Release date: 12 March 2009
123Telugu.com Rating: 1.5/5
Director : Suresh Krishna
Music Director : Vandemataram Srinivas
Producer : K. Ramakrishna Prasad
Starring : Dasari Narayana Rao, Mohan Babu, Srihari...
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Maesthri is a political satire. And Dasari Narayana Rao is a past master at making political satires. One only has to look at his old movies like Bobbili Puli and Sardar Paparayudu which were made with an eye on N.T.Ramarao’s entry into politics. But back then Dasari Narayana Rao was not a politician. He was an artiste and a technician who used the craft of cinema to convey a message to the masses. Today Dasari Narayana Rao is a politician with interests to protect. And it shows. His Maesthri is biased. If it points one finger at Chiranjeevi, the rest of the fingers in the hand are pointing right back at him. Therein lies the fatal flaw of this film.

What is it about : It is the story of Palakollu (Dasari) a socially conscious army-major turned port loader with a mission to accomplish. He crosses swords with Subbaraju (Pradeep Rawat) and Adiraju (Sayaji) because they have murdered his disciple Major Devaraj (Mohanbabu). As Dasari goes about his revenge mission he is helped by Goapalakrishnaiah (Vijay Kumar) and a cop (Srihari) who gets suspended fro doing the right thing. Gopalakrishnaiaih we later come to know is more Ghodse in nature than the Gandhian that he projects himself to be. How Dasari reveals this to the public and gets them to eat humble pie forms the crux of the story.

What is Good : Undoubtedly the dialogues and Mohanbabu’s brief but power-packed performance. Dasari too had his share of spotlight taking repeated digs at Chiranjeevi. The dialogue “pedda valla photolu venuka pettukunnatha matrana nuvvu kooda pedda vaadivi kaavu” drew jeers from a section of the audience who shouted “YSR down down, Chiranjeevi Zindabad.” The climax song by C Na RE is sure to raise the pride of any Telugu by a few notches. The first half of the movie maintains some momentum. M S Narayana’s brief comedy is a welcome relief, as was the pleasing cinematography.

What is bad : It is too much of a Congress movie. Mohanbabu, Srihari and Dasari Narayana Rao are all dyed-in-the-wool Congress men. And the bias is reflected in every frame of the movie. The last 20 minutes in the second half has the look and feel of a Congress documentary. The motive behind Major Devaraj’s murder is land. And Dasari for some inexplicable reason tries to impress upon the audience that Devaraj was killed because he was a Dalit. Perhaps Dasari unwittingly has revealed the stereotypical mindset of India’s oldest political party!! Dasari’s digs at Chiranjeevi were more personal in nature and not policy-based. This certainly will not go well with the large fan base that Chiranjeevi has. And equating Chiranjeevi’s ability to pull crowds with that of Shakila reflects rank poor taste and a petty mind.

Me Thinks : Do give it a miss. Only die hard Congress men can sit through this movie. The film has a stale feeling as if it has come 20 or so years late. The dialogues are clichéd and totally opinionated.

Tailpiece: If only Dasari Narayana Rao has taken as much interest in the script as he did in recreating Chiranjeevi’s initial press conference this would have turned out to be a far better movie than it actually is. But how much time can a state minister devote to a film. So the question is; why did he make it at all in the first place?

- Pramod Reddy   
123Telugu.com Rating : 1.5/5

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