Urban legend has it that sometime in the 1980s, the exclusive-to-a-fault Bombay Club refused membership to Dhirubhai Ambani since he did not have the lineage needed, but gave membership to his sons since they
had the lineage needed. Indeed, for some people, several battles are won right when they are born, and for Naga Chaitanya, his destiny came stapled with his birth certificate - all he has to do is follow the assembly instructions for his career. And with Josh, he gets off to a predictable start.
As someone with impeccable lineage on both sides of the family tree, Naga Chaitanya has the best of Tollywood talent framing him in his debut venture. With "Dil" Raju producing, the movie is visually opulent, the production values are clamouring for attention, most dialogues rock, the plot is almost (gasp!) intelligent, there are several of both awww and kewww moments, and the comedy is minimum guarantee. Sandeep Choutha creating the music means that there is at least a respectable base case scenario. And the entire PR machinery of the Akkineni and Ramanaidu clans pitching its mite means that the marketing arsenal is bursting at the seams.
So, yes, Josh is an enviable debut for the star kid. With a work-in-process actor (yes) at the helm, it still manages to keep your mind from drifting to various other things your mind usually drifts to. Perhaps more imporantly, at least for the critics, it manages to do this while not shamelessly pandering to some of the abhorrences of college students. In contrast to Dil
, which earned producer Raju his now famous salutation, and which saw him remorselessly use the irreverence of college students for elders as its primary gravitas, Josh has a benevelont message.
Satya (Naga Chaitanya) quits UG college in Vizag to land in Hyderabad, where he takes up a caretaker job at a nursery. There's aggression and a flashback constantly looming as he dodders around doing nothing and making pithy observations marinating in their own brevity, and when he finally files a complaint in a police station as a witness to public violence by the students of MMR College against motorists and public property, he gets right in the line of fire.
It's fun watching Josh since the hero is someone constantly in complete control, someone who knows just what to do when. So you don't have to fret and curl up into your knees shivering in anxiety as the villians are plotting against him - he is the chief plotter himself. Adding a feminine touch to the film is Vidya (Karthika), whose decides Satya is too harmless to not hang around with, and so indoctrinates him into the nitty-gritty of her life.
Josh tries to give out a message - that students should focus on their careers rather than on bravado or hedonism - and that is to its credit, since it is pretty much at the core of its theme. Among the more difficult tasks in the world is to make someone think, especially a teenager, and one of the few things they'll listen to is a movie. Whether Josh places genuine emphasis on a social reality or is just an effort to have different script, it is bound to impact a few wayward minds.
Naga Chaitanya has a role relatively easy to emote (this is no Arya
), and he manages to muster up most expressions needed - e. g. intensity, intensity, intensity. The frailties are peering from behind the curtains everytime there is something needing more expressiveness, though such scenes are kept to the bare minimum. Does he have a future? Yes. He perhaps has a flair for brooding roles, he will pick up on other emotions and, mostly, he's Nagarjuna's son, remember?
Karthika is more expressive (and pretty), but her role appears to have gotten chopped off at the editing table - she's barely there in the second half, and the movie appears to vacillate over the idea of introducing a second heroine. J D Chakravarty doesn't make much impact as a villian - more due to a poorly-written character than due to his emoting - which is a blow to the film since it impacts the good-vs-evil angle significantly. Brahmanandam is completely wasted in a similarly under-scripted role. The music is a little above average, with a couple of romantic songs in the first half between Naga Chaitanya and Karthika standing out for the cute and creative vignettes.
Josh has a good first half that almost makes you nervous that they can't keep that up. Like we at fullhyd.com always say, it's best to face our fears, and to help you do that, the film does lose some of its intelligence in the second to get tantalizingly close to screwing up - but fortunately, still manages to hang on there and wait for help.
Catch this one - it's a good change after all those times you watched Magadheera