Rama Rama Krishna Krishna isn't a bad film. Still, it makes you conscious of all the things that actually make up that rare hit in Telugu cinema - things whose absence pitifully drags most movies to the film industry's well-populated chambers of mediocrity. And any avid Telugu movie watcher will agree that we're not cribbing about cliches here - novelty has never been the industry's forte.
Kickass dialogue, presentation, music, a compellingly crowd-pulling cast, plenty of comedy, and ultimately, a visionary at the helm with an eye on the market are what seem to make things click. Rama Rama Krishna Krishna is, strictly speaking, only halfway there in terms of everything.
The fact that nothing about this movie is going to surprise you hits you right in the first frame. Ashok Deva (Arjun) is a man fighting Mumbai's mafia, but whose wife's (Gracy Singh) death in the hands of the criminal world mellows him down. He moves to a village on the banks of the Godavari along with his sisters Priya (Priya Anand) and Sirisha.
The village headman (Nasseer) is a rather stiff-necked Gandhian who takes pride in how he brought his sons up. However, his younger son Ramakrishna (Ram) is the local hero there, the saviour of women's dignity, the set-righter of wrong, and the kicker of evil butt. His family doesn't get along too well with Ashok Deva's, and when the elder children in both homes fall in love with each other, there's a potential mess that Ramakrishna and Priya go all out to try and prevent.
The flick is not that bad if you're the kind who watches almost all Telugu releases simply because you unconditionally enjoy films. And for those looking for creative respite, the comic track with Brahmanandam as Ramakrishna's uncle LSR (Lechipoyina Subba Rao) is quite hilarious, peaking in the pre-interval action sequence. There are also some fun thrills sprinkled here and there. Basically, it's just the musty script that's likely to bore you out of your skull.
Performances range from the wannabe to the exaggerated. Ram, while practically owning the film, sometimes goes over-the-top. However, he's the essence of the movie, and gives you a good time while he's around. Arjun is in an unnervingly avuncular character, and puts in the kind of restrained show that makes you yearn for much more of his screen time. Brahmanandam is brilliant, and Nasseer does what he does in every film.
Priya Anand, despite her evident rawness, is still a much better actress than Bindu Madhavi. The latter stands out more for her rather plastic exercises in hotness than any real charm.
There are too few songs, and we don't yet know if that's a good thing. On one hand, the compositions aren't great, and not a single tune stays in your head even while it is being played on the screen; and on the other hand, this is a story that does need a few breathers in between.
The technical values aren't too glossy. The Godavari sequences had potential to be bright and well-shot, but well, aren't.
On the whole, this is a film that doesn't evoke much, except for indifference. There are movies better than this one around, and luckily for it, there are worse movies as well.