Some movie scripts are bound 100-page volumes, and some can be narrated in 1 minute. Paandu has a script that can be sent by SMS – with enough space left for Idea Cellular to add a promotion for one of its 28,16,251 contests currently running. But we all know that a script isn't everything - there's the screenplay, the visuals, the music, the choreography… so many other things you can spend very little time on! Did we mention the name of the film in that? Spelt P-a-a-n-d-u.
Jagapati Babu plays the role of Paandu - c'mon, why'd we lie? - a Chintal Basti loaf who falls in love with a TV anchor Anjali (Sneha). To court her, he does things like calling her up on her live show and complimenting her on her dress, giving his views on the sets, and asking her the time. When all this doesn't work, he decides that the way to a woman's heart is through her house, and lands up there on his way home from jail. And when that doesn't click either, he just waits for a twist in the script that will help him.
That happens in the form of the home minister Bhagawan (Sayaji Shinde), who sees Anjali at a dance performance and immediately starts lusting for her. Most people automatically assume that powerful home ministers who lust after helpless women are inherently bad persons who'll misuse their power to get their object of desire. It so happens that in this film that's true, and Anjali slaps him. Troubles then begin for her. She is implicated in a drug scandal, she is put in a cruel jail with sadistic inmates, and she has to listen to Sayaji Shinde's horrible Telugu dubbing.
But this film is about Paandu remember? He lands up right at Bhagawan's home and beats up all his goons in just his vest, making you think there must be something to all those vest ads. He then walks up to Bhagawan in the same vest and challenges him that he'll get Anjali out of his claws. Bhagawan tells him that he likes dashing men like Paandu, which causes you major tension - the only thing worse than a powerful home minister lusting after a woman is the same minister lusting after a man. Plus, how can you hate a guy who's lusting after you? Won't Paandu start feeling some emotions himself?
Fortunately Bhagawan quickly forgets the sight of Paandu in just a vest, and Paandu too stops going around in one after that. You should, too – not every home minister can keep his feelings under control. Anyway, Paandu uses his coterie of jobless neighbours – Krishna Bhagawan, M S Narayana, Madhu Sharma etc. – to get Anjali out of jail, and then he starts getting Bhagawan into all kinds of trouble. And of course, Anjali falls in love with him.
Like we said, Paandu is the oldest, most clichéd tale of a superhero rescuing a damsel in distress. Jagapati Babu's mismatch between looks and dialogue delivery continues, as you can clearly see in a scene where he tries some rousing utterances as a naxalite leader. Sneha is good, but the navels, cleavages and legs are taken care of by Madhu Sharma, who plays Paandu's friend Sundari, the jilted lover.
The film's highlights are Krishna Bhagavan, M S Narayana and the other comic crew. Venu Madhav has a meaningless role though he puts his usual enthusiasm into it. The music will be an embarrassing addition to your CD collection, and will keep you in touch with your random self.
Paandu won't kill you, but don't quote us on that.