There is 'actual self-concept' advertising that works because the viewer relates to what is seen on the screen. And then there is 'aspirational' advertising that works because the viewer is so turned on by the exalted image on screen, that he yearns to be like that.
Andhrudu turns out to be so muddle-headed, you don't know what in the name of God Surendra (Gopichand) is trying, to keep the audience inside the theater. There is neither the glitz and the shimmer of a classy movie, nor the grime and the sweat of a mass movie. Just Gopichand pushed by the script into a hapless tailspin of totally confused characterization.
Well, that's apart from the fact that Andhrudu actually has no script at all and really feels like switching on a 6000 Watt Shriram Honda genset and sitting with your ear stuck to its motor. There is plenty of relentless hoo-haa and hubba-hubba while your mind completely disengages itself, exhausted trying to keep up with it.
They say it's a mass movie and the story doesn't matter. But this one won't work unless the actors, the songs, the cinematography, the screenplay, the plot and the humor are completely inconsequential as well.
With Andhrudu, the director Paruchuri Murali grabs the idea of a cinematic Bihar like a kothi grabbing a kobbarikaya. The story is about the great crusade between the lawless land of Bihar and Andhraites who come across as atrociously xenophobic. And the warrior for us all in Andhra, the 'Andhrudu', is Sub-Inspector Surendra.
The posters you see of Gopichand standing with bazookas on his shoulders are stills from the movie. Of when he single-handedly mows down the Biharis, to earn the title of the stout-hearted Andhrudu.
So how did we get that far in the first place? Well, Surendra is an SI whose boss is an ACP whose daughter is a singer whose teacher is a musician whose son is Surendra. With this giant Gordian knot already tied, the movie tries to skip rope and trips right over.
The ACP's daughter, Archana (Gowri Pandit), falls in love with Surendra after he falls out with her father after being framed by a corrupt colleague. But Surendra, after getting fired, continues his good work to clear his name. Soon enough, the ACP realizes his mistake, forgives and gets his daughter engaged to him.
If you are thinking that's a nice script, you are only half right, because the story is only half over. There is another merry-go-around ride after the interval, and unless you get on it as well, you don't leave the theater.
Well, Bihar makes its grand entry because Archana refuses to marry Surendra. Why this happens is kind of as complicated as the first half. But to cut it short, Archana makes a sacrifice to keep her parents happy. And the sacrifice is about marrying a Bihari guy, so as to shift the sets to the more trigger-happy Bihar.
Bihar is depicted as the world's criminal hold; something like what Pascal Sauvage conceptualized in Johnny English. Men with rifles routinely parade the streets and kill each other over catcalls to their women. Archana's would-be father-in-law, played by Sayaji Shinde, is the biggest local hooligan, and displays his hooliganism rather artlessly by jumping around with his hands up in the air and ordering his men to shoot everyone dead.
When the Andhraites meet the Biharis, there are the funny scenes when the Andhraites talk in Telugu and the Biharis don't get it. So conspiracies get hatched and plots get sown in Telugu until the grand climax, where Andhraites are forced to take on the Bihari hoodlums (supposedly a redundancy).
That is when Surendra rises to the occasion with his guns, and rescues his babe and takes her back home to Hyderabad.
Gopichand, like a rain sprout in squelchy mud, manages to get noticed purely on his own merit. While the script dooms him into a hero who is neither dashing nor earthy and next-doorish, you can see he would have shined with just a little more thought. He manages to be charming with his act of a brooding young man who can metamorphose in seconds into the Incredible Hulk. He manages to infuse understated-ness into his romantic scenes too, and on the whole, gets away with it.
Gowri Pandit doesn't irritate, which is probably to her credit as well. This script really works hard to make the actors look like dimwits. Other actors walk in and out, making as much of an impression as strangers in a railway waiting room. There are Hindi songs and Hindi dialogues once you get to Bihar, and there is even one Aayi Hoon UP Bihar Lootne reminiscent number with a girl dancing in a scanty red ghagra choli.
Like an overfull balloon that goes phut with a bang, Andhrudu falls flat, but with great festivity. There is so much endless fuss but when you leave the movie, you still have no clue what it was all about after all.