There is a vast difference between the sensibilities of movie-goers in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The sooner director Radha Mohan realises this, the better it is for him and for us here. A star kin can debut with a completely deglamorised movie in Tamil, but in Telugu, a star launch has to be an extravagant affair with loads of masala.
This is exactly where Allu Sirish's debut vehicle, Gauravam, falters big time. The two mistakes the director makes - using a novice actor to try and tackle a serious topic, and using a serious topic to try and launch a star son - come back to haunt him and us all through the movie.
Gauravam, then, tracks the story of Arjun (interesting to see how Sirish takes his brother's name for his screen name), a rich kid lacking nothing. He heads to a village, SM Palli, to meet his friend Shankar.
He finds out that Shankar had eloped with an upper-caste girl from in his village a few months ago, post which no one has heard from him or the girl. The rest of the film is about the horrific truths he uncovers, and how he discovers himself in the process. He is helped in the process by Yamini (Yami Gautam), a young lawyer fighting for the rights of the downtrodden in the village.
Director Radha Mohan takes a contemporary topic, one with serious social relevance, but fails to weave an engaging yarn. The super-slow narration and the pointless subplots bore the viewers no end. The plot has so many clues about the ending strewn all over that the hero seems like an idiot for not figuring out things earlier. A couple of songs that pop up at entirely inappropriate places also spoil matters.
Sirish, the latest entrant from the "mega" family, is still extremely raw. And not just raw around the edges like they say - this one is raw through and through. He is stiff and uncomfortable, and has one expression throughout. Long way away from stardom.
Yami Gautam has a limited role, and is severely hampered by a badly written character that never goes beyond being the hero's assistant. L B Sriram and Prakash Raj do well in their parts, and carry a lot of the movie on their shoulders.
The film is entirely set in a village, with a limited portion shot in Allu Arjun's swanky pad. The technical departments all do a good job. S S Thaman scores two songs with Tamil overtones, that hardly appeal.
Gauravam is a film that never takes off, and offers neither entertainment nor a message. Choose the other release of the weekend
for some good fun.