Cinema

Sarrainodu: Marred by a yawn-inducing plot

Allu Arjun in Sarrainodu  

When Allu Arjun goes ‘Anytime, anywhere, anybody…nenu ready’, one wonders if the line was written for another actor, who slaps his thighs and revels in high-pitch dialogue delivery. Director Boyapati Sreenu hasn’t yet stepped out of the Legend mould. There are ‘mass’ films and there are Boyapati style mass films. Those who’ve watched his previous films will know what we’re talking about.

‘Erra tholu kada style ga untadu anukunnavemo… mass, oora mass’ Allu Arjun screams in another scene. That scene, which brings him face to face with Vairam Dhanush (Aadhi Pinisetty) in the latter’s den could well have been the film’s climax. The inevitable clash would have been a tame end to the face off that’s painstakingly built, but it would have saved the film from becoming a drag. The portions that follow are exhausting.

At 159 minutes, Sarrainodu entertains in parts but struggles to keep you hooked. The entertainment comes from the fact that there’s an actor in control, who rises above the mediocre, redundant plot. Allu Arjun merits attention when he’s in the frame. There are more than enough dance numbers to showcase his fine dancing skills and well choreographed action sequences that show his agility. Scratch beneath the surface and there’s a capable actor waiting to be tapped. The court scene, where he quietly broods, is an example of what he’s capable of.

If a film is tailor-made to draw on the strengths of an actor and please his growing fan base, it also needs a good plot and imaginative storytelling. What we get is a beaten-to-death trope of a villain, backed by his politician father, indulging in land grabbing and brutally killing anyone in his path. At least half a dozen films in the recent past have had villains amassing land from hapless villagers to set up an oil company/mining and the likes.

Boyapati’s hero comes from a family that has some clout. The father Umapathi (Jayaprakash) is Chief Secretary of State and uncle Sripathi (Srikanth) is a lawyer. The lawyer settles problems out of court with some vigilante justice thanks to Gana (Allu Arjun). To give this socially conscious, full-of-brawn hero an air of respect, he’s shown as a military man who gave up his position to bring justice where it’s needed.

The film is slick thanks to Rishi Punjabi’s cinematography and a good technical team. There are mass moments that attract wolf whistles, but the film is let down by a yawn-inducing plot and a contrived climax. The leading ladies have nothing much to do. The characterisation of Catherine Tresa as an MLA is laughable. Gana pursues her ever since he sets eyes on her. Ideally, this kind of teasing amounts to stalking and it’s absurd how she doesn’t use her power to put him in place. Catherine has a good screen presence and matches steps with Allu Arjun in the ‘Private party’ song, but she’s stuck with a silly role.

When one heroine is glamorous, expect the other to be docile, even weepy. Barring the songs where Rakul Preet gets to be her stylish best, she is made to sob and sob some more. She does what’s expected of her quite well but you feel sorry to see her in this role with a limited scope.

Aadhi Pinisetty is menacing and as always, his diction is spot on. Among the supporting cast, Jayaprakash and Srikanth make an impact. Brahmanandam is there to bring in a few laughs, but it’s Vidyu Raman who brings the house down. Her role is caricaturish, as a sambar-obsessed Tamilian but she pulls it off.

It’s fine to play to the gallery, but is it too much to ask for a fresh storyline?

Sarrainodu

Cast: Allu Arjun, Catherine Tresa and Rakul Preet Singh

Director: Boyapati Sreenu

Music: Thaman

Rating: 2.5

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 1:08:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/sarrainodu-marred-by-a-yawninducing-plot/article8508730.ece

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