(Surrendering to War)
directed by Krishna Marimuthu
Naga Chaitanya as Arjun
Lavanya Tripathi as Anjali
Srikanth as Nayak
Rao Ramesh as Murali Krishna
Revathi as Seetha Lakshmi
Murali Sharma as Jayadev "JD" Shastri
Mohan's Measure ✳ ✳
Telengana has a history going back to the age of Mughal Kings. The representatives of this Empire, known as the Nawabs, ran the Deccan area as an Islamic State.
Now that it is a State of its own, it seems to be facing something of an identity crisis, as can be seen in Yuddham Sharanam.
The Cosmopolitan Metropolis of Hyderabad serves as the capital of the new state, and it is in this mix of Indian, Islamic, Chinese, and even American culture, a secular rich reside, work and play. Unlike the other Arjun movie, however, the Arjun of this movie is a dedicated member in cultured but caste-less, and largely godless family. Decidedly nuclear and undeniably sophisticated, the family finds warmth in the meaning of life interpreted by such families, gifts, restaurants, fancy clothing, and a Western-looking home. In such a family, so muses Arjun, nothing possible can ever go wrong and life can be a truly beautiful experience. That is until...
The "until" is where the crux of the problem lies. Because just like the rest of India, the "Americanized" city of Hyderabad is far from American morals. Corruption breeds more corruption, as money brings the possibility of wealth beyond imagination. One can only wonder to what extent of barbarism human beings can go to gain the power and security found in what to philosophers is little more than sheets of paper.
Yuddham Sharanam is really two scripts rolled into one. The first half is a one of those dreamy Indian rom-coms, where the boy is the perfect son, the girl next door becomes a perfect bride, and where good and loving parents smirk understandingly as a love story unfolds. But, somehow the charming Ms. Tripati goes schizophrenic on us too, as she suddenly dons a pair of shorts and a see through top - really, from the girl next door?
It is, however, the second half which really confuses us as layers upon layers of people are killed by a don, at times for no reason at all. Why would such a man, having more power than any government, find a threat in a nuclear family, even if they witnessed one of his hits? The question is even more puzzling when we discover that the perfect son can easily turn into a one man army to destroy him.
The young, perfect son, Arjun, goes to the extent of employing the Chinese water torture to make henchmen tell him about the world's most wanted don, Nayak. Just how does a young man dreaming of being an inventor find time to study torture, what to speak of working on six-pack abs?
There is another identity crisis here, too, the role of police. In a movie about vigilante justice, there is little room for honest cops. So, the resourceful and noble one at the beginning becomes a corrupt one at the end, making the star the only hero.
Yes, there are clever moments in the movie, but they are too few to count. But, despite the cleverness, there is something telling us that this movie, like so many others in Tollywood, lost control to storyline, leaving the plot behind.