Hanu Raghavpudi's first movie as a director was Andala Rakshasi
. The movie was a damp squib at the box office but it did have its moments. The look and feel, the graffiti and scrap art, and the overall mood of the film showed a director with potential.
His second film, Krishna Gadi Veera Prema Gatha (KGVPG), then, raised enough curiosity. And with Nani delivering a blockbuster with Bhale Bhale Magadivoy
, KGVPG turned really hot. The flip side to that must have been Hanu really feeling the pressure to make sure this film would be a box office blockbuster. And his sensibilities as a raconteur must've clashed with the expectations and commercial compulsions.
This clash shows all through the first half. The film moves from being an intense love story in one scene to a comedy in the next to trying to address a serious social ill in the following. He also feels compelled to bring in three or four parallel stories, all of which play out on different canvasses. As a result, a good bit of the first half of KGVPG proceeds like a hotchpotch, and you are getting pulled in all directions, not knowing what to expect next. And then the story takes a turn, you sit up, and Hanu finds his feet.
KGVPG is about Krishna (Nani), a total coward, who lives in a village in Rayalaseema. He is in love with Mahalakshmi (Mehreen Kaur) ever since he can remember but is afraid of her brother Ramaraju, who's the muscle for a local factionist. This factionist's brother, Shrikant (Sampath), is an ACP in Hyderabad. Shrikant's kids come to the village for a vacation, when the house is attacked. After a couple of twists, the kids land up with Krishna and it now becomes his responsibility to take them to Hyderabad safely. This is also tied up with his love story - and how he takes things to a happy ending forms the rest of the plot.
KGVPG is a complicated script - it has three or four parallel tracks, and the characters in each track have no idea how they are affecting the others. This narrative approach is maintained for a long time, and while it leads to some amount of confusion, Hanu manages to keep the tracks going pretty well. And when it all comes together, the audience has an Aha moment, and that is where the film really scores.
The second half revolves around Nani and three kids, and these kids luckily are not the over-smart and annoying filmy kinds. They are the right mix of cute and practical, and the awwwwws ring out in the theatre quite loudly. The comedy also works eight times out of ten. The only things that are out of sync are the violence and the slight drag towards the end.
Nani continues his good work. His comic timing is impeccable, and he's good during the emotional scenes as well. Mehreen Kaur is a Kajal Agarwal look-alike, and does quite well. She's quite expressive, and lip syncs quite well, too. The supporting actors all put in good performances. Prithvi steals the show once again with his comedy - he's really in the golden phase of his career right now.
The producers should've spent some more money on this movie. A couple of scenes which show a moving car are so terrible, you suddenly wonder if they were pasted from some '70s film. The songs are decent, and the choreography for a couple of them at least is quite original. The cinematography and the locales are all nice and vibrant.
KGVPG is fun and fresh for quite a bit of the ride. Nani will quite definitely sleep easy tonight. We'd advise you to head over to the theatres as well - this gatha is surely worth a watch.