Amar Akbar Anthony Review: A clumsy revenge drama
Despite having all the ingredients for good commercial cinema, this Ravi Teja-starrer ends up being a lacklustre film thanks to the clumsy screenplay
Sreenu Vaitla's Amar Akbar Anthony has its good and bad aspects. The good is that the director has chosen a refreshingly different story from his recent run-of-the-mill films. The bad is that it fails to match up to the standards set by Vaitla and Ravi Teja, who have earlier delivered laugh riots like Venky and Dubai Seenu.
Cast: Ravi Teja, Ileana, Sunil, Vennela Kishore
Direction: Sreenu Vaitla
Amar Akbar Anthony has all the ingredients for good commercial cinema, but ends up being a lacklustre film all the same. This is a film that wants to be many things all at once - a revenge saga, family drama, action entertainer and comedy intended as a satire on the Telugu associations in the US. However, none of this lands because the writing is so insipid.
The narrative introduces us to two NRI friends-turned-business tycoons, who run a company named Fido (meaning Trust in Latin). They decide to reward four of their employees for their hard work with a 20 per cent share in the company. Motivated by greed, these four kill the friends and their families. However, their children -- Amar and Aishwarya -- survive. Amar (Ravi Teja), who walks out of prison in the US after a 14-year term, yearns for revenge, while Aishwarya aka Pooja (Ileana) ends up as an event manager. Incidentally, both suffer from a complex psychological condition. While the sound of a glass shattering or a bomb exploding changes the personality of Amar to Akbar and Anthony, the mention of the word 'trust' exposes Pooja’s violent side.
Amar Akbar Anthony goes from a legitimate family entertainer to a revenge drama without any warning. It's evident that Vaitla is trying to step out from his comfort zone and try out a different idea, but his exploration of the theme scratches only the surface. The story has a spark but that is squandered away by the clumsy screenplay.
Instead of sticking faithfully to the revenge plot, the director infuses it with a puerile comedy track involving a bunch of comedians like Vennela Kishore, Satya and Sunil. But to their credit, though it doesn't belong in this film, the comedy does work on its own. There is also a swipe at a popular Telugu actor known for trading on his late father’s legacy and his punch dialogues peppered with references to his lineage. The theatre burst into laughter when he says, "Nannagaru eppudu chepthu undevaaru dhairye saahase lakshmi ani."
Amidst all the relentless action, it's hard to root for the lead pair, as they get little scope to reignite the chemistry that was evident in Khatarnak, Kick and Devudu Chesina Manushulu. Meanwhile, Sayaji Shinde, Jayaprakash Reddy and Abhimanyu Singh stick out like cardboard caricatures.
Surprisingly, SS Thaman, who had an eventful year with back-to-back hits, delivers his most uninspiring score in years. Perhaps this explains why Vaitla wasn’t inspired enough to make the songs as visually appealing as those in his earlier outings.
The plot is mired in predictability and the film soon turns into an excessive melodrama. The overlong climax doesn't help matters either Slick execution with strong characterisations could have saved this from being a snooze fest. But as it is, there's not much of worth here.