Is it just us, or is it that most of our moviemakers simply lack proper thinkers studding their teams? We mean, this is a Venkatesh film by K Raghavendra Rao and Aswani Dutt, which means there's no shortage of experience or money. And in that, you have some bilge so unadulterated, it ruins the premise and takes it to the cleaners.
For example, Venkatesh and his friends stiff speakers from a mosque, a temple and a public rally, and have irate mobs chasing and cornering them. Then Venkatesh gives them a 100% corny lecture about how public speakers disturb children at study, making all the mobsters collectively drop their clubs. We'd like to see a 25-year-old try this in real life. A C Guards is a good place. A brilliant solution to a complex situation is one that anybody can pull off, and something that requires no luck or special skills (except being able to think on one's feet). This is chickening out.
There's plenty more flume. Venkatesh drives 600km on a 100cc bike from Hyderabad to somewhere near Vizag for no tearing reason, when the alternate option is the Godavari Express that averages 80kmph on a 100% traffic-free track and keeps your backside functional at the end of it. Then, he hits on the head, a British soldier wearing an army-designed helmet, and the latter starts bleeding.
More: ill-timed duets with a raunchily-dressed Shriya when people are geared to watch a passion-filled freedom struggle; completely inane and intolerable comedy in that period-film part with Brahmanandam, Kota and Babu Mohan (especially the inaugural scene involving them); random and inconsistent reactions to local intolerance by Gulshan Grover, the British officer in charge who can't decide between being funny and being cruel; and a lot more.
The film deals with an unemployed man who gets a job as a TV reporter after, yes, he's seen lecturing a mob, and then recalls a previous lifetime when he was Subhash Chandra Bose, a fierce freedom fighter who is betrayed and ultimately killed by Venkata Ratnam (Prakash Raj), who has now become a big leader and is all set to become PM. The reborn Bose now has to stop him, with the help of his colleagues in the channel.
An error like Bose being 23 years old in his current birth, when he died in 1946 and this is 2005, is perhaps unavoidable given the premise of the script. But when you see him whispering "Orey Bandoda!" in Prakash Raj's ear and then disappearing in a split second before the latter can look, you slap your forehead.
That whole mind-game thing in the end on Prakash Raj is so completely not up to snuff, as isn't Prakash Raj's detailed confession - like he wants to leave no loophole when they show it on TV. It's just pandering to an audience that somehow wants to see the hero win, and putting thought and good film-making aside.
The strength of the film is Venkatesh. There's simply nothing else. Shriya and Genelia are pretty, and the comedy mostly sucks, except in rare parts like in the interaction between Prakash Raj and his son when they're drinking towards the end - but when you are putting in so much comedy, some part has to statistically turn out good.
The music is plain average. The period part doesn't pack well at all because it rouses very little passion in you, thanks to poor scripting, the dousing of this part in songs whenever things are just heating up, the comic portrayal of Gulshan Grover, and the length (2 hours). Commercial elements are all okay, but the film should do justice to an unorthodox subject if it takes up one. And the film should be good.