Brindavanam's opening credits roll out to the eponymous song from NTR's Missamma. The sequence leaves you wondering if it is ever possible to take these stars out of their clans, and the clans out of the stars. The film, however, doesn't. Brindavanam is the kind of movie that elevates itself above the easy reach of gasping fan-frenzy, and moves beyond shallow lineage-clinging.
While NTR Jr's name-dropping gets increasingly unnecessary (the actor has long since proved himself capable of effusing enough energy to last an entire flick without his grandfather's beaming image), the references merely serve to titillate NTR loyals that one bit more.
The film's theme is pretty formulaic, juggling as it does between blood-thirsty factionism and a desire to make "bad" people turn "good". NTR Jr. plays Krish, a college-going stud who goes around uniting couples in the face of ruthless goondaism. Thanks to his altruistic nature, his girlfriend Indu (Samantha) asks him to pose as her friend Bhoomi's (Kajal Aggarwal) boyfriend in the eyes of Bhoomi's family, because of certain "compelling" circumstances.
Krish travels to Rayalaseema to present himself to her family. To the surprise and shock of almost no one in the audience, Krish's well-intentioned efforts enter complicated territory. Bhoomi's family is spineless and in total control of the domineering father (Prakash Raj). Plus, Krish must also deal with some hardened sibling rivalry between Bhoomi's father and his estranged brother (Srihari).
Brindavanam is a fun film overall. The comedy, though not intellectually superior to the best you may have seen, is well-executed. Romance doesn't play much of a role in the plot, since the theme is the nitty-gritties of how Krish maneuvers his way into a hostile family. It's the regular hero-playing-God kind of movie, with Krish making sweeping changes in people, uniting entire warring villages, and teaching hateful clans how to love.
Melodrama is at a high all through, and so is the foolish Tollywoodian hope that callous people - who are long past their youth, by the way, and have been hateful all their lives - can suddenly be turned around using high-pitched speeches of righteousness. The dialogues are well-written, though, and do invite that occasional whistle from the audiences.
Plenty of avoidable violence mars what could have been a more pleasant story, however. The lengthy fight sequences are a desperate show of testosterone beyond a point, and eat up a lot of the film's time.
NTR Jr. is all shiny stardom and electricity, and lends weight to the comedy. He's helped along by well-conceptualized situational humour more than actual comedians, though Venu Madhav and Brahmanandam are a hoot. The veterans - Kota, Prakash Raj, Srihari - have pretty strongly-etched characters and some fine moments, too.
As for the heroines, Kajal Aggarwal gets more airtime than Samantha, who is relegated to an inconsequential role. Both of them glam it up in their own respective ways.
This is an extravagant movie, with obscenely rich people living in colossal mansions, Krish driving expensive cars, the couples dancing in exotic Swiss locales, and at least 2 dozen SUVs on call any time the men want a fight.
Thaman's music is loud and hardly melodious; but all that crowds want are NTR Jr's dances and the hint of a woman's bellybutton anyway, so no one's going to complain much on that front.
In sum, no path-breaker this, but an engaging watch it is.