It's that time of the year again when you pay your respects to the champion of
charm, the Zeus of acting and the demigod of dance - cherubic Chiru. The actor
who adds a whole new dimension to the words 'act' and 'dance' hits the silver
screen with a vengeance in the form of his latest release Daddy. The silver whistles
were polished to a high sheen as the whole theater went berserk with his every
move, with every dialogue that he thrashed out. So what are you looking at? Genuflect,
show some respect, down on 'em knees.
If you aren't a fan, chances are you'll be initiated into the Chiru Club around
the corner by the time you go home after watching this film. Superb performances
by the cast, some fun choreography and brilliant direction make Daddy my nominee
for all the award functions.
The film tells the tale of Raja (who else?), a nice guy born with a golden spoon bigger than the Vizag Steel Plant. Part time choreographer and full time philanthropist, Raja believes in lending a helping hand at most places where his money is needed. During the course of the next 15 minutes of film, he falls in love with and marries the svelte Shanti (Simran). The sorts who win 'Best Couple Competitions', they lead a happy life, and in due course the stork deposits a cute kid Akshaya at their doorstep.
It's a life straight out of a fairy tale, but happiness is short-lived as the family loses its fortune in the hands of an evil betrayal by a guy who was once Raja's friend. Now impecunious, they manage with what little they have.
Luck, not quite being a lady, strikes another deadly blow, and little Akshaya dies. The family is split as Shanti holds Raja to blame. What ensues forms the rest of this beautifully told tale as it follows the trials and tribulations of Chiru as he struggles to bear the onus of his guilt.
The film stuns you with its visuals and high production values. A lot of time
and effort has surely gone into making the whole look of the film, which is quite
elegant all through, and, at most times, classy. The songs are easy on the ears,
and the first number 'Lucky Lucky' has choreography to put Dil
To Pagal Hai
to shame. Culture classes come in the form of most of the songs
being shot in Europe.
The last Chiru film I saw was way back in 1990, and I am amazed at how he hasn't
aged a bit! New find Ashima Bhalla with her idly-sambar / Pooja Batra - Shilpa
Shetty combo looks will surely find a place in Telugu cinema due to her leggy
lineage. The kid Akshaya is cute, and manages to do a decent job with her acting.
Rajendra Prasad and Kota Srinivas Rao are the surprise winners of the lucky draw as both put up subdued yet good performances. The subtle nuances in the direction make the film easy to relate to, and in the death scene, pathos is evoked through subtlety rather than by shrouding one in black and then placing them in a desert filled with skulls.
Chiranjeevi is absolutely fab. He dances like popcorn on hot fire, and neither
of the two heroines can hold a candle to his dancing shoes. His nifty moves make
Michael Flately look like the Dunce of the Dance, as he gyrates, hops and wriggles
like there's no tomorrow. Simran scores a C+ on her dancing talent, but gets straight
As for her acting and looks.
There isn't a dull moment in the film as you watch the show amidst catcalls and hoots of admiration. A film that feels no need for energy supplements, it chugs confidently on the strengths of a strong script and direction. Through the chaos you can almost hear the makers of the film cackle all the way to the bank.
And before I forget, this is one movie you can take your octogenarian Gramps to,
and not fear for relapses of old and unwanted diseases. A winner all the way,
Chiru seems to be proclaiming 'Veni, Vedi, Vici' at the end of the movie, and
somehow, for once, I am at a loss for words.
From the archives: The fullhyd review of Mrugaraju.