Sankham, for the most part, is set in gory Seema turf. For the Tollywood-newbie, that's a land ploughed by improbably prolific daggers and swords, and irrigated by a copious supply of the blood of innocent denizens. It's not really a scene you want to be seen caring about, leave alone applaud at an encore of.
Chandu (Gopichand) lives with his indulgent uncle (Chandramohan) in Australia, where he bumps into the belligerent Mahalakshmi (Trisha), who also lives with an uncle (Dharmavarapu Subrahmanyam). Chandu romances Maha with horrifying references to her anatomy. Really, our movies can get a little demanding of that thing called 'perspective' - if you squinted a little through the halo around our hero's head, you'll note that Gopichand's actually playing an even worse slimeball than he was a little long ago, in a film
that incidentally starred the same heroine, a film where he was villain
Back home in Kadapa, Mahalakshmi's aunt (Telangana Sakuntala) is leading the 'get-Mahalakshmi-married' agitation, mainly because, like all silver screen 'atthas', she too has a son. She lands up in Australia, and takes Maha home to Kadapa, to her father Pasupati (Kota Srinivasa Rao).
Pasupathi is a factionist who spends most of his time provoking the leader, Sivayya (Satya Raj), of his neighbouring village. And like an empty-headed imbecile who likes to make a hobby of not heeding the "Don't Tease Specimen" sign, he keeps getting knocked about by the ideologically worthier Sivayya. Sivayya is generally regarded as God by his entire village, and in fact, is part of the unsurprising flashback that Chandu has.
Sankham has way too much violence, and it's just not funny. More than any graphic brutality, or any actual limbs being chopped off, it's the blatant vengeance in the air, the ready availability of weapons to wield and abdomens to pierce, that's enervating.
Couple the tiresome bloodshed with a bucketful of sleazy dialogues and innuendo disguised as romance (and sometimes, comedy), and you have a film that's closing its doors to the whole of womankind, at the very least. The bad taste doesn't end with Gopichand's risque lines in the first half - there's Trisha's naughtiness in the second to contend with.
Gopichand is a decent actor, and someone who can combine the suave and the 'mass' along with a very guy-next-door feel. For all this to show through, he needs a frame that fits, and not a loosely hanging moth-eaten story, though he does seem getting dangerously comfortable in the formula. He's given some street-smart dialogues to lace the gore, though, and they do bring in a lot of laughs.
Trisha has an absurdly playful character, with bad make-up to boot, and she hams in several places. It's probably not her fault that it's so weird to watch her on screen - it's her role that's so badly written.
Everyone else is a good performer, but Satya Raj brings in a lot of dignity to the proceedings. The movie stars most Telugu industry comedians, and they have exactly 2 cents each to contribute, but they're funny as usual.
The music is cacophony, and there's no way you need a second opinion of it. The visuals are nothing to rave about, definitely, and the only few innovatively shot scenes make an appearance towards the end.
Whatever little Sankham has going for it, is surely not worth that pack of Saridon.