Poverty? Check. Actors you can't recognize and don't care about? Check. Unkempt men in lungis tied up with underpant-revealing precision? Check. One-liner humour that you can't even bring yourself to chuckle at? Check. "Dark recesses of the human mind" kind of babble? Check. Faux arty feeling all throughout? Check, check, check.
Welcome to this fortnight's dubbed import, released in sync with its Tamil original, Poraali. The type that is watched by people who like movies that have "something different". And bear with it they will, since this is just the booby-trap-laying kind of movie designed to look and feel offbeat.
Sangharshana opens, in all seriousness, with a voice philosophizing about animal instincts, and "the animal in all of us", and how this animal needs to be tamed. Then, the quote "Man is a social animal" flashes on screen. That this quote is irrelevant to the topic in question occurs to no one. This is the kind of arbitrariness that Sangharshana, like many other movies, suffers from - discrete red herrings here and there adding up to nothing.
Kumar (Sasi) and Vikram (Allari Naresh) are two friends who have run away to Hyderabad (read: Chennai, with none of the signboards changed) to live with their friend (Ganja Karuppu). They start earning a living at a petrol station, but since Kumar is an enterprising man - not to mention very large-hearted - he gets his friends to join him in a business that involves running errands for people.
All goes well, and Kumar and Sasi start having love lives, too, but a flashback bolts out of the blue like nobody's business. Both Kumar and Sasi have dark pasts that they are running away from.
What the film's focus is isn't clear exactly. The director seems to want to tell us that there are people in this world who will label certain others as mentally-deranged just so they can get what they want out of them. There is also a brief look at epilepsy and a well-meaning message that people with seizures need to be treated in a humane manner.
But otherwise, this is also a movie with two disconnected halves. The first is the kind that might get you curious if you've stumbled on it while switching channels. This one is an easy-going drama of the two friends settling down in the city and dealing with random characters.
The second is a flashback with a zillion characters, and is further split into two stories - Kumar's and Vikram's. While Vikram's involves a strange tryst with a mental asylum, Kumar's is a saga of evil relatives and their greed for money.
In any case, the lazy direction ensures that you don't find any of that interesting. The performances aren't anything to speak about, and in fact, Sasi, the much-hyped lead, is an overrated actor. Allari Naresh is confined to the sidelines, and is around only in the first half - a huge disappointment to Telugu audiences. And the songs and the visuals are about alright.
Skip this one in the theatres. You'll know why we warned you when you sneak a peek when it's eventually aired on TV.