Maaro was shelved for more than 2 years due to financial glitches, and the title of the move was changed from "Sathyam Shivam Sundaram" to "Maaro" in an attempt to ward of evil spirits flirting with the film. After watching the movie, you are convinced that binning the movie, instead of placating irate spirits, would have served all involved better.
Siddique, the director and author of the screenplay, seems to have fallen victim to the force of habit. Having churned out remakes for the better part of his career, and earning himself the unique distinction of having made one flick (a movie called Bodyguard) in 5 mainstream languages of the country, he has wound up incorporating archetypal storylines into Maaro.
The death of those near and dear to the protagonist Sathyanatayana Murthy (Nitin) has the latter morphing from a bespectacled IIT genius to a scheming younster seeking to avenge the injustice meted out to him.
A bank manager, who is later revealed to be the heroin's father, pays with his life for unwisely blurting out his incriminating discovery, in the presence of the culprit (here, Rammohan, livened by Abbas).
With the above-mentioned deaths forming the backdrop, you are introduced to the female protagonist, Priya (Meera Chopra), who has a terrible lip sync. She tries to alternate between anger and grief in her facial expressions, but is anchored to confusion.
A grandmother (Rama Prabha) who is still full of piss and vinegar, and 2 elder sisters estranged by their respective husbands, all depend on Priya, even though she is merely a B. Sc. student working as an anchor in a music channel.
Nitin's character is the sole aspect of the film that keeps you in the theatre. Though dubious, the sketch of Sathyanarayana Murthy is the only element of the film with any grain of suspense. The over-the-top innocent expression of Nitin rankles your nerves, and the first half ends with the alter-image of the hero making a not-so-grand entrance with a change of hairstyle.
The second half of the film is a vast improvement over the first, as Nitin ditches his innocent-little-boy expression, and plays a scheming young man avenging the loss of his family. The script is still riddled with flaws, but the proceedings do have you guessing wrong.
Venkataratnam (Kota Srinivas Rao) plays a comical villain worked into the story due to his alliance with the bank robbery that the movie is centered around. And he stays comical till the end credits of the film roll.
A sideline comprising Venu Madhav, Raghu Babu and Ali tackles the entertainment segment of the film, and they do a rib-tickling job. Their act will find itself settled down on the playlist of comdey shows on television channels.
The costume designers of this film need to wake up to some basics: no girl wears pencil heels at home, especially not when in a nightie at bedtime. And whoever picked out Nitin's clothes throughout the movie needs immediate medical help.
The editor's scissors have left conspicuous gashes that make you momentarily wonder if a pirated DVD is being projected on screen. And our in-house film researcher is still trying to figure out why the songs of the film have been plonked down wherever they have been.
If Nitin sought to propel himself back into the narrow stream of bankable actors with a blockbuster, well, he chose poorly. He would do well do pick a film with a plausible and coherent script for his next venture.
Summer's at an end, but that is no reason for you to watch this poor excuse of a film.