If we knew a lawyer, we would take him to director Suresh Krishna today. We would then initiate proceedings to purchase the script of Baasha from him. And once we do that, it would roughly take us one year to make it to the cover of Forbes as the richest person in India. How? By suing every Telugu producer who rehashes the script and makes similar movies.
After watching Dictator, we really wondered if the directors and producers don't get bored of making the same story. And if Balakrishna, who's starred in at least 20 such stories since Samarasimha Reddy
, is not bored to death of the template. And if the audiences who still cheer his dialogues lustily don't get bored of watching the same thing again and again and again.
Dictator's story follows the Basha pattern without deviating even one teensy weensy bit. Chandu (Balakrishna) is an employee in a supermarket leading a peaceful life with a loving family in a colony filled with comedians doing weird things passing off as comedy. While saving a girl Indu (Sonal Chauhan) who lives in his colony, Chandu makes some powerful enemies.
Come interval, you are told that Chandu is not who he is and is in fact Chandrasekhar Dharma (the Chairman of the Dharma Group of Industries). Post-interval, there is a flashback that reveals who he is and why he is living a life of anonymity. And his love story with a humble poor girl, Katyayini (Anjali). At the end of the flashback, the villains make a comeback, and Chandu kills them and lives happily ever after with his family.
Into this mix, throw six songs - hero introduction song, duet with young girl imagined by comedians, item song, two duets with main heroine and one song exhorting the virtues and qualities of the hero that plays out in the background while the hero does heroic things. Add around six ultra-violent fights where the hero kills at least 100 people without so much as a hair falling out of place. And you have your Balakrishna movie ready to be released to a gullible audience who will forget the festival at home and flock to theatres like sheep to mass slaughter.
Dictator is so old-fashioned, it is tough to imagine how a young director like Sriwass made it. The sensibilities in the film are straight out of a Dasari Narayana Rao movie from the '70s while the comedy is straight out of an ultra-low budget EVV movie from the '90s. Everyone in the film (with the exception of Sonal Chauhan and Anjali who obviously had their own makeup crew) wears too much makeup and a hideous wig, and overacts. The movie has way too many villains including Rati Agnihotri who does not even make an effort to lip sync.
Balakrishna acts like he always does, but it is time for him to do something different or hang up his boots. 30-years Prudhvi who's been on a winning streak recently fails to salvage the comedy department and only succeeds in irritating you.
The only song worth mentioning is the Sonal Chauhan one - worth mentioning for the amount of skin Chauhan willingly shows even in a Balakrishna movie. The music is quite contemporary and out of place in a story like this. The film is shot lavishly and the producers clearly spared no expense - unfortunately for them, they are not likely to get much of it back.
Stay away from Dictator and wait for Balayya's 100th film. Hopefully, that will not be yet another rehash of Baasha.