A friend of mine who works in the film industry once asked me, "You write film reviews. You sit in a theatre for three hours and take about three more hours to collect your thoughts and write an essay. You forget about the film and the people behind it after because you get to watch another film next weekend. If one movie takes six hours out of your life, it takes two years out of a filmmaker's life. Who thinks about his 17,520 hours?"
To which I replied, "If I value six hours of my life to such a high degree, why shouldn't the filmmaker value his time to the same extent? If I expect quality from the film I watch, why shouldn't the filmmaker hold his work to the same standard? If filmmakers know more than film critics or audiences, shouldn't they be making better movies on the regular and schooling us week in week out? And most of all, if they were to fail, shouldn't their failures be noble failures instead of utterly unwatchable and cynical dumpster fires?"
Speaking of dumpster fires;
At a certain point in this "movie", Ram Konidela played by Konidela Ram Charan Teja (don't even get us started with this ham-handed piece of self-branding) decapitates two of the villain's henchmen. Their disembodied heads fly into the air and are quickly grabbed on to by two vultures. In a fit of rage, the villain (Raja Bhai Munna played by Vivek Oberoi) chases after the vultures leaving our "hero" to mercilessly murder a few dozen more of the former's men.
The film expects us to take it seriously.
We ask, "Why should we?"
Because we respect our job and your intelligence, here's our understanding of this movie's plot. Four young orphans find an orphan baby and choose to raise it. The four young orphans grow up to be functioning members of society by studying well and working at the electoral commission. The fifth jobless orphan is our "hero" who has no goal in life except to beat up random people. A mafia lord in Bihar is hard at work obstructing the electoral process, and our hero and his brothers take it upon themselves to stop this madman.
Madman, Raja Bhai Munna, displays his ruthlessness by having a snake bite him which results in the snake's death. Yes, this happens too. And we ask, why should we take this seriously?
Raja Bhai ruthlessly massacres the brave troops of the army, and the movie expects us to believe that the only person capable of stopping him is our hero. The film's internal logic dictates that this one man is better than the third biggest armed force in the world. Why should we buy into this line of logic?
The movie throws in some token lines about feminism and women's rights, and follows it up with an intro shot of the lead actress that has the camera leering down her shirt. We ask you, why does this film deserve any sympathy?
The filmmakers fail to crop their effects properly, show their lead character take a journey from Hyderabad to the India-Nepal border in under 5 minutes, and use stock footage instead of B-roll in their transition shots. This is a movie that is too lazy to shoot a bunch of B-roll. If they don't care, why should we?
Do we have to like these characters because they are played by name actors, or do we have to like them because the writing, story-telling and acting are good? Why should we empathize with a character that casually kills 300 people, does not study or work, and has no redeeming quality other than "loving his family"? We ask the writers, director and makers of this film - why?
There was an oft-quoted saying at an old workplace of mine. It went, "You are only as good as your last shift." It was meant to instill focus and drive consistency. There were no easy outs nor were there any chances of resting on laurels. And we do think we speak for the film-going audience, at large, when we say this should be the mantra of Tollywood as well.
We say this because Vinaya Vidheya Rama is the product of a group of highly successful people resting on their laurels and trying to hit a much-coveted release date. Director Boyapati Srinu, composer Devi Sri Prasad, editor Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao and star Ram Charan Tej (who delivered a performance for the ages in Rangasthalam
under a year ago) are all seemingly blissfully ignorant of the cinematic equivalent of a train wreck they've unleashed onto screens the world over. And just like a train wreck, there are horrifying visuals you would be better off never looking at, and ear-shattering noises that every ENT specialist has been warning of since times immemorial.
There are a limited number of synonyms to the words bad and cynical the English language has on offer. The sheer number of bad and cynical scenes, shots and sequences this "thing" has on offer far outnumber the aforementioned limited number. This movie, like its lead character, is beyond redemption.