Mahatma: Leaves you Shaken and Stirred
Release date: 9th October 2009
123Telugu.com Rating: 3 / 5
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Director : Krishna Vamsi
Music Director : Vijay Anthony
Producer : Manohar
Starring : Srikanth, Bhavana, Paruchuri Venkateswara Rao, Uttej, Jayprakash Reddy and others ...
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Krishnavamsi’s latest film “Mahatma” starring Srikanth, Bhavana is one of its kind, in many ways. It’s bold, humourous and also is brave enough to point fingers at almost everyone. In 2006 when Rajkumar Hirani made “Lage Raho Munnabhai”, it gave a new lease of life into the philosophy of Ghandhism. Krishnavamsi takes a cue from his peer Rajkumar Hirani and weaves a deeply personal and brazen story around the greed for power, money which drives us today. The film is yet another attempt to define what exactly does “Gandhi” stand for and to what extent we have been neglecting his principles. “Mahatma” is also Srikanth’s 100th film and he couldn’t have asked for a better movie to reach the milestone. It’s the story of the current state of affairs and how the meaning of “Gandhi” has been changing over the past few decades.

What is it about : Srikanth stars as Das, a rowdy who frequently gets into trouble with police and other politicians. During one such dispute, he meets Krishnaveni (Bhavana), a lawyer who bails him out. On the other hand, a minister plans to build a Fabcity in the same locality. However, she’s stopped by another MLA, Dada (Jayprakash Reddy) who has a plan of his own. One day, Das witnesses a film shooting in his locality and decides that he should become a hero. This leads him to Dada, who supposedly has lot of connections in film industry. However, the duo fall out due to some issues and Das challenges Dada that he would defeat him in the forthcoming elections. The rest of the story is about how Das gets involved in politics and his tryst with “Gandhism”.

What is Good: “Mahatma” is a good example of how Cinema can be a canvas for expressing one’s heartfelt emotions. This time, Krishnavamsi chooses politics, media and cinema itself to narrate the story. One reason why “Mahatma” works is each and every character depicted on screen is either a popular figure or a common man who succeed in binding your attention. Srikanth delivers his career best performance and his intensity throughout the movie is noteworthy. He’s especially good as the rowdy in the initial part of the movie. Bhavana performs wonderfully well in her role as an innocent lawyer. Jayprakash Reddy’s role as Dada is terrific and he’s brilliant in all his scenes. Uttej, Parachuri Venkateshwara Rao and Ahuti Prasad did well in their roles.

What is bad: The movie is titled “Mahatma” and revolves around the teachings of Gandhi during the second half of the film. Although the movie never gets too preachy about these ideals, there’s nothing new in narrating them like what was seen in “Lage Raho Munnabhai”. Some of the songs in the movie have great lyrics but they weren’t captured well on screen.

Technical Departments: Dialogues by Paruchuri brothers are great. A lot of the dialogues in the movie are indirectly aimed at political parties and dynasty politics. Cinematography by Sarath is good in action sequences and he used a lot of brown tint in the film. Music by Vijay Anthony is alright, although the songs are much better to listen to. Production values are alright. Krishnavamsi excels in all the three aspects, story, screenplay and direction which he handles for this film. The story is his commentary on our society today and it’s a deeply personal point of view. Screenplay is very good in first half of the movie. Direction is great right from the beginning (the “fab city” episode). He could have done better in the sequence where the hero is influenced by Gandhi’s principles.

Bottomline: It’s clear that “Mahatma” takes a bold path as the story is revealed. Almost nothing is spared, right from Cinema, media and all the way to caste and politics. It takes lots of guts to narrate such a bold film which criticizes our current political establishment and Krishnavamsi does that in style. It might offend those who sympathize with these establishments, but the film at its heart is highly critical of the system itself. The seriousness of the theme and absence of “lighter” moments leaves you overwhelmed and exhausted in the end. But, no matter what, “Mahatma” is a brave film which will leave you both shaken and stirred. Go watch “Mahatma”, it is the kind of film which has a heavy dose of high voltage drama and a pinch of “Gandhism”.

Tail Piece: It’s always so much fun guessing who a character in real life could be, in such political satires. And “Mahatma” is filled with them.

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123Telugu.com Rating : 3 /5

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