Beginning with Khaidi in 1983, Megastar Chiranjeevi went on to rule Tollywood for more than two decades until he plunged into full-time politics in 2008 and quit acting. Nearly a decade later, the star is back to the medium which had endeared himself to the people in the first place-movies.
Khaidi No 150 which has been in the news for over a year has hit the silver screens today. Can Chiranjeevi reclaim his glory and position with this movie?
Does he have the same charisma and screen presence? Read on to find out how good Chiru is in the film and how well this movie, remade from Tamil blockbuster Kaththi has shaped up.
Farmers of a remote village in Anantpur district are fighting a corporate company that is trying to grab their lands believed to contain untapped water. Supporting them in their struggle is Shankar (Chiranjeevi) an idealist, who along with a few villagers, comes to Hyderabad to bring the issue of the struggle to the notice of the media and the judiciary.
On other hand, is a thief called Kaththi Seenu (Chiranjeevi) who has escaped from jail. Kaththi Seenu is witness to a shootout and is surprised to find the injured person who is none other than Shankar look exactly like him.
Kaththi Seenu gets Shankar admitted to a hospital and decides to impersonate Shankar to escape from the police. He lands in the place where Shankar was residing with his villagers. Over time, he realizes who Shankar really is and the noble cause for which he had been fighting. Kaththi Seenu now takes up the war to bring justice to the farmers.
Does he achieve Shankar’s goal? What tricks does he play to realize his objective? You have to watch the film to get the answer.
Despite a long gap, Chiranjeevi is absolutely at home in his performance. Acting-wise, he is still superb as he was in the past. He has pulled off both the roles convincingly. His performance is especially good while delivering the emotional speeches.
Chiranjeevi has worked hard to look young, his dances are good. He has not done any heavy-duty steps but pulled off the dance moves gracefully. However, he seemed odd in action sequences, which is why all fight scenes failed to make any impact. But given his age, he has done a commendable job in the dance and fight sequences.
Kajal Agarwal is there in the movie only for songs. Comedy by Ali, Brahmanandam, Raghu Babu and Posani is not effective although they managed to induce the occasional laugh.
Tarun Arora as the villain is okay. Lakshmi Rai as item girl and Ram Charan in a cameo appearance added glitz to the movie.
Producer Ram Charan has provided best technicians to his dad’s comeback movie. Popular cinematographer Rathnavelu shot the film in a rich manner and he also made Chiru look young in many frames.
The production quality is also top-class. Director Vinayak has shot the film in grand way. Music by Devi Sri Prasad is foot-tapping, the songs have become quite popular prior to the release and the songs are equally good on screen. In fact, they appear more effective on screen due to picturisation, locations and Chiru’s dances.
Background score is effective too with the ‘Neeru Neeru’ theme. Some dialogues are impressive, while some are old-style preachy ones.
- Second half
- Devi Sri Prasad’s peppy songs
- Outdated scenes
- Uneven pace
Unlike director Murugadoss’s other movies, Kaththi doesn’t boast of a different kind of story or screenplay. In fact, this story is as old as Chiru’s career. But the movie is packaged with right masala moments.
Director Vinayak who successfully remade Murgudoss’s earlier film Ramana as Tagore with Chiranjeevi a decade ago, has followed the same formula. He has not changed much of the original screenplay of the Tamil version but he has added Brahmanandam’s character and an item song.
Like in the Tamil version, the first half lacks grip, it has many loose ends. Nevertheless, the film packs punch with many “mass” moments in the second half. When an entire village is not getting media’s attention despite their protests, Chiranjeevi blocks a pipeline that takes water to Hyderabad. The way this is narrated is interesting. Soon after this, he gives a fiery speech about farmers and their issues which also connects well. These two lengthy episodes in the second half, pre-interval sequences have made a lot of difference to an otherwise regular masala movie. Still, the movie doesn’t overcome its flaws in the script.
In the first half, the confrontation of villain and hero, the flashback episode of Shankar are convincingly told. Moreover, Chiranjeevi has looked in form despite long gap. For mega fans, this is what matters. Clever use of “Neeru Neeru” as background theme music has helped the movie carry the mood forward. When Chiru questions about ‘runa maafi’ (waiver of loans for farmers), it rings well with the audiences given the political issue in AP. There are subtle political statements too.
One clever thing director Vinayak does is he has not put many romantic scenes between Chiranjeevi and Kajal Agarwal. He has used her only for songs.
Chiru coming back in form is one big asset, and the director sticking to the content in the second half has helped a lot. But on the downside, many scenes involving Chiru, Ali and Brahmanandam seem out of place with the current trend. Even the dialogues mouthed by Chiru in those scenes are outdated.
The villain in the movie is a lame duck. The confrontational scenes between hero and villain don’t have enough fizz. There are many flaws in the story too and the climax is not convincing at all. Also, megastar looks overweight in the beginning scenes. There is lot of difference in his looks throughout the film.
Over all, “Khaidi No 150” is a film that has some nice mass moments and has dealt on a topical issue with cliched script. It is Chiru’s act that works rather than the content of the movie.
Bottom-line: New Innings!