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Agnyaathavaasi Review

Josh /
Can watch again
Good for kids
Good for dates
Wait to rent it
A little after the half an hour mark comes the breezy 'Gaali Vaaluga' number. And what do you know? People started getting up and walking out of the hall. This fact is all the more incredible considering that it's the first-day-first-show of a Pawan Kalyan film.

Yup, people aren't liking it. But you know, we think we like Agnyaathavasi. We at often come to face brickbats over this paradoxical situation of the 'Blockbuster Bad-Film'. You pan them and you're a snob who disregards the will of the masses. You rate them high and you're a sell-out who's lost all integrity. And there's really no amount of explaining that'll change any opinions.

But here, with Agnyaathavasi, we have a big star film which is a bad film all right, and it's not going to be a blockbuster either. It's an incredibly glossy, superbly scored and aggressively marketed expensive bore. Phew... what a relief for us.

It is, naturally, a film where Pawan Kalyan is given the task of being Pawan Kalyan and letting everyone know that you shouldn't be messing with Pawan Kalyan. So were his last n films. Anyway, getting to the specifics, a business magnate (Boman Irani) is murdered along with his son (not Pawan Kalyan), and a hidden, secret, stashed away son (Pawan Kalyan) emerges from nowhere attempting to avenge his father's death in the least entertaining way possible.

Why is he hidden, secret and stashed away? Because there wouldn't be a film otherwise.

Also because Trivikram's latest substitute for The Dark Knight, Sherlock Holmes, La Vita e Bella etc is a French film called Largo Winch where the film starts with a business magnate being murdered and a hidden, secret, stashed away son emerging from nowhere to avenge his father's death.

As Telugu film reviewers, we're way past the moral considerations of plagiarism, and we shall make nothing of it aside from letting you know that Largo Winch, the source material that Trivikram apparently thought was worth taking from, is rated 50% on Rotten Tomatoes and 40% in Metacritic. It's a film that already got panned. To spend crores on making a Pawan Kalyan film off this material is like arriving to your exam early, armed with a Parker pen and six refills, and copying from the bloke who's just trying to clear his arrears from last year.

It isn't just this base material (no pun intended). Everything is off. We already told you it's a big bore of a film. It certainly is like watching paint dry. Except, it's like a hundred painters painted a thousand things with the same colour just so you could watch it dry with that much intensity. So much keeps happening in Agnyaathavasi and nothing that you want to watch. Villains keep getting introduced. Comedians keep getting bashed. Heavy dialogues about life and integrity are thrown about as if they'll make up for the lack of context.

And there are two heroines - one who is cast because she's incredibly good-looking and the other because she's a well-connected producer's daughter. Before you can say such things as objectification and nepotism, we will remind you that the heroines fawn over the hero because they find him incredibly good-looking and we anyway know that he's the hero because he's a popular hero's brother.

It's like we can already hear the buzz of angry fans rushing towards us for 'defaming' their hero.

It is here we'd like to ask these fans one simple question. After the glorious run from Suswagatham to Khushi, Pawan Kalyan starred in 16 films of which precisely four can be considered blockbusters. And he makes these strange choices such as Sardar Gabbar Singh, Katamarayudu and now Agnyaathavasi. Forget the rest of us - isn't the hero accountable to even his own fans?
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Agnyaathavaasi (telugu) reviews
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  • Cast
    Pawan Kalyan, Keerthy Suresh, Anu Emanuel, Rao Ramesh, Murali Sharma, Aadi, Sampath, Khushboo, Boman Irani, Raghu Babu, Vennela Kishore
  • Music
    Anirudh Ravichander
  • Director
    Trivikram Srinivas
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
TJ Reddy on 11th Jan 2018, 1:50pm | Permalink
Hot damn! Kannadadalli reply. The happy emojis in my head are flaring all over.

BTW... great series of responses dude. You're really touching on a lot of the issues the film industry (be it Telugu, Tamil, Kannada or Hindi) faces when they speak of big stars.

As a coda to your point, I would love to see some of these stars introspecting more often instead of doling out blame for poor performances at the BO. They know as well as we do that "mass" movies are a crapshoot. No one really knows which one works and which one doesn't because the content in them isn't very different.

The stars themselves became a huge deal for a multitude of reasons but those tenets have been so easily abandoned. Like their films, they are all homogenous now. I literally cannot tell the difference between a Jr NTR or Mahesh Babu or Pawan Kalyan or Ram Charan or Ravi Teja or Suriya or Vikram or Ajith movie sometimes.

They are visually the same, the music is the same and nothing noteworthy in terms of filmmaking happens on screen.

One of these days I'm going to weave in examples of good directing or screenwriting into my reviews and show the contrast between that and what we are fed with on a weekly basis.

If I saw a Jr NTR or a Mahesh Babu in a Mental Madilo or a Malli Raava, I'd be so pleasantly surprised.

One of the biggest missed opportunities of both Mahesh and Trivikram's careers was Khalega. A lesson on how to ruin a fantastic and emotionally powerful premise. Trivikram never uses the exceptionally heavy themes of faith, higher powers and the true meaning of a messiah.

There is a glimmer of it in that final monologue Mahesh gives to Prakash Raj but poof, it's gone and it's too late.

So many wonderful ideas lost to appease this unseen mass of "fans" and superstar egos. The writers and directors are not idiots but like the stars themselves, their hands are tied. None of them can say they are anything less than "brilliant" and no one has any accountability at the end.

I really wish it comes full circle and fans watch an Agnyatavasi and then circle back and watch Tholi Prema or Thammudu or Khushi or whatever made Pawan Kalyan who he is and subsequently ask themselves why they fell in love with him organically then and have to literally fight people on the streets in his defence now.

The answers are all there.
Can watch again - NA
Good for kids - NA
Good for dates - NA
Wait to rent it - NA
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