Virodhi : The enemy within
Release date: 01 July 2011.
123Telugu.com Rating : 2.75/5
Director : Neelakanta
Producer : Anil Meka
Music Director : R.P.Patnayak
Starring : Srikanth, Kamalini Mukherjee, Ajay, Kamal Kamaraju and others...
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There have been very few Telugu films that deal with the topic of naxalism. While most of them work with lots of loud dialogue and emotions, actor Srikanth’s first home production Virodhi (meaning Enemy) lays its foundation on subtlety. With National Award winning screenplay writer Neelakanta directing it, there is lot more seriousness associated with it. Unfortunately, the enemy for this Virodhi lies within.

Virodhi What’s it about : Jaidev (Srikanth) is a journalist whose articles have become bothersome for politician Jangayya (Ahuti Prasad). Obviously the politician tries to woo the journalist who is a touch too idealistic. It is during their conversation that a group of maoists, lead by Gogi (Ajay), attack and kill the politician. They take Jaidev as a protection and cross the city along with him. Heightened security measures from the police, especially after the killing of a politician, mean that Gogi and his group will have to walk most of their way back home to Nallamala forests. It is during their way back that Jaidev, though afraid for his own life, discovers the story of each of the group members which includes Hari (Kamal Kamaraju), Ramakrishna (Ravi Varma), Mallaiah (Sivaji Raja), Gogi’s wife Rehana etc. Jaidev’s consistently sensible questions begin to bother the mindsets of the group – eventually breaking it. This only makes Gogi even more adamant on killing the journo, but he needs the support of few other team members, especially from Hari, the idealist and the recruiter. Will Jaidev be able to survive through the hardships of living in jungles and almost one person’s jungle-raaj?

What is Good : It is not often that one sees scope for honest performances for all actors in one film, but Virodhi is a theme that needed good actors. Srikanth leads the acting department, and for his stature, underplays most of the scenes. Infact the first half completely belongs to Ajay, who uses his heavy built body and large eyes to the maximum extent. Kamal Kamaraju is impressive, and Sivaji Raja is at complete ease. The other artists too perform well.

Neelakanta’s screenplay is the heart of the film, as he succeeds, in his own way, in showing that any naxal team, is like any other team in the outside world with different people and different mindsets. While the likes of Ravi Verma and others refer to the society looking for its ideals, Kamal Kamaraju stands metaphor for the ultimate ideal, which is bothered by Ajay, who inspite of being an aggressive leader, is just a power thirst egoist - and hence the enemy within. However, it is Neelakanta’s direction that doesn’t necessarily work for the movie.

What is bad: Virodhi’s basic theme of a kidnapped protagonist affecting the minds of his kidnappers is reminiscent of Roja. But that concept too is a bit too stretched as the hero seems to probe and successfully change almost everyone in a group of adamant naxalites, all in just four days! Also it is because of Roja that Neelakanta couldn’t explore more on kidnapped journalist’s wife, played by Kamalinee Mukherjee! She is just wasted. Even the stories of few people who join the ‘movement’ are clichéd. Slow screenplay must have been necessary for the film, but the audience’s patience will be tested. Even the drama that comes towards the end is too late.

Technical Departments : Even with long boring scenes, Neelakanta’s dialogue is sensible. However, if his ‘honest at heart’ concept doesn’t impress on screen, it is only because he somehow loses control on maintaining the intensity. Ramachandra’s cinematography in the second half is note worthy, and Patnaik score towards the climax is appreciable. Srikanth should be appreciated for willing to take the risk of making a film that doesn’t promise big commercial returns. But, somewhere he will realize that Neelakanta had the chance to make it better.

Bottomline : Virodhi is an honest attempt, but watch it only if you are interested in serious cinema.


123Telugu.com Rating : 2.75/5

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