Let's face it - the year hasn't been very kind to a state parched for a decent entertainer from the stars that it worships. Although this has done a world of good to off-beat films like the deserving Ala Modalaindi
, there has only been an occasional Mr. Perfect
, and a Kandireega
, that have revved up the film industry's fortunes.
So does this potentially explosive Sreenu-Vytla-Mahesh-Babu combination live up to the responsibility it is unwittingly carrying - that of bringing cheer back to a repeatedly disappointed audience? And does it live up to the hype? We're afraid not.
Dookudu, as it turns out, isn't a masterfully woven comic caper by a man who usually masterfully weaves comic capers. Sreenu Vytla's last movie, Namo Venkatesa
, wasn't brilliant either, and Dookudu is probably just a notch higher.
But frankly, and fortunately, none of that matters. It takes really, really bad writing to pull a film with the kind of star-power that Dookudu is stuffed with down, and Dookudu isn't all that bad. It may not have a memorable run at the box office, but it won't be a disaster either.
Dookudu is a formula movie, and is mildly entertaining as a one-time watch, but considering that it comes from an ace writing team, it has plenty of negatives.
So Ajay (Mahesh Babu) is this alpha male, a cop who is hunting an evil villain (Sonu Sood) who lives in Turkey and has underworld links in Mumbai. Ajay's father (Prakash Raj) was bumped off by his rivals (Kota Srinivasa Rao etc.) when Ajay was a kid, and so he has this flashback that returns to complicate his story.
Saying anything more about the story would be completely unfair to the film, but Vytla's trademark plot-within-plot device in Dookudu gets a little too much to handle. For example, Ajay masterminds this certain set-up, prior to which he cons different people in different ways just to get them all together.
Now we know there aren't enough writers out there who can even think up such concepts, but if the complexity of it all makes you too busy remembering characters to enjoy the show, there's some brilliance we can do without.
It isn't just the over-populated set of characters, either - most of whatever is happening out there is pretty absurd, and you can think of a bunch of obvious questions of logic the minute each sequence starts. There are no answers, obviously.
The comedy could have been worked on more, too. While the zillion references - both respectful and derogatory - to top actors (and one to a particular filmmaker) manage to rake in some laughs, there are a lot of other jokes that fall flat.
And there's only so much of "mind lo fix aithe blind ga vellipotha" that you can take. Save for the rare "nenu narakadam modalupedithe narakam lo kuda housefull board pedatharu", there are no great lines that will stay on. Most of the pompous dialogues are wannabe rather than brilliant, too frequent (which highlights their mediocrity), and look like their insertion was an end in itself.
For those who're wondering, there is little romance to mush about. Mahesh and Samantha look great together, but their chemistry doesn't continue once the heroine starts behaving like the dumb belle that every heroine does.
But if you're watching this for Mahesh Babu, you won't be too disappointed. He does everything he ought to do as a hero. Sadly, that is the point. Ajay is an easily replaceable character, and nothing more than a traditional Telugu hero. Dookudu could have as well been a Ravi Teja movie (in which case, by the way, it could have had lots more energy).
Samantha looks pretty and graceful, but there is one lightly obscene step, tucked away innocuously in one of the songs. And meanwhile, Sonia plays a character that our hero equates to Mumaith Khan, and insults. Indeed, if you can take two actresses who are more respected than lusted after by audiences, and make them do borderline vulgar things on screen, there's something wrong somewhere.
The comedians all do a good job, and Vennela Kishore and Shiva Reddy stand out. Brahmanandam and M S Narayana are repetitive and a bit tiresome. And Dharmavarapu and Srinivasa Reddy have been criminally wasted. Sonu Sood's villainy lacks punch - and what is with his grey-haired look so early in his career?
Thaman's music will rock the radio stations for some time, and the visuals are slick. The leading cast has been styled very well.
You could watch Dookudu since there's nothing better playing in town, and that means you should watch this soon, before something better does play in town.