Director Sreekanth Addala loves tradition. So much that he will set a duet in a Greek market set and ensure that all the junior artistes in the song are dressed like Greek troubadours. And then he'll shift to an Arab market set and have the heroine and the junior artistes do a belly dance.
Unfortunately, he does not show the same respect for the traditions of filmmaking or storytelling. Right from Seetamma Vaakitlo Sirimalle Chettu
, he's always cocked a snook at traditional stories with a beginning, an interval bang and a climax pattern. SVSC was about two brothers, and even towards the end of the movie, there was no real closure - it was not like the two brothers had settled down or made it in life, and their struggles would continue. He followed that up with Mukunda where the hero and heroine do not meet until the interval and do not speak to each other throughout the movie but come together in the end.
In Brahmotsavam, the randomness of storytelling reaches its peak. The film is essentially about an extremely opulent family comprising a boy (Mahesh Babu), his father (Satyaraj), mother (Revathi) and a bunch of other relatives. Satyaraj is a strong believer in extended family ties and wants all his relatives around him as much as possible, and consequently several actors including Naresh, Jayasudha, Nadhiya, Tanikella Bharani, Krishna Bhagwan, Sayaji Shinde and others stand around in the frames without doing much through the movie.
There is obviously one jealous uncle (Rao Ramesh) who does not like the fact that Satyaraj is on a pedestal all the time, and says some harsh things that lead to a rift. This causes a twist that leads Mahesh to embark on a tour across the country searching for relatives connected to him from ties spanning the last seven generations. He returns after finding some of them. And Rao Ramesh realizes the error of his ways. And the movie ends. There are also two love stories weaved in - one with Kajal in the first half and one with Samantha in the second.
Brahmotsavam is a promising concept throttled by poor execution. The first half of the film plays out like a string of random sequences linked by an endless list of songs. The songs have some choreography which had the audience in splits, and come in way too frequently. The second half has one song playing in the background in bits and parts, and somewhere along the line, you start dreading the beats of that number. The moment you hear that background score, you realise you will watch Mahesh and Samantha in a new city or in their Audi convertible, and then there will be a usually unintelligible conversation.
Some of the scenes, like the Srinivasa Kalyanam, are very well-intentioned but make little sense in the larger scheme of things. We were also wondering at various points in the movie if Sooraj Barjatya ghost-directed this one in place of Sreekanth Addala - the cloying and saccharine sweetness of everyone in the movie is definitely Barjatya-esque.
Mahesh, Satyaraj and Rao Ramesh act very well. Samantha and Kajal are okay. And we mention only these names because none of the others has an opportunity to emote. Naresh seems to gets one line, Revati two, Jayasudha three, and most of the others not even one. Even someone as senior as Rohini Hattangadi gets two scenes and one dialogue.
The film is technically quite rich - Rathnavelu captures India with a loving lens, and PVP has spent tons of money that is clearly visible on the screen. The songs are decent, but that is it. Mickey J Meyer uses a Do Re Mi So score for some of the emotional moments which we felt was slightly out of place, but overall, does a decent job.
Brahmotsavam is hardly a celebration for even hardcore Mahesh fans. There is a dialogue that loads of characters in the movie keep repeating - "Okka manchi maata cheppandi". People walking out were finding it hard to find even "okka manchi maata" to say about the film.