedy is numbing, and by the time these scenes play on screen, viewers have already been conditioned not to expect anything intelligent.

A few minutes into the opening of the film, we see Narasimha (Prakash Raj) and Alludu Seenu (Sai Srinivas) arriving at Kacheguda station assuming their train has reached Chennai. Eager to con such ‘naive’ people from small towns, autorickshaw driver Vennela Kishore drives them to Bibi Nagar as opposed to their request of Chennai’s Pondi Bazaar. Enroute, Narasimha and Alludu come across shopping malls with Telugu names and believe that since Chennai has a number of Telugu speaking people, retail giants have name boards in Telugu.

One doesn’t expect a storyline and screenplay that will exercise the grey cells in a film that positions itself as a launch pad for the producer’s son. A launch pad, most often, is a show-reel layered with all the ingredients considered safe for the box office. In such cases, what matters is whether the packaging is fresh enough to entertain the audience.

Alludu Seenu, introducing producer Bellamkonda Suresh’s son Sai Srinivas, is an attempt to show how the newcomer can flex his muscles, dance to fast numbers, shed a tear or two and win the girl he loves while also ensuring justice is upheld. This done-to-death formula is packaged with a lot of silly humour. The makers have spared no effort in making this a lavish launch pad — Tamannaah has been roped in for an item number (one of the lines in the song goes ‘naa onti rangu milku’ or my skin is the colour of milk), all dance sequences take place in over-the-top sets. Stereotypically, one associates Telugu cinema with multi-coloured, outlandish sets and this film reinforces it.

The storyline in such films is incidental. Here, we have Seenu chancing upon a don, Bhai (Prakash Raj in a dual role) and pull off con jobs with Narasimha, who can pretend to be Bhai. A case of mistaken identity makes Bhai’s daughter Anjali (Samantha) think he is the suitor selected by her dad. Not convinced that this Sharjhah-bred boy is the right match for her, she puts him through a series of tests, which involves introducing him to paani puri, watermelon and autorickshaw rides. No prizes for guessing that a story of betrayal would reveal itself when Narasimha and Bhai meet.

In this story that’s a rehash of several commercial hits in the past, the saving grace is Brahmanandam. Caught between the real and imposter don, he is in his element. Some of the humour involving him is staid and some of it genuinely funny.

Sai Srinivas seems to have honed his dancing skills and spent hours in the gym. Hopefully, his acting will improve along the way. This isn’t a film where one would analyse Samantha’s acting skills; she has been signed to be a glam doll and she does that part.

Director V.V. Vinayak, adept at handling commercial entertainers involving established stars, has attempted to do something similar with a newcomer. In one scene, we see Sai Srinivas jump off a high rise without harness to save Samantha. It would take a Tom Cruise, Shah Rukh or Salman Khan to make such an incredulous scene appear believable. In Alludu Seenu, the audience just cracks up. Therein lies the difference.

Alludu Seenu

Cast: Bellamkonda Sai Srinivas, Samantha, Prakash Raj and Brahmanandam

Direction: V.V. Vinayak

Music: Devi Sri Prasad

Story line: A mishmash of several commercial films.

Bottomline: Brahmanandam is the saving grace.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2019 11:40:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-reviews/alludu-seenu-outlandish-launch-pad/article6249134.ece

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