Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Gemeni, Victory Venkatesh's out-and-out maar-dhaad 'action' movie, may have an equal and favorable reaction from his fans, but is bound to face an opposite reaction from non-fans. While Venky's fans may call it a 'different' movie, the others may just brand it indifferent.
For starters, here action does not mean high-octane car chases or even slick escapes that we've never seen before, but just men randomly being hurled into the air and baddies landing up with broken bones and dysfunctional jaws. It pretends to be a gangster movie, but there is more of jing-bang and less of gang-gang wars. No smart tactics, no surprise moves and absolutely no strategies.
Then again, it's supposed to be about the reform of a baddie, but the transformation is so boring, we wish Venky had remained the gangster he started off as. There goes Gemini, losing several precious stars in its rating despite having Venky, one of the finest stars of Tollywood.
Gemeni (Venkatesh) is tapori gangster in the sleazy underbelly (???) of Vijayawada, and is the next VIP in this Andhra town after Goddess Kanakadurga. But it's his mannerisms like the 90-degree V with his right hand and the reverse of his left, the lick of the thumb before delivering a deadly blow and his pan-chewing style that are more amusing than his gangster activities. His life is essentially about settling scores with Ladda (Kalabhavan Mani), the incredibly eccentric Dada.
One fine day, a new, hotshot cop (Murali) marches in, says he is sick of the two gangs creating a ruckus, and puts them behind the bars. The twosome will be set free only if they promise to reform and stop the gang wars. While Ladda feigns to be a changed man, Gemeni is serious about turning a new leaf. Why? Because he's in love with Manisha (Bhairavi).
But Ladda won't leave Gemeni in peace because he wants several scores settled. So Gemini is stuck in trying to change for his sweetheart and battling his urge to get back at Ladda. How his love gets the better of his bad ways is the rest of the movie.
While Venky's movies have always been known for their wry humor and light comedy (Nuvvu Naaku Nachchaav
, for instance), this one has slapstick. Those interludes of Gemeni trying to impress Manisha's parents and some of his moves against his opponents are remotely amusing. How funny would Venky look chasing a silly mosquito and in the process slapping rears?
Even more ridiculous is the manner in which we are made to believe that Gemeni is a changed man, post-lockup session with Ladda. The only change we notice is that he stops wearing his black, unwashed baggy shirt and starts wearing clean, semi-starched checked formal shirts post-transformation.
Then of course is the total lack of the romance element in the movie. There is hardly any interaction between Gemeni and Manisha, yet we are made to believe they are ready to do anything for each other. Piff!
Venky and Mani are the only redeeming factors in the movie. The Victory star shows lots of style and attitude and carries off the gangster's role with his over-the-top mannerisms. But the wow factor of the movie certainly are Kalabhavan Mani's antics (he's also in the Tamil original). A professional mimic artiste, when Mani prowls like a feline or ambles like a camel, darts his tongue in and out like a slimy reptile or prances around like a livid monkey, he is simply mind-blowing. The only time that there is a reaction from the audiences is when Mani comes on screen. Mani, yeh dil maange more of you!
Bhairavi is only seen and barely heard. Two songs and four ghaghra cholis is all she gets. The music by RP is hardly inspiring. While the title song seems to be doing the rounds on the happening lists, it has been inspired from its Tamil original. So no marks there.
The verdict: Fans, this way please. For the others, the exit is to your right!