Katamarayadu - "veeram" off course

2017, Telugu
directed by
Kishore Kumar Pardasani

Pawan Kalyan as Katamarayudu
Shruti Hassan as Avanthika
Rao Ramesh as Narsappa
Ali as Linga Babu / Lingam
Ajay as Konda Babu
Siva Balaji as Sivarayudu
Nassar as Judge Bhupathi, Avanthika's father

Mohan's Measure ✳ ✳

Multi-lingual film-goers will immediately recognize Katamarayadu as a glaring imitation of Veeram, Ajith's moderate success of 2014, except in one area, comedy.  That's because this version doesn't have any.

Mr. Pawan Kalyan, normally the personification of eccentricity on screen seems almost too focused, too caught up in the intensity of the action, to have time to play the likable character that Ajith played in the original.  So, while he does justice to the role, he just can't create the magic needed to get the film off the ground.

Off the ground in egocentricity is Ms. Hassan, who seems to full of herself to even know she is to play opposite a hero.  This becomes obvious in the item dance songs, each involving her character not even turning to face the hero while dancing.

Stoic-faced too is Ali, whose little comedy in the beginning of the movie fails to capture us.  He seems like he wants to make something funny, but doesn't know where to fit it all in.

If anything does fit, it is the superb job Mr. Rao, whose combination of comic relief and frustrated cynicism brings offbeat fun to what should have been an offbeat story.

While I remain skeptical, Nassar's entrance into the second half and a closer following of the original script makes us to leave the theater slightly less than disappointed