Maestro is now streaming on Hotstar. Let's find out what are its hits and misses.
A remake of 'Andhadhun' (Hindi), 'Maestro' has Arun (Nithiin) as a pianist. He fools everyone into believing that he is blind.
When yesteryear film actor Mohan (VK Naresh) asks him to deliver a surprise to his wife Simran (Tamannaah Bhatia) on their wedding anniversary by playing piano at their home, Arun thinks he is in for fun. But once at her place, he discovers that Simran has murdered her husband in cahoots with Ravindar (Jisshu Sengupta), a cop with whom she has had an extra-marital affair. The rest of the film is about what happens when the Simran-Ravindar duo discover that Arun is not blind.
Both Nithin and Tamannaah Bhatia didn't get influenced by the performances from the original. They were aware of the superlative output of their Bollywood counterparts - Ayusshman Khurrana and Tabu, respectively. Director Merlapaka Gandhi, too, let them be. The duo doesn't disappoint. They are engrossing, with Tamannaah outdoing the male lead in some portions.
After being caricatured in 'Bheeshma', Jisshu Sengupta is nice. VK Naresh is superb, while Nabha Natesh looks more serious than Radhika Apte looked in the original. Sreemukhi as Ravindar's wife is apt. Mangli and Racha Ravi, together with Harsha Vardhan, do well. Ananya Nagalla of 'Vakeel Saab' fame is seen as Mohan's daughter. Srinivas Reddy, Mahesh Achanta and others are seen in small parts.
Music director Mahati Swara Sagar was given the brief of making the proceedings look light. If 'Baby O Baby' and 'Shuru Karo' could have been better, 'Vennello Aadapilla' is lilting. The BGM is adequate, borrowing its spirit from the original.
J Yuvaraj's cinematography adds an earnest visual flavour. At 135 minutes, the run-time is loyal to the Hindi original.
The Hindi original, of which 'Maestro' is a remake, was inspired by L'Accordeur or The Piano Tuner (2010), a French short film. When 'Andhadhun' was out, film critics and the discerning audience went gaga over its moody aesthetics. They described the film as stunningly atmospheric. The Telugu remake retains the flavour without nativizing the story.
Writer-director Merlapaka Gandhi sets the film in Goa for the most part. Naresh proves to be an able casting choice, while the Nithiin-Nabha Natesh pairing would have been appealing had their scenes were fleshed out better. The initial scenes between the characters Mohan and Simran throw some hints about the latter's mindset.
It takes about 30 minutes for 'Maestro' to get into the groove. Once the theatre of action shifts to Simran's place, it's inevitable that Jisshu Sengupta's character was introduced. He enters the screen, making the screenplay absorbing.
The interval block is enjoyable. The movie becomes somewhat convenient in the second half. This is a defect that ailed even the Hindi original, which was redeemed by director Sriram Raghavan's flair for dark humour and moody storytelling.
The portions involving the unscrupulous doctor (played by Harsha Vardhan), Mangli and Racha Ravi should have been improvised a lot to suit the tastes of the Telugu audience.
Despite its minor flaws, 'Maestro' is still different because of its interplay of dark comedy and crime thriller tropes. This is something the Telugu audiences haven't tasted in the past.
Maestro is definitely watchable for its impressive storyline, twists, climax, and its sensibilities. But it is a blind Xerox copy of the original at so many levels.