Reviews

James Bond: The unlikely couple

Allari Naresh and Sakshi in a still from the film  

Allari Naresh has always been the go-to actor for films with simple storylines meant to induce laughs. These films don’t take themselves seriously. A mix of slapstick, situational humour and spoofs maintain the fun quotient. The audience knows this and doesn’t expect more than a few good laughs. James Bond, with its tagline ‘ nenu kaadu naa pellam’ (not me, my wife), banks on this acceptance and brings together two diverse characters, somewhat inspired by My Wife is a Gangster.

Bullet or Pooja (Sakshi) is a don based in Dubai. Nani (Allari Naresh) is one of the many software engineers desperately trying to meet deadlines. She is the uncrowned queen of a mafia network. He runs away from an engagement when he sees the coy bride suddenly slap her thigh and swing a knife, true to her Rayalaseema roots. A twist of fate throws Nani, billed as the brand ambassador of cowardice, and don Pooja together.

Pooja gets the kind of introduction Telugu cinema usually reserves for its top-line heroes. We see her on a Dubai high rise surrounded by her henchmen, taking on a warring group. The dapper suits, dark glasses, guns, luxury wheels and the swagger are all reserved for her. Her opponent called Bada (Ashish Vidyarthi) realises it won’t be easy to take her down.

The introduction looks too good to be true. Having been treated to mainstream films where atypical women characters are, usually, made to tow the line in a few scenes, we wait for the drama to become routine. Pleasantly, it doesn’t. Pooja remains her steely self, even when she doesn’t reveal her true identity, after arriving in Hyderabad to attend to her mother.

Director Sai Kishore places her amidst Nani’s family, a motley bunch of characters, each with their own quirks. There is also a hilarious pre-interval block where Pooja shows her might when she takes on Prudhvi, whose character is styled like Balakrishna from Legend and Lion. There’s also a sub-plot highlighting the clichés of Rayalaseema mannerisms. Some of the spoofs look like an extension of Sudigaadu, also starring Allari Naresh, but nevertheless add to the fun.

Once the novelty of the storyline wears off and the spoofs run dry, the effort to induce humour seems strained. One has to sit through a few more songs, a long-winded sequence where at least a dozen characters are clad in a burqa to escape being identified, and a mandatory role reversal.

Allari Naresh does a good job of playing the meek guy in the relationship but struggles with a poorly written character that’s mostly uni-dimensional. Sakshi, on the other hand, gets the meatier part and looks striking as the don.

James Bond doesn’t provide great entertainment, but the laughs are worth the time if you don’t expect much from the film.

James Bond

Cast: Allari Naresh, Sakshi Chaudhary

Direction: Sai Kishore Macha

Music: Sai Karthik

Plot: Hell breaks loose when a coward unwittingly marries a don.

Bottomline: Plenty of laughs.


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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 3:00:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-reviews/james-bond-the-unlikely-couple/article7460597.ece

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