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Aravindha Sametha Review

Aravindha Sametha
T J Reddy / fullhyd.com
EDITOR RATING
7.0
Performances
Script
Music/Soundtrack
Visuals
7.0
5.0
5.0
6.0
Suggestions
Can watch again
No
Good for kids
No
Good for dates
No
Wait to rent it
No
What is a rut? The definition of the word is "a habit or a pattern of behaviour that becomes dull and unproductive but is hard to change". Writer/director Trivikram Srinivas is deeply entrenched in one such pattern of behaviour. He is a man chock full of novel concepts for films. But he is also a filmmaker who smothers his more innovative ideas with copious amounts of elements that made his earlier works quite palatable to the audiences but are misfits in his new projects.

With Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava, Trivikram attempts to rejuvenate himself and a terminally ill genre by breaking both his own and said genre's destructive habits. The story begins with Veera Raghava Reddy (NTR) returning to his hometown and almost immediately losing his father, Narappa Reddy (Naga Babu), to an act of violence. In a fit of rage and a display of NTR's freshly-acquired abs, Raghava slaughters all the men responsible for his father's death. This includes Basi Reddy (Jagapathi Babu), the primary antagonist.

Basi Reddy is a man who had severed another's head over a 5-rupee wager, which in turn kickstarted over 30 years of bloodshed. He revels in chaos, and breeds men in his town to hack, maim and kill men from Raghava Reddy's town. Basi Reddy's destructive nature is so all-encompassing that trace amounts of it make their way into every child born on the land. Raghava Reddy is no exception.

After bearing witness to his Raghava Reddy's spree, his distraught grandmother asks him work towards breaking the cycle of murders. To do that, Reddy steps away from his hometown yet again and attempts to learn about the origins of factionism, the downsides to a herd mentality and the methods to improve the living conditions of the warring towns, from anthropologist Aravinda (Pooja Hegde). These are clever subversions of a well-trodden plot, but the question remains - can present-day Trivikram subvert himself a la A Aa or was that a one-off?

For all its flaws, A Aa put its director on a leash. Its story was based on an acclaimed novel (Meena), and the preset sandbox curbed some of the man's more self-destructive habits. Unfortunately, those newly acquired tenets of storytelling don't carry over to his latest project. Even though he employs cyclical narration to great effect, Trivikram rarely, if ever, respects his audience's intelligence enough to expect them to be able to gauge his story's lofty ambitions.

The movie is crammed to the brim with eloquent and solemn soliloquies from NTR and Jagapathi Babu, but these seem redundant when the storytelling employs both show and tell to get its message across. This message is made abundantly clear within the first 15 minutes of the film (even before the opening credits roll, I might add). But instead of exploring the aforementioned ideas to their fullest extent, the film rinses and repeats its overly simplified introduction ad nauseum until the final 15 minutes introduce some fresh perspectives. Is that too little too late in an over two-and-a-half-hour movie? The answer to that question might vary from viewer to viewer.

Carrying the scattershot storytelling squarely on his shoulders is NTR. His performance embodies the execution of the film itself. Using two very distinct voice modulations, NTR attempts to display the dichotomy and growth of Raghava Reddy. However, his body language, facial acting and histrionics rarely reflect his character's arc. He may spout emotional speeches, yet his journey into exorcising his demons isn't as emotionally satisfying as that of Cable Raju in Vedam.

While NTR gets an arc and a role to sink his teeth into, none of his co-stars (except Jagapathi Babu) has scraps to feed off. They are solely present to push the hero in the path the script wants him to walk on while they themselves have no arcs or character traits of their own. Jagapathi Babu is woefully underutilized until the final 30 minutes (yes, he survives the first attack). He ignites the nature vs nurture debate with his actions and with his motivations for being who he is. The character work here is near exemplary.

However, this and many other intense moments are robbed of their full impact simply because the score accompanying them isn't rousing enough. It is copy-paste action movie music. For a film that aspires to be more, these notes just won't do. And the same goes for the movie's visual presentation. There is a tepidness to how the film looks and feels. Barring a few excellently framed shots, the deliberate lighting, camerawork and colour palette seem to never gel with the film they are a part of.

This isn't a bad or bad-looking film by any means, but one that sells itself short by never fully subscribing to its own ideas. Like many of their secondary characters, the filmmakers are averse to change, in both the approach and the mechanics of storytelling, for a myriad of reasons. Marianne Williamson once said, "Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate but that we powerful beyond measure." Trivikram, NTR and the team of Aravinda Sameta... needed someone to remind them of this quote. There is a film for the ages buried under the commercially satisfying, four-quadrant exercise that this project ultimately ends up becoming. The makers seem to have stuck to their guns and stayed the tried and tested course, instead of joining their characters in exploring a brave new world.
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ARAVINDHA SAMETHA SNAPSHOT
Aravindha Sametha (telugu) reviews
USER RATING
4.5
2 USERS
RATE
Rating is quick and easy - try it!
  • Cast
    N T Rama Rao Jr, Pooja Hegde, Eesha Rebba, Sunil, Jagapati Babu, Naga Babu, Rao Ramesh, Naresh, Supriya Pathak, Naveen Chandra, Devayani, Sithara
  • Music
    Thaman S
  • Director
    Trivikram Srinivas
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
TOP COMMENT
TJ Reddy on 17th Oct 2018, 4:10pm | Permalink
@shyam and @pmow - I fall between both your points of view.

@anvesh - that is high praise and I'll be the first to say I'm not worthy. I still read BR's writing and watch his videos to learn more about cinema and how to truly absorb the art form. I may or may not agree with him but his articulation is sublime.

@TCMG - I second your opinion. I will always maintain that Khaleja is the greatest missed opportunity in film history. Through all my endless journeys into the world of cinema, I've never come across a plot so unique that was squandered so needlessly. Vijay Bhaskar was Trivikram's sandbox in his early years. I genuinely feel that Trivikram needs to hand over his ideas to a director with a clear vision (be it a philosophical one as well). A Krish (director of Gamyam and Vedam) could work wonders with Trivikram's more ambitious ideas. But, something tells me that may never happen. It is a shame. And as always, your kind words are appreciated.

Finally, @Sriram - When I first read Josh's reviews, I was enamored by his style and wit. No lie, I wanted to emulate that in my work as well. But I soon found out that I am not Josh. My jokes felt forced and my reviews wouldn't make for good prose. I've come to accept that I am the Jim Ross to his Jerry Lawler and I'm the Cotton McKnight to his Pepper Brooks. I'm just a play-by-play guy. He adds endless amounts of color.
4
0
ARAVINDHA SAMETHA USER REVIEWS
1 - 6 OF 6 COMMENTS
POSITIVE  |  NEGATIVE |  NEWEST  |  OLDEST  |  MOST HELPFUL  |  LEAST HELPFUL
USER RATING
4.5
2 USERS
Performances
Script
Music/Soundtrack
Visuals
5.0
1.0
3.0
6.0
Can watch again - No
Good for kids - No
Good for dates - No
Wait to rent it - Yes
TJ Reddy on 17th Oct 2018, 4:10pm | Permalink
@shyam and @pmow - I fall between both your points of view.

@anvesh - that is high praise and I'll be the first to say I'm not worthy. I still read BR's writing and watch his videos to learn more about cinema and how to truly absorb the art form. I may or may not agree with him but his articulation is sublime.

@TCMG - I second your opinion. I will always maintain that Khaleja is the greatest missed opportunity in film history. Through all my endless journeys into the world of cinema, I've never come across a plot so unique that was squandered so needlessly. Vijay Bhaskar was Trivikram's sandbox in his early years. I genuinely feel that Trivikram needs to hand over his ideas to a director with a clear vision (be it a philosophical one as well). A Krish (director of Gamyam and Vedam) could work wonders with Trivikram's more ambitious ideas. But, something tells me that may never happen. It is a shame. And as always, your kind words are appreciated.

Finally, @Sriram - When I first read Josh's reviews, I was enamored by his style and wit. No lie, I wanted to emulate that in my work as well. But I soon found out that I am not Josh. My jokes felt forced and my reviews wouldn't make for good prose. I've come to accept that I am the Jim Ross to his Jerry Lawler and I'm the Cotton McKnight to his Pepper Brooks. I'm just a play-by-play guy. He adds endless amounts of color.
The Common Movie Goer on 18th Oct 2018, 6:40am | Permalink
Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler forevahhh! Michael Cole isn't that bad either.
pmow on 17th Oct 2018, 7:01pm | Permalink
Well said, TJ
Sriram on 16th Oct 2018, 7:14pm | Permalink
I miss reviews from Josh where there is a hint of pun/sarcasm/humor irrespective of movie being good/bad, as for me this review is so bland and unexciting. Being a true blue Trivikram fan for just being the real "torch bearer" for making us all love the "Telugu" language nuances either in subtle/simple messages or the comic sequences, this movie seems to be a cautious and deliberate attempt to never swerve from the real idea and by and large successful in his attempt and able and authentically supported by NTR!
RATING
6
Anvesh on 16th Oct 2018, 11:52am | Permalink
Everyday I come to fullhyd to see if the review is up, growing angrier by day. I come here and read the review and all I have is appreciation.

For some reason, I really bought the movie (probably mesmerized by NTR) and I expected a good review. I am disappointed you did not like the movie that much, but its great to see its shortcoming dealt with more love than hate. TJ, you are reaching Baradwaj Rangan level. More power to you.

Also, TCMG - your comment is on point
The Common Movie Goer on 16th Oct 2018, 4:41am | Permalink
MILD SPOILERS FOLLOW - READ AT YOUR OWN RISK

OPINIONS SHARED ARE STRICTLY MY OWN, AND WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY CLASH WITH THOSE OF YOURS

Man, oh, man! This review is so on point. These were the exact same thoughts that were running through my mind while watching the movie. I agree with every aspect of this review except for the rating. Felt it deserved a 3.0 or maybe a 4.0, at best.

What resonated with me the most was the point about the score not complementing the narration. I call myself a Thaman fan, but the BGM provided all the wrong emotional cues, and there were jarring tonal shifts even in the middle of a scene. The songs were good to listen to but seemed out of place in the movie. Choreography was standard Raju Sundaram-in-foreign-locale and hyper-fast-Prem-Rakshit-leg-movement stuff.

What I particularly liked in this analysis was the part about A Aa providing a sandbox. Trivikram seems to be adopting a flawed approach of first deciding on a philosophy-based-narrative, then building a story around it, then realizing his original narrative is no longer relevant, and then stitching several disjointed thoughts together just so he can show off his penmanship. Problem is, it's looking a little too forced now. The soliloquies seemed more like ramblings to me. I felt several stretches were convoluted, but the part where he ends up as a page for Pooja Hegde took the cake.

I felt Trivikram's Khaleja was very deep and well narrated, but its failure pushed him to write scripts that were dumb-yet-smart. You know it's bad when you are trying to rip-off/adapt the bank robbery from the Dark Knight. In a way, he is undoing his legacy. True or untrue, I do not know, but there was a time when people attributed the success of Nuvve Kavali, NNN, Manmadhudu, and Swayamvaram to Trivikram, and that Vijay Bhaskar was just the medium for expression. Looking back, I think it's untrue. The subtle things in those films were what made them classics, and Vijay Bhaskar definitely deserves at least the same credit, if not more, than what is being attributed to Trivikram.

There was nothing new in this film that we haven't seen before. Seemed like a mish-mash of Aadi, Mirchi, and Dammu.

Digression: My advice to people who've made it to the bottom of this comment. Stay at home and watch Aadi. One of the few movies with zero slow stretches, and amazing chemistry between the leads. Stellar support from the supporting cast. Say what you want, VVV is an absolute genius. Man knows how to entertain and make cult classics. The only bad movies he's made are Yogi (ranked no. 1 on my list of worst movies ever) and Akhil (too ambitious).

P.S.: Anybody else think the abs were CG-ed on like they were for Salman? Definition seemed a little much compared to the rest of the body.

P.P.S.: Can I request Fullhyd.com to remove the "Wait to rent it" option. I am never sure if a "No" in this category means that you should rent it right away or if it means it's so bad you shouldn't even consider renting it in the first place.

Pros: NTR and a couple of scenes in the second half
Cons: Almost everything else
RATING
3
Saradhi on 15th Oct 2018, 4:14pm | Permalink
Not a great movie. Performances are excellent. Definitely cannot watch second time. Anthaa overaction. Chetha
shyam on 13th Oct 2018, 7:42pm | Permalink
The entire review only talked about the deficiencies of the move (what it could have been but finally what it became), just wondering what then made the reviewer give it a 7
Portuguese Man-of-War on 14th Oct 2018, 11:08am | Permalink
Perhaps for these?

"This isn't a bad or bad-looking film by any means..."

"...the commercially satisfying, four-quadrant exercise that this project ultimately ends up becoming"
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