A good question to analyze Chirutha is, if it cast an unknown newcomer with the same acting talent and screen presence as Ram Charan, would it have worked.
The answer is no.
A better question is, does Chirutha work.
The answer is no.
It's not to Ram Charan's discredit, however (did you forget, this movie is about him). He gives the movie more or less what it needs. The one who doesn't is Puri Jagannath.
Indeed, screenplay-god Jagannath fumbles in his core competence - you actually get bored in the second half. Things do not seem to flow logically, the comedy is just short of non-existent (with Venu Madhav, Ali, Brahmanandam, M S Narayana and Dharmavarapu in the cast, that's actually a feat), there's no soul in the romance, the dialogues - a Jagannath Chef Special - impress more as aberrations here and there, and there is no uniform, forget powerful, theme propelling the unraveling.
Did we miss anything?
On the flip side, they never once refer to Charan's dad or family. That's incredible display of dignity by normal Tollywood standards.
Charan (Ram Charan) spends his entire childhood in jail since he owns up to a crime he did not commit, for money that he needs to get his mother operated upon, after a criminal, Mattu Bhai (Ashish Vidyarthi), murders his father and grievously injures her. When he's released, he moves to Bangkok as a tourist guide there.
He falls in love with Sanjana (Neha), the ultra-snooty daughter of the ultra-rich Karthikeya (Prakash Raj), and accompanies her and her posse of friends on their tour of Bangkok, as a guide. The romance occupies 75% of the film, and destroys it.
The character of Sanjana is etched out too harshly, and stays that way too long, for the audience to warm up to her and take ownership. There's no intelligent courtship between two smart people that engrosses you - this is a 1980s formula that's botched up to make it even worse.
Indeed, Sanjana turns over a new leaf and falls in love with Charan in one extremely unconvincing short scene (actually, there's no scene at all). In fact, a whole chunk where the couple get marooned on an island seems like a disjoint, and takes the romance way over the scheduled time.
Plus, all the inconsistencies. Why does Charan make like he is about to rape her? Why does he confess love to her, when he says earlier to a friend that her arrogance has killed all the love he had for her? How does a 20-year-old girl as spoilt and arrogant as Sanjana change with just a 2-minute speech from Charan? Why (and when, and how) does she fall in love with him? And why does Sanjana's reasoning and loving father, never portrayed as a villian, order Charan killed when she professes love for him?
Yes, the screenplay has issues. Luckily for Puri Jagan, Neha Sharma is okay with being skimpily clad all through.
Then the movie completely changes tack, with the revenge drama suddenly kicking in. To cover it up, Charan mutters something about how he's been at it all through.
Ram Charan turns in a dignified, if not high-octane or energetic, performance - he has a good voice and frame, and has perfected some dance moves. Neha does well in the scope that a poorly written character can afford. And Prakash Raj gets to mouth some good lines. Ali's character however is meaningless, and painful to tolerate. In fact, the entire comedy track has no life in it, with you smiling more because of who is saying something rather than what he is saying.
There are no great tracks on the musical score that you will still be hearing this time next year, though they don't put you off. And Bangkok offers no visual extravaganzas. Kulu Manali
The BO fate might be the same - Desamuduru, despite not too many people thinking it was a great product, worked well due to lack of competition. The month after Chirutha's release however sees Mahesh and Venkatesh, top A-listers, hitting the box office. And Shah Rukh Khan and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Also, all of Puri Jagan's movies so far have also been helped by either big or energetic/hyperactive stars. This one casts a sober debutant.
Chirutha might work for you if you go in to have a good time, and have not read any reviews.