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Agnyaathavaasi Review

Josh /
Can watch again
Good for kids
Good for dates
Wait for OTT
A little after the half an hour mark comes the breezy 'Gaali Vaaluga' number. And what do you know? People started getting up and walking out of the hall. This fact is all the more incredible considering that it's the first-day-first-show of a Pawan Kalyan film.

Yup, people aren't liking it. But you know, we think we like Agnyaathavasi. We at often come to face brickbats over this paradoxical situation of the 'Blockbuster Bad-Film'. You pan them and you're a snob who disregards the will of the masses. You rate them high and you're a sell-out who's lost all integrity. And there's really no amount of explaining that'll change any opinions.

But here, with Agnyaathavasi, we have a big star film which is a bad film all right, and it's not going to be a blockbuster either. It's an incredibly glossy, superbly scored and aggressively marketed expensive bore. Phew... what a relief for us.

It is, naturally, a film where Pawan Kalyan is given the task of being Pawan Kalyan and letting everyone know that you shouldn't be messing with Pawan Kalyan. So were his last n films. Anyway, getting to the specifics, a business magnate (Boman Irani) is murdered along with his son (not Pawan Kalyan), and a hidden, secret, stashed away son (Pawan Kalyan) emerges from nowhere attempting to avenge his father's death in the least entertaining way possible.

Why is he hidden, secret and stashed away? Because there wouldn't be a film otherwise.

Also because Trivikram's latest substitute for The Dark Knight, Sherlock Holmes, La Vita e Bella etc is a French film called Largo Winch where the film starts with a business magnate being murdered and a hidden, secret, stashed away son emerging from nowhere to avenge his father's death.

As Telugu film reviewers, we're way past the moral considerations of plagiarism, and we shall make nothing of it aside from letting you know that Largo Winch, the source material that Trivikram apparently thought was worth taking from, is rated 50% on Rotten Tomatoes and 40% in Metacritic. It's a film that already got panned. To spend crores on making a Pawan Kalyan film off this material is like arriving to your exam early, armed with a Parker pen and six refills, and copying from the bloke who's just trying to clear his arrears from last year.

It isn't just this base material (no pun intended). Everything is off. We already told you it's a big bore of a film. It certainly is like watching paint dry. Except, it's like a hundred painters painted a thousand things with the same colour just so you could watch it dry with that much intensity. So much keeps happening in Agnyaathavasi and nothing that you want to watch. Villains keep getting introduced. Comedians keep getting bashed. Heavy dialogues about life and integrity are thrown about as if they'll make up for the lack of context.

And there are two heroines - one who is cast because she's incredibly good-looking and the other because she's a well-connected producer's daughter. Before you can say such things as objectification and nepotism, we will remind you that the heroines fawn over the hero because they find him incredibly good-looking and we anyway know that he's the hero because he's a popular hero's brother.

It's like we can already hear the buzz of angry fans rushing towards us for 'defaming' their hero.

It is here we'd like to ask these fans one simple question. After the glorious run from Suswagatham to Khushi, Pawan Kalyan starred in 16 films of which precisely four can be considered blockbusters. And he makes these strange choices such as Sardar Gabbar Singh, Katamarayudu and now Agnyaathavasi. Forget the rest of us - isn't the hero accountable to even his own fans?
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Agnyaathavaasi (telugu) reviews
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  • Cast
    Pawan Kalyan, Keerthy Suresh, Anu Emanuel, Rao Ramesh, Murali Sharma, Aadi, Sampath, Khushboo, Boman Irani, Raghu Babu, Vennela Kishore
  • Music
    Anirudh Ravichander
  • Director
    Trivikram Srinivas
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
TrivikramFan on 17th Jan 2018, 12:12am | Permalink
If PK is no-body - no inherited stardom and the director name is undisclosed, this movie would have got 1.0 by your reviewer.
1 - 13 OF 13 COMMENTS
Can watch again - NA
Good for kids - NA
Good for dates - NA
Wait for OTT - NA
Sid on 17th Jan 2018, 3:31am | Permalink
There was a time when I used to look at movie reviews posted on websites to decide whether to watch a movie or not. Every review, irrespective of how good the movie was, used to give a 3/5 for the "stars" movies and the description used to be, a good solid entertainer and an excellent performance from "the star" through out the film.

I got fed up of these reviews, until one day I found this website giving HONEST reviews. I couldn't believe that somebody gave a star hero's movie 3/10 and bashed him for chosing that kind of a film. I fell in love with the writer.

Fast forward 4 years, the standards and the sincerity in your reviews is still up there, and you are my go to website to know how the film is.

Keep up the good work, and in one word, thanks. on 17th Jan 2018, 9:36am | Permalink
Thank you, Sid! That made our day :)
TrivikramFan on 17th Jan 2018, 12:12am | Permalink
If PK is no-body - no inherited stardom and the director name is undisclosed, this movie would have got 1.0 by your reviewer.
Anvesh on 12th Jan 2018, 8:11pm | Permalink
I love the little reviewers' roundtable here :)
Swaroop Thotada on 11th Jan 2018, 11:32am | Permalink
Though it's not a nice thing to say, I am glad this film tanked. At least Trivikram stops doling out junk and non-sense in the name of entertainment. His scripts better stop licking stars' boots and pandering to the constantly deluded maniacs who call themselves "fans". But lets not delude ourselves. This film flopped for the wrong reasons. How I wish the reason is that finally people are fed up with this hero-worship tripe.
Lokesh on 11th Jan 2018, 10:01am | Permalink
Very nice review. I like the anecdote when you say "To spend crores on making a Pawan Kalyan film off this material is like arriving to your exam early, armed with a Parker pen and six refills, and copying from the bloke who's just trying to clear his arrears from last year." :)
Josh on 11th Jan 2018, 12:54pm | Permalink
Thanks Lokesh :)
Dikkum on 11th Jan 2018, 8:48am | Permalink
This is what happens when you start believing you are demi-god and not a movie actor. Pavan and Trivikram can take retirement.
sage on 11th Jan 2018, 1:02am | Permalink
Dint watch the movie and don
Josh on 11th Jan 2018, 12:54pm | Permalink
I saw this coming when I watched S/O Satyamurthy (with incredible disbelief). If you will indulge me I'll just list out the issues I had with Trivikram there.

a) There's this 'concept' where Krishnasri and Rajendra Prasad, playing an unhappy couple, write post-it notes and stick on a wall to get the basic communication going because they simply don't talk to each other. This is a rather heavy concept that needed more work for audience to understand exactly what it means to the couple and their child.

I didn't see that however. I just saw a concept that's tossed about and is expected to convey something which no one really got. I don't mean intellectually, of course. I mean emotionally. Trivikram's just gone lazy with it. He thinks up something (or comes across it in other films/books) and just shoehorns it into his script without adequate cinematic communication rendered to it.

This was my point about the hundred painters painting a thousand different things just so you can watch it dry with that much more intensity. Agnyaathavasi is full of concepts and tropes which are simply shoehorned in without any emotional payoffs.

b) Trivikram's sense of destiny is about as absurd as it gets. Towards the end of S/O satyamurthy, Sampath dies in an accident because of the red flag that Allu Arjun posts on that road earlier. What Trivikram wants it to look like is Sampath met his end because of his bad karma. The way I look at it, Allu Arjun set up a safety hazard that could have killed anybody without any regard to their virtues or vices.

This form of divine retribution is quite annoying because it is neither the hero's competence nor the villain's cruelty but the screenwriter's laziness that kills the evil.

c) All that wealth! Exactly why do I have to care if Allu Arjun's family hasn't got two lakhs to pay the child's school fees? Why should I have sympathy for a wealthy guy who's less wealthy now? I've personally never been that wealthy and his 'poor' situation is him taking a share auto which I readily take on any given day. Exactly what am I supposed to feel sorry for?

And then he gets this 'event management' job where he's making lakhs again. Bro, I can't even pay my house rent by reviewing films on a full time basis. What am I supposed to relate to in your lands of wine and cheese?

The trouble with all that money is Trivikram appears to think his hero is worth more than other people. In Agnyaathavasi for instance, the hero could take a U-turn and get to office but no, he climbs on people's shoulders and thighs to cross a damn road and his aides manhandle a biker with such callousness that the biker is separated from his bike and falls somewhere on the road. Why? The argument that the biker was going in the wrong route doesn't fly when our dear hero begins to manhandle people for his pedestrian non-rights.

From a Nuvve Nuvve where every character and conflict rings true, Trivikram Srinivas has come a long way to Agnyaathavasi where no character registers, let alone feel organically woven in. I didn't care about the hero, his dad, his mum, his girlfriends, his antics, his villains, nothing. How did that even happen?

Also, can someone tell me what city the events of Agnyaathavasi are supposed to have taken place in?
Purna on 13th Jan 2018, 6:41pm | Permalink
Very true. Why all our heroes play millionaires in the movies? Cause it’s close to their real life and they need not do/put any effort to do the role. When was the last time a big hero in Telugu industry did a true middle class (not the kinda they show in the movies) or a lower middle class. For this reason I believe Vamsi Paidipalli chose Karthik for the role in Oopiri as he thought Telugu heroes may not take that much strain in doing that role
JayZ on 10th Jan 2018, 10:32pm | Permalink
Katamarayudu....sardar Singh and now Pawan Kalyan is on a roll....:-P
Raghu M on 10th Jan 2018, 10:19pm | Permalink
Taking some liberty in commenting on this movie even without watching it. I saw only the trailer and didn't like it. The rating and the review is not surprising.

The major problem with star heroes (not just PK) is they often choose movies only larger-than-life characters. They think, these characters wouldn't require any acting and their mere screen presence would pull it off. Wrong, utterly wrong. Look at the trailer, and I didn't see one frame where PK attempted to do any serious acting. For that matter, even in AD, he hardly 'performed'.

The media and the fans (rather the fans of the hero's 'vamsam') create a "star" image for the not-so-good-yet actors, and the actors believe they are demigods and stop improving on their acting skills.
Josh on 11th Jan 2018, 12:07pm | Permalink
I think you're making a mistake there. Practically no one needs a star to act. The non-fans usually don't care. And the fans just want him/her to shine bright. I think the better thing to ask of our film industries is to cultivate actors alongside the stars. For instance, the existence of Salman Khan shouldn't affect Irrfan Khan's work.

One thing I've noticed in my interactions with people in the two Telugu states is there is this unstated belief/expectation that only the big stars and their associates need to provide all sorts of film entertainment. It's like they have proprietary rights over films because it's their family business and we shall demand all kinds of cinema from them - right from the massy mindless material to the subtle sensitive subjects.

Needless to say, that isn't necessary. There's really no reason why NTR Jr has to play anything other than a chest-thumping, dialogue-roaring, goon-bashing macho man. He ideally shouldn't have to get out of his comfort zone and do roles he doesn't really understand. These other roles can be left to other actors who can afford to spend time on such things as context, expressions, and such.

There does exist the entity called the actor-star. The prime example being Kamal Hassan but their existence doesn't affect the success of, say, a Vijaykanth.

I think the only real obligation a star has is to deliver to his/her fans. This is where I'll agree with you on the notion of stars thinking their mere screen presence will suffice. As you've pointed out it doesn't suffice. But your antidote to this problem - acting - isn't the remedy.

What stars need to do is understand why their fans love them and what clicked in what films and build their own intuition towards what is likely to be successful. And then sit with directors and writers vetting as many scripts as they personally can while visualising each one to evaluate if it has the spark to excite a fan.

My favourite example is Rajnikanth after Baba. After the most disastrous flop he had seen in a while, the guy kept quite for almost two years and then announced a film which doesn't even bear his character's name as the title. And on top of that it's clear from the script that Jyothika was going to hog the climax.

That film ran 800 days in Chennai.

Please remember I'm not saying it's a good film or any such but for fans it's everything they wanted and didn't know to ask for. A star needs to understand that.
Raghu M on 12th Jan 2018, 10:30am | Permalink
I think my comments are mistaken.
"Practically no one needs a star to act." - Well, it's like saying, virat is now a star and he doesn't need to bat/play well.
A star may have a unique style to his acting and he may be comfortable with only certain genres, but within his boundaries, he must act. They can't take fans and nonfans for granted.
Portuguese Man-of-War on 11th Jan 2018, 9:32am | Permalink
Disagree with the AD bit - I thought the railway station speech was one of PK's better performances...
Jyothi on 10th Jan 2018, 10:15pm | Permalink
My take on it!

Agnyaatavaasi - Not just the Prince in Exile, but the Writer/Director/Actor also seemed to tag along with the said Prince. While going on exile, they took away the story, direction and entertainment of the film along with them; leaving us with story-less, direction-less and mostly importantly entertainment-less movie.

I think this is how the movie Agnyaatavaasi came into being:

SRK(producer) : Hello Trivikram Sir, I want to make a movie for tax reasons. I have a lot of black money, but for all legal purposes, it is nonexistent.

Trivikram(director) : Perfect SRK Sir, I too am working on a story, but for all practical purposes, it is nonexistent.

SRK : You are the answer to my prayers! Let
Portuguese Man-of-War on 11th Jan 2018, 9:34am | Permalink
Good post :)
Jyothi on 14th Jan 2018, 12:38am | Permalink
Thank You!
TJ Reddy on 10th Jan 2018, 9:31pm | Permalink
Ah, Josh back at his witty best. That line about copying from the student with arrears is GOLD!
Josh on 11th Jan 2018, 11:12am | Permalink
Thumba thanks maga :)
TJ Reddy on 11th Jan 2018, 1:50pm | Permalink
Hot damn! Kannadadalli reply. The happy emojis in my head are flaring all over.

BTW... great series of responses dude. You're really touching on a lot of the issues the film industry (be it Telugu, Tamil, Kannada or Hindi) faces when they speak of big stars.

As a coda to your point, I would love to see some of these stars introspecting more often instead of doling out blame for poor performances at the BO. They know as well as we do that "mass" movies are a crapshoot. No one really knows which one works and which one doesn't because the content in them isn't very different.

The stars themselves became a huge deal for a multitude of reasons but those tenets have been so easily abandoned. Like their films, they are all homogenous now. I literally cannot tell the difference between a Jr NTR or Mahesh Babu or Pawan Kalyan or Ram Charan or Ravi Teja or Suriya or Vikram or Ajith movie sometimes.

They are visually the same, the music is the same and nothing noteworthy in terms of filmmaking happens on screen.

One of these days I'm going to weave in examples of good directing or screenwriting into my reviews and show the contrast between that and what we are fed with on a weekly basis.

If I saw a Jr NTR or a Mahesh Babu in a Mental Madilo or a Malli Raava, I'd be so pleasantly surprised.

One of the biggest missed opportunities of both Mahesh and Trivikram's careers was Khalega. A lesson on how to ruin a fantastic and emotionally powerful premise. Trivikram never uses the exceptionally heavy themes of faith, higher powers and the true meaning of a messiah.

There is a glimmer of it in that final monologue Mahesh gives to Prakash Raj but poof, it's gone and it's too late.

So many wonderful ideas lost to appease this unseen mass of "fans" and superstar egos. The writers and directors are not idiots but like the stars themselves, their hands are tied. None of them can say they are anything less than "brilliant" and no one has any accountability at the end.

I really wish it comes full circle and fans watch an Agnyatavasi and then circle back and watch Tholi Prema or Thammudu or Khushi or whatever made Pawan Kalyan who he is and subsequently ask themselves why they fell in love with him organically then and have to literally fight people on the streets in his defence now.

The answers are all there.
Venkat on 10th Jan 2018, 9:28pm | Permalink
Worst movie. Producers already knew the result. Hyped the movie, got extra show after PK begged (praised) kcr. At the end of the day, its fans became verri pushpalu
JayZ on 10th Jan 2018, 8:35pm | Permalink
KATHI MAHESH has the last laugh:-P
Portuguese Man-of-War on 11th Jan 2018, 11:23am | Permalink
Lol - indeed. I think PK would've had a lot of public sympathy if he told his fans to pipe done
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