There is a saying in Chinese about how to keep expectations low if you have a bad product to sell. There is another saying in Chinese about how to dramatically raise expectations if you have a bad product to sell. The Chinese like to play it safe. Either that, or we at fullhyd.com are making sayings up.
Anyway, it’s hard to rely on sayings when you have a bad product. You gotta do what your gut feel tells you. Vikram Krishna, the producer of Pogaru, decides to take the latter approach. Splurge money on hype, and break even before word-of-mouth gets sufficiently around, since the film kinda tanked in Tamil. There’s not much to break even on anyway, apart from the advertising costs (we at fullhyd.com estimate that it must cost between Rs. 500 and Rs. 600 to dub a film from Tamil to Telugu these days, given the quality and the numbers we see these days).
Pogaru, as you will know if you are sufficiently clued in, is a dubbed version of a Tamil film, called Thimuru. If you are not sufficiently clued in, don’t worry, there’s plenty of Tamil you get to see all through the film – signboards, notices on doors, hoardings etc. It’s too expensive to change those – as it is, they have to spend almost Rs. 600 on just the dubbing.
So Ganesh (Vishal) is a medical student in some village, and one day runs into Iswari (Shriya Reddy), a vicious loan shark with a battallion of goons who is terrorizing a family that hasn’t been able to pay up, and is about to strip naked Amala (Reema Sen), who dared slap her. Ganesh beats up all her zillion henchmen, and Ishwari decides to marry him, and challenges him that she’ll do it in a week.
Ganesh is not in the least bit interested, and when Ishwari, after failing to get him to marry her despite all the muscle power at her disposal, dies in an attempt to kill him, her brothers in exile return and cripple Ganesh’s father. Ganesh is then persuaded by well-wishers to move out of town and pursue his studies to escape from the impending backlash. This is all the flashback, narrated in the second half.
He goes to Vizag and tries to lead a low-key life there as a student, when he is unfortunately discovered again, and all hell breaks loose.
It’s hard to say why the film is called Pogaru – Vishal is just a normal movie hero with the average superhuman physical strength, he is not arrogant or anything. The movie is a sureshot disaster in AP for several reasons. Firstly, it is a Tamil-dubbed film with no recognizable faces or star power relevant to Telugu audiences. Then, the tale is full ghisa-pita. Thirdly, there are no power-packed performances – okay, Shriya Reddy impresses, but bad luck, it’s the wrong movie. And finally, the screenplay has plenty of wrong judgement.
The first half, for instance, has several tantalizing scenes where you’re ready for a seemingly docile college student to show his real form. Alas, it never happens, and you soon tire. The second half unfortunately makes up for it – it’s full of very violent fights, and poorly choreographed ones at that. It’s funny when they keep using Seema and general AP terms when the visuals are so clearly Tamilian. And the romance between Vishal and Reema is almost non-existent.
Vishal shows about 3 expressions in all, and there simply isn’t enough intensity required for the role. Reema Sen looks like she’s drunk or just woken up, whichever comes earlier. The surprise package is Shriya Reddy, who packs a punch into her role, even if it looks like she’s trying hard. She’s certainly noticeable.
Pogaru has nothing much going for it, and you shouldn’t be, either.