Sarileru Neekevvaru Movie Review: Mediocre, uninspiring, and packed with cliches
To be honest, there are seveal student skits that are more engaging than this 'comedy'; how many times can you repeat the same joke before it stops being funny?
If there's one thing Anil Ravipudi has succeeded in achieving with his latest film Sarileru Neekevvaru, it is in bringing back the Mahesh Babu of 2000s, who has fun on-screen and is in his element. From effortlessly pulling off an action sequence to the slo-mo dance movements and his charming smile to meticulous dialogue delivery, it's a delight to watch the actor do what he is good at. There's also a powerful interval fight sequence at the iconic Kondareddy Buruju that comes with a surprise, and it's a joy when watched on the big screen.
Sarileru Neekevvaru is the story of Major Ajay Krishna (Mahesh Babu) who leads the operations at the Kashmir regiment. During a rescue operation, one of his subordinates gets wounded and continues to fight for life. So Ajay takes the onus to convey the message to his junior's mother Bharati (Vijayashanti) and lands in Kurnool. He finds out that Bharati and family are trying to save themselves from the evil clutches of Minister Y Nagendra (Prakash Raj) and becomes a saviour of her family.
Cast: Mahesh Babu, Rashmika Mandanna, Vijayashanti, Prakash Raj
Director: Anil Ravipudi
The film starts off smoothly but becomes a repetitive and predictable mess when writer-director Anil Ravipudi desperately tries to exploit the comic possibilities in every scenario. From the word go, the film looks like a skit because of the amateurish making. Its biggest flaw is undoubtedly the wafer-thin plot which seems like something straight out of the reject pile of a script-writing collection.
Sarileru Neekevvaru's best moments, however, are those between Mahesh Babu and Vijayashanti. They share a healthy relationship and there were times it reminded me of Pawan Kalyan's Balu, about a young man standing as a saviour to an older woman and family. The director compares Mahesh to Alluri Sitarama Raju and tries to keep the patriotic spark alive in viewers with a few dialogues about soldiers serving at the border. There are also issues like corruption and lack of sanitation at schools discussed in the movie. These things do not add to the story and only give the film a preachy tone. I feel there are many possibilities to narrate these in an interesting manner, but the director squanders it.
There is a heavy hangover of F2: Fun & Frustration in this film. The bitter truth is that Anil Ravipudi's script quickly runs out of ideas and goes around in circles. The film's tone is not consistent and there are so many scenes that are completely incoherent. The comedy scenes are occasionally funny and largely silly.
The much-hyped train episode is a nightmare in the name of comedy. It’s replete with trite dialogues and infantile humour, so much so that you turn away your face in disgust. How many times do we need to see a young woman falling for Mahesh's good looks, and trying to impress him, as he relentlessly snubs her with his wit? It appears like the female leads or the other young women in the film don't have any other job beyond wooing this good-looking man and getting hitched. The women delivering loud and over-the-top dialogues, which seems to have become a trademark of Anil Ravipudi’s films, is not funny at all.
Of late, we have seen films helmed by young directors masquerading as commercial potboilers. These directors believe that their job is only to entertain people and make them laugh — nothing more, nothing less. They have a few popular tropes to achieve their targets, such as the use of misogyny, women going gaga over a good-looking protagonist, mind-numbing confrontations, and plenty of innuendo. Yet again, in the name of a masala entertainer, an excessive dose of these is what Anil cooks up. To be honest, I have seen kids put up skits in their communities that were more engaging than this 'comedy'. How many times can you repeat the same joke before it stops being funny? Meeku Ardhamavutondha?
The film rests squarely on Mahesh Babu's shoulders. And he does pack a punch and makes up for its many shortcomings to a certain extent. Vijayashanti channels pathos and disillusion through Bharati. Prakash Raj gives us a disturbingly familiar portrayal of a cliche politician, who does, thinks, and speaks only evil.
The female lead of the film, Rashmika Mandanna, seems to exist only to woo, hug, dance, and plead with Mahesh Babu to marry her so that she doesn’t have to marry the man her father chose for her. Rao Ramesh, Sangeetha, Jayaprakash Reddy, and Hari Teja make their presence felt in supporting roles. We also get a whole roster of other actors, including Bandla Ganesh, Posani Krishna Murali, Vennela Kishore, Subbaraju and Brahmaji, who contribute very little to the story.
The narrative is interrupted every few minutes to accommodate the obligatory song, but only Mind Block gets a rousing reception from the viewers.
Judged purely as a commercial potboiler, Sarileru Neekevvaru, with its mediocre script, ends up as an uninspired, predictable concoction. Save for a few moments, this is one bumpy ride.