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Mahanagaram Review

Deepa Garimella /
Can watch again
Good for kids
Good for dates
Wait to rent it
Mahanagaramlo doesn't know it, but it does something no other film does. It doesn't show the good guys killing the bad guys. It shows the bad guys finishing off their own kind, with the good guys facilitating the process. In fact, the main villain burns himself to death.

Of course, there was hardly anyone to watch the proceedings, leave alone infer that bit of unintentional wisdom (which flashes itself to the seeker only after 2 aspirin, that too under high pressure to compose some readable copy about the film).

Shiva (Yashwanth) is an auto driver, and, as we are helpfully led to believe - from how he saves a girl from suicide, from his views on the issue of State separation, from how he masterminds the capture of a dreaded and impossible-for-police-to-touch don, and mostly from how the person in all the songs who's trying to tear off his clothes looks like him - he is the hero.

One of his friends is Rayudu (Chitram Seenu), a waiter at a cafe whose owner is played by Mallikarjuna Rao. Another is Chandu, an aspiring actor who keeps dressing up in disguises to fool people (one of them actually got fooled and cast him in this film). Mallikarjuna Rao, revered by all these lads as a father-figure, keeps getting harrassed by the 'land mafia' guys, represented by Durga, who want to buy Hyderabad Cafe And Bakers. These people keep coming to the cafe and clearing the tables and counters there. Of the people, we mean. The police are too scared to touch the goons. But Shiva and all are infuriated by this.

Somehow, Rayudu lands in trouble with Durga, and is beaten up and taken to the bigger boss, Neelakantha, who is impressed with his courage. Neelakantha, a menacing villain with the height and beard of Big B, and also the baritone, eyes, charm and personality of Big B's fingernail, declares that he wants to recruit him, and tells Rayudu that cooperating with the gang is the only way his cafe owner will not be killed.

The loyal Rayudu starts work from day zero, but the cafe owner is killed anyway. Shiva vows to avenge his death, conducts strategy meets on under-construction terraces, and advises the police and his friend on how to play chor-police with Durga, Neelakantha, and Neelakantha's lawyer. The rest of the story leads to the end.

There are also some sub-plots. A sub-plot about Chandu's struggle to get into films and how his mother sells off jewellery so he can pay the producer to cast him; some romance between Shiva and the heroine, who is the policeman's sister; a sub-plot romance between Chandu and Shiva's sister; and a Bommarillu spoof by Venu Madhav, M S, and some woman, with Venu Madhav barely getting one funny line in. With the directorial genius of a broken toothbrush - even the heroine seems to struggle to make all those 'sexy' circles in the air with her waist - this film is totally yawn material.

The senior actors are okay, but the lead cast is not. The heroine looks good, however. Koti's songs have his touch in places - the Chandamama song and the first song on some friendship-cum-youth-cum-ambition theme are decent.

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