There used to be an actor named Ashish Vidyarthi. He'd won himself a National Award for Best Supporting Actor for the year 1995 and then two successive Filmfare Awards for Best Villain in 1996 and 1997. And then the Telugu film industry discovered him. The discovery marked the end of the actor and brought out the hammer (the term we would use for an actor who hams) in him. Now he's reduced to enacting meaningless roles in movies like Where Is Vidya Balan?
Vidyarthi essays the role of CI Neelakantham in this one. He's a police officer who goes to a temple and comes out with a gun marked with kumkum and turmeric before going for an encounter. He plays the character with such a marked lack of enthusiasm, you can do little but wonder what drives him to accept such roles. Surely, it can't be money - a man who's worked in more than 200 films cannot really be that broke. Well, whatever the motivation, Vidyarthi adds nothing to this movie, and the movie does nothing for his career.
Where is Vidya Balan? is about a phone with a Vidya Balan wallpaper and with the Ooh La La song as its ringtone. The phone belongs to Dr Harsha (Ravi Varma) and has a video clip that could implicate a powerful minister Puli Naidu (JP) and a leading doctor (Rao Ramesh). The minister dispatches goons lead by Ganta (Sampoornesh Babu) to retrieve the phone while the doctor appoints a professional killer for the same job. Kiran (Prince), Shruthi (Jyothi Sethi) and Vasu (Madhunandan) unwittingly get tangled in this situation. Cops lead by Neelakantham are also after the phone. How all these threads converge forms the remaining movie.
WIVB has such a terrible first half, you nearly bang your head against the nearest wall. Random characters keep walking in to the film and random scenes keep popping up through the first half, leaving you desperate to get out of the theatre. The second half begins on a slightly better note, and you expect a screwball comedy to play out with the phone in the centre. Alas, it turns out little better, and the introduction of Saptagiri for a 5-minute comedy sequence only serves to enhance the pain.
Performance-wise, WiVB has a decent set of TV artistes desperate to make their mark in films who put in earnest performances. The leads Prince and Jyothi Sethi, on the other hand, seem content with their stock, and hardly put in any effort. The music is forgettable, and none of the songs makes the slightest impact.
At the end of the film, you'll have the same question as the producers - where is Vidya Balan? Why doesn't she come out and sue the makers of such travesties that attempt to cash in on her popularity?
Needless to say, avoid this one at all costs.