All of us know an age-old formula of making an action film work. Make the villain a monstrously powerful and heinously repulsive guy that the audience wants brutally bludgeoned - when the hero eventually does this, the audience erupts and your movie is a superhit. Boyapati Sreenu knows this formula well - only, maybe at bit too well. And he uses it so much that it makes the audience want to unleash the fury on him instead of on the villain. Indeed, if Sarainodu had a shot of Allu Arjun beating up Boyapati Sreenu, this reviewer, for one, would've risen and pumped his fists in approval.
You'd indeed need some kind of warped or twisted mind to come up with the kind of violence Boyapati shows in his movies. Sarainodu shows a rape scene where the rich and depraved criminal smashes up the girl and ends up killing her, and then says, "I don't care if she's dead, come hold her." We switched off at that moment, and everything that happened after that only served to distance us further from this movie and its sick content.
In another instance, the villain goes to a village with a few hundred henchmen. His goons stab twenty-odd people twenty-odd times each and then throw them in a mire full of slush. One of them then sits on top of a jeep with a knife in hand and goes around slashing the throats of all those who lift their heads from the slush. If this does not disgust you, then Sarainodu can perhaps still find enough of an audience. Fittingly enough, the movie ends with a beheading.
The film does have a plot interspersing all the violence, and here's how it goes. Gana (Allu Arjun) is a veteran who returns from the army and struts around the city delivering his own brand of vigilante justice. He runs into Hansita Reddy (Catherine Tresa), an MLA, and actively starts stalking her in the hope that she will fall in love with him. By the interval, a pretty girl named Janu (Rakulpreet Singh) runs into the frame seeking protection and Gana immediately jumps into the fray. This and a few other incidents lead him into direct confrontation with Vairam Dhanush (Aadi Pinisetty), the son of the state's CM. How this tussle between Gana and Dhanush is resolved forms the rest of the plot.
The film follows the perfect template - intro fight, song, family comedy, fight, song, comedy, song, interval bang, interval, flashback, item song, fight, comedy, melody song, comedy, fight, fast-paced song, climax, beheading, end. The first half proceeds at a decent pace, and Annapurnamma, Vidyu Raman and Brahmanandam manage to evoke a few chuckles. The interval point is actually a decent masala moment that sets the pulse racing.
Once the second half begins, though, it all descends into chaos. The songs come exactly at moments you don't want them to, and the action goes totally overboard. Aadi Pinisetty looks stylish but does nothing except kill really old people. The first time he's in front of Gana, he gets beaten up and thrown into a ditch. The second time, he manages to hold someone close to Gana hostage and beat up Gana for a while before being killed. Hardly any hero elevation here.
It is a surprise that Allu Arjun agreed to do this movie - such mindless violence and mass dialogues hardly suit him. He does his best but cannot make the film likeable. Catherine Tresa plays an MLA like she would play a college girl - albeit one who would wear sarees. Rakul appears in the second half, cries a lot of the time, looks fawningly and adoringly at Arjun for the rest, and lends herself to a couple of songs. Aadi Pinisetty would have made a good villain if only he had a decent role.
Surprisingly, the Censor Board let Sarainodu get away with a U/A after a few cuts and reshoots - apparently most of the repulsive scenes of violence you find in the movie had already been cut in half by the board. We shudder to think then how they were originally.
Sarainodu is abhorrent in its depiction of violence. Allu Arjun, please go back and make a completely formula-oriented family entertainer. We will gladly watch that and its reruns on TV.