Jai Chiranjeeva is an attempt to crank out one last misshapen piece that meets the specifications of a Chiranjeevi film - one that hoards up all the ingredients, even if in a jaded and weary way. There is ample stimulus to hoot and whistle, there are enough smooth dance moves, and there are copious computer-aided kicks and punches. And there are Trivikram's dialogues that tick the factors off the 'required' list. The movie makes it to the finish line, panting and hyperventilating across the last lap. And fans of the megastar are mostly satisfied. No cheating here - the goods are in order!
For the others – and it is mainly for the others since there is no way the Chiru fans are going to miss Jai Chiranjeeva – here is the tale. Satyanarayana Murthy aka Satti Pandu (Chiranjeevi) is a wealthy landlord of Amalapuram. His 6-year-old niece Lavanya (Rasna girl Shreya) is the apple of his eye, and angelically pretty and devilishly mischievous, both in one package.
On a fateful evening in Sanjeeviah Park, she is shot through the head by Pashupati (Arbaaz Khan), an arms dealer and perpetrator of other miscellaneous organized crimes. Satti Pandu is with the girl, and the sequence of events being such that the girl falls off a swing post the shooting, everyone assumes that it is the fall that killed her. The family is devastated.
Soon enough though, the truth emerges, and Satti Pandu is on his way to avenge the child's killing. Sailaja (Sameera Reddy), like his family deity and guardian angel, is present all the time beside him, not saying much and probably exercising some mysterious protecting influence on him. Once in a while she dances with him, giving Mani Sarma the chance to think up some thumping numbers like Jai Ganesha, the theme song of Jai Chiranjeeva. Chiru executes some neat moves, although seasoned fans may complain he has lost some of his slickness. The average of the species however will enjoy the bulky frame moving so precisely.
Satti Pandu then runs into Neelima (Bhoomika Chawla), the daughter of the doctor who was forced to hide the truth about the true cause of Lavanya's death. The doctor too is polished off by Pashupati, and Neelima joins Satti in tracking him down in his hiding place, the US.
They both have to pretend to be married for Satti's greencard, and hence, more songs. But Bhoomika manages to get her act just right. In sharp contrast with Sameera, she looks understated, reflective and even mysterious most of the time.
If there is something really new in this movie, it is the comedy. And newer still is the unintentional comedy. Venu Madhav as Chiru's sidekick, along with Brahmandandam, Dharmavarapu and the rest, graduate into the realm of unintended consequences. The scripted jokes are funny enough, the style of rendering is funnier, and together, the style and the script lead to some unplanned moments of hilarity.
Chiru now probably ought to move to unorthodox roles like Bachchan has, assuming Tollywood can come up with any. But for one who is forced to flog the dead horse this long, he does okay. The girls bring glamour with some well-designed spangle-wear. And oh yes, Arbaaz Khan manages to look unrecognizable as the mechanistically sadistic Pashupati. Looks like he has found a way to get by in the film industry after all.
If you are not a Chiru fan, you might want to go for some less timeworn fare. There are plenty of other fresh-as-backyard-lettuce movies trying to make themselves seen. Try those. In any case, Chiru doesn't need too much help from you, what say?