Magadheera - An adrenaline-high extravaganza that's a little low on soul
Release date: 31 July 2009
123Telugu.com Rating: 3.5/5
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Director : SS Rajamouli
Music Director : MM Keeravani
Producer : Geeta Arts
Starring : Ram Charan Teja, Kajal Agarwal, Srihari, Sunil, Brahmanandam, Mumaith Khan, Kim Sharma, Saloni & Hema...
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Which red-blooded male amongst us, at some stage, wouldn’t like to be a warrior prince who dares death and wins repeatedly? And which girl worth her unfathomable heart wouldn’t love to romance or be romanced by such a warrior prince? Director Rajamouli takes this innate human desire in all of us and weaves a fabulous celluloid extravaganza of fiery love and revenge that sears for four hundred long years. The result is this masterpiece called Magadheera. Before we proceed any further let this much be said – Tollywood with this film is showing clear indications that it is coming to terms with Hollywood-level technical finesse.

What is it about : Magadheera is about this ravishing warrior hero called Kalabhairava (Ram Charan)who protects the Kingdom of Udaighad. The film begins with Kalabhairava leaping off to his death after watching his lady love, the princess of Udaighad Mithravindhu (Kajal) fall to her own death. And as the titles end, we watch Sher Khan (Sri Hari) swearing that Bhairava will be reborn to reclaim his lost love. The scene cuts 400 years later to a bike jumping contest in modern day Visakhapatnam. We see that Kalabhairava is reborn as Harsh (Ram Charan) and Mitravindhu is reborn as Indu (Kajal again). As expected Harsh falls in love with Indu and is thwarted in his attempts to marry her by Indu’s villainous baava (Dev Gil). Having set this backdrop, director Rajamouli unleashes adrenaline filled action sequences that, I can assure you dear viewers, that you never ever would have seen in any Tollywood film. Right from the middle of the first half you can sense the film trying to break free from the convention. But as soon as you settle down in your chair after the interval, Rajamouli opens the flood gates of his fertile imagination and lets the momentum rip. The pace is exhilarating. The energy is raw and the rage that Kalabhairava displays is the stuff cinematic legends are made of. As the film races to the happy, but predictable conclusion of the warrior winning his woman, you cannot but admire the rich route it takes in crossing the finish line.

What is Good: Rajamouli’s characterization of Kala Bhairava is awesome. It borders on the lines that Zack Snyder scripted the Spartan king Leonidas’ character in the Hollywood action extravaganza 300. Ram Charan slips into Kalabhairava with the enthusiasm and energy only bestowed by youth. The fight sequence on the narrow cliff where Ram Charan kills 100 marauding and bloodthirsty members of “shaitan-ki-fauz” is a jaw-dropping ballet in blood! To call it good is insulting and to call it great is inadequate. It lasts for a 9 minutes and yet you wonder why it gets over so fast. Watching Ram Charan execute that fight sequence, I was reminded of Gerard Butler playing King Leonidas in “300”. Just that one scene alone is more than worth the price of your ticket money. There are at least 2 more sequences like that (Kalabhairava getting the princess’ scarf, and the song with the princess after he snatches the scarf from Indu Mitra’s baava Randhir. Then there are the formulaic elements for the front benchers like the “Bangaaru Kodi Petta which are bound to be a sure fire hit. Kajal is easy on your eyes and adequate in her role. Sri Hari is electrifying in a short and sweet role as the Muslim invader Sher Khan. Dev Gill has just the right dose of menace as the villain.

What is bad: The film is low on soul. I think Rajamouli’s intense characterization of Kalabhairavi, was a trifle too heavy for an actor who is just 1-film old. Ram Charan sure has done a good job. But good was not sufficient, you need great emotional intensity here and this is something that perhaps comes with celluloid experience. One can’t blame Charan for not having that. So the physical swagger of Kalabhairava overwhelms and swallows the films tender moments, which to begin with are minimal. That is the only reason why this film will not create as many records as the other reincarnation super hit released early this year. Shyam’s Arundhati had valour and vulnerability in equal measure. Rajamouli’s Kalabhairava has swagger to spare, but when it comes to soul his cupboard is bare!

Me Thinks: Watch it in the majesty of the full-screen. Trust me, it is a visual feast and money and time well spent.

Tailpiece: The real Magadheera is Geetha Arts. If Allu Arvind can do so much, why can’t his good money find a great script writer. I am sure he will. Till then lets enjoy this.

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Legend:    5 - Flawless
                4 - Must Watch
                3 - One Time Watch
                2 - Wait for the DVD
                1 - Stay Away
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