V Movie Review: A star vehicle that fails to make the cut
The film seems to believe that making the alleged super-cop repeatedly speak the word 'bastard' is going to rev up the audience
With movies like V, it's the big reveal in the second half that has to be breathtaking. Given writer-director Mohankrishna Indraganti's track record (read Gentleman, whose second half was quite engaging), it was but natural to expect that V, his most expensive and apparently first masala film, would deliver nothing less than a sucker punch. Far from it, the film makes do with a damp squib of a climax, a damsel in distress, and a dastardly group of predators who behave like dodos.
The film seems to believe that making the alleged super-cop (Sudheer Babu as DCP Adithya, a gallantry winner who enjoys prestige in society) repeatedly speak the word 'bastard' is going to rev up the audience. No, it doesn't. Probably realising that the script doesn't possess a strong dose of suspense (which Indraganti seems to confuse with Vennela Kishore's character putting on that 'question mark' expression throughout), the director infuses a laughably misleading romcom track involving Sudheer and Nivetha Thomas. It's misleading because it makes us think of Nivetha's crime novelist as a possible honey-trap.
Talking of the excruciating track wherein conversations labour to look cute and intelligent, Sudheer's one-and-a-half expressions meet a perfect match in Nivetha's one-and-a-half expressions (seriously, are these the same actors who were in Sammohanam and Brochevarevaraa?).
Cast: Nani, Sudheer Babu, Nivetha Thomas
Direction: Mohankrishna Indraganti
Producer: Dil Raju-Shirish-Harshith Reddy
To make matters all the more affected and misleading, Nivetha's parents (played by Rohini and Thalaivasal Vijay) behave like eccentric characters from a dark comedy for no rhyme or reason.
Nani, in the meantime, keeps making an occasional, vapid appearance, reeling off lifeless lines in very much the same voice modulation. Growing a certain type of a beard and twirling his moustache in a certain type of manner is what he brings to the table. His shockingly sketchy character makes dry pop-culture references to K Raghavendra Rao's sensuous songs, Game Of Thrones and even Boyapati Srinu's style of action sequences in serious scenes — all of which strip his character of any gravitas.
The disastrous dialogues trivialise Nani's character, making us wonder if he was an aspiring filmmaker or an actor in the past. As a calculated criminal who doesn't have faith in the system, Nani delivers a largely inconsistent act.
The female characters exist simply to be wooed by the men in a minute and a half flat. It's not difficult to imagine the fate of Aditi Rao Hydari's Saheba if you have watched the trailer of V. From Harish Utthaman to Adarsh Balakrishnan, they all look like caricatures in a film whose action scenes are riddled with lazy shootout stretches.
For a film that overindulges in Sudheer Babu, at least the majesty of his character should have been conveyed visually, instead of just being brought out through dialogues. For a film that calls itself an action-thriller, at least the investigation tracks should have gone beyond the serial killer throwing up literary hints that our cop seeks to decode in the most boring manner possible.
SS Thaman's background score attempts to be a saving grace (although it reminds us of Ratsasan), so does PG Vinda's cinematography. Amit Trivedi shows promise with the songs (barring the ridiculously mounted party song).
This film might still have stood a chance had Nani known how to mix menace with comic timing in a potent manner. Alas!