Lakshyam is the kind of movie that makes you come out with those broad, sweeping "Telugu films are all the same" statements. Movies like Lakshyam, however, play a constructive role – they set the bar lower for all that follows. So the next time you ask yourself vexing questions like how do films like Desamuduru
become hits, this is the answer – there’s nothing better. And people have to watch something
. So please stand up and hail Puri Jagannath, for knowing how to be king in the land of the blind.
Lakshyam is the staple Telugu film diet. A big villian, a hero who can beat up 20 armed well-built goons single-handedly (by the way, in the whole wide world, only
Telugu and Tamil movies still have this concept), a pretty heroine and a bunch of comedians. Only, in addition, it has an inept director and dialogue-writer – there is so much cliché everywhere, you can almost hear the hi-fives for how quickly they finished writing this.
Lakshyam is the story of 2 brothers Chandu (Gopichand) and Bose (Jagapati Babu). Bose is an upright police officer who takes on Section Shankar (Yashpal Sharma, who you see in the Prakash Jha movies like Apaharan playing the big Bihar goon or his main sidekick), a real estate goon who operates in collusion with the cops and the politicians. As Bose goes about systematically decimating Shankar, Chandu also runs into him when Shankar kidnaps his love Indu (Anushka), and humiliates him.
However, things are not all hunky-dory when you are taking a big goon to a point where he has nothing much to lose. When Shankar starts hitting back in full fury, there are big prices to pay for Bose and Chandu.
Which is also where the movie loses the plot. Unlike what most Telugu scriptwriters seem to think, people do not go to movies to be kept depressed for half the time by what’s happening on screen – they want to be entertained, they want to have fun. A movie scriptwriter is kinda like God – when he is plunging his main characters into turmoil, he knows that they will come out of it, and so it doesn't affect him much writing scripts like that. He just thinks that is story-writing with depth.
But just like most humans cannot see the big picture when they are in emotional upheavals, the audiences actually watching a movie are taking each frame as it comes – and so they are also in turmoil when the main characters are in turmoil. And that is not what they paid for – to get troubled for 50% of the time they are watching a movie. We want entertainment in each frame. If you want to make big bucks from our money, you should be smart enough to write scripts like that.
Lakshyam torments through most of its second half. And the comedy in the first half is more hard-working than innovative – poor on ideas, loud on delivery. Gopichand is pretty bad at the comic stuff – his expressions in several "comic" scenes make you snigger for all the wrong reasons. Telugu movie buffs are used to Venkatesh and Chiranjeevi doing that kind of thing, and he needs to work much harder.
Even the family bonding scenes of the first half are annoyingly clichéd and cloying with their sweetness. And there is plenty of illogical stuff in all the display of poor writing – for example, Gopichand and Anusha are so obviously flirting for a good half-hour, and at the end of that Anusha says that they are just good friends. Then, the way Gopichand escapes from police captivity is inexplicable. And the whole climax scene is so weird and out-of-sync.
Gopichand has a good way to go as an actor in the emotional and comic segments – his strength is just the angry scenes. Jagapati lends some self-esteem to the movie given the current high his career is at, but that’s a zero-sum game – when you star in the wrong movie, it takes something from your reputation to give something to its.
Anushka doesn’t have to demonstrate any acting range, and she’s fine. Yashpal Sharma, Kota and the comic crew are all seasoned actors. There isn’t much to speak of by way of music or production values.
Lakshyam is watchable mostly because there isn’t a single recent direct Telugu hit around. Be charitable, but remember to wear your helmet and seat belt to avoid injury.