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Review : Welcome Obama – Merciless Attack on Sensibilities
wel_obama2 Release date : 20 September 2013 Rating : 1.5/5
Director : Singeetham Srinivasa Rao
Producer : S.Bharati Krishna
Music Director : Singeetham Srinivasa Rao
Starring : Sanjeev, Urmila, Rachel

Before I begin this review, I would like to first state that I have the deepest respect for Mr. Singeetham Srinivasa Rao garu. He is a legendary director and his body of work is impressive and awe inspiring. At the age of 82, he has directed this film called ‘Welcome Obama’. Should we take his previous films and age into consideration when looking at this film? I tried to, but in the end, each film needs to be analysed individually and without any baggage. So, read on.

Story :

The movie is basically a remake of the Marathi film ‘Mala Aai Vhhaychy!’, but the makers have not highlighted that before. The director of the Marathi film, Samruddhi Porey, is given a credit in the film along with Mr. Singeetham Srinivasa Rao for Screenplay.

The story deals with the emotional issues surrounding the practice of surrogacy. Lucy (Rachel) is an American in search of a surrogate mother. An agent brings her to Yashodha (Urmila Kanitkar) and a deal is brokered. Yashoda needs money for the medical care of her daughter and that is why she agrees.

After Yashoda is clinically impregnated, Lucy stays with her to take care. But as fate would have it, Yashoda suffers a fall and Lucy suspects that the baby is going to have abnormalities. She disowns the kid and asks Yashoda to get aborted. An emotionally attached Yashoda disagrees.

After a while, a healthy baby boy is born and Yashoda brings him up with a lot of love. However, mother and son are in for a rude shock when Rachel returns, to claim her son. What follows is an emotional struggle that highlights the conflicts between biological parents and surrogate mothers.

Plus Points :

The basic plot of the film is quite novel and thought provoking. Among all the actors present, Urmila Kanitkar is the only one who manages to stand out with a decent performance. She has essayed the role of Yashoda in the Marathi version as well.

Minus Points :

‘Welcome Obama’ feels like an unrelenting and merciless attack on viewers. Everything in the film is Loud, with a capital L. Rachel harassed viewers with her over the top performance in ‘Potugadu’. But in ‘Welcome Obama’, she takes it to the next level. Her performance is very irritating.

The title justification for the film is pathetic. It is a cheap and blatant attempt to garner publicity. The film is also excessively long and the second half seems to go on and on for ever.

Special mention must be made of the ‘comedy’ track. Lyricists Bhuvana Chandra and Anantha Sriram deserve special sporting spirit awards for agreeing to be a part of one of the worst Telugu cinema ‘comedy’ tracks ever conceived. The scenes involving Bhuvanachandra’s forgetful wife are just unbearable.

Screenplay is pathetic. There is no other word for it. Despite having such a promising subject as the base, the film never manages to make an emotional impact. The only emotion that will be felt by viewers is frustration.

There are a number of unnecessary and bad songs. They just destroy whatever little pace the film has. There are a number of loopholes in the plot.

Technical Aspects :

Cinematography of the film is bad. There are a number of shots where the images wobble. Colour grading is also not very good. Music and background score do not help the film in any way. While Rohini’s dialogues are ok, the lifeless screenplay and poor performances destroy the impact.

As for Mr. Singeetham Srinivasa Rao’s direction, I will just say that it is bad, out of respect for his age and legacy.

Verdict :

Legends rarely succeed when they come out of retirement for a second innings. They just end up tarnishing their legacy. Michael Schumacher is a good example for that. Someone like Mr. Singeetham Srinivasa Rao should have never attempted a project like this. ‘Welcome Obama’ is a sad and sorry film, with nothing in it for viewers. Rating – 1.5/5

Reviewed by Mahesh S Koneru


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