'Veera Simha Reddy' was released in theatres today. The film has been produced by Mythri Movie Makers.
In Rayalaseema, Veera Simha Reddy (Balakrishna) is a philanthropist and a fierce protector of his people. He is looked up to for his ready-made solutions and courage. His blood-thirsty rivals are Prathap Reddy (Duniya Vijay) and Bhanumathi (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar), a couple who have no other business in life but to plot to kill him.
Somewhere in the other part of the world, Veera's son Jai Simha Reddy (Balakrishna, again) is preparing to get married to Esha (Shruti Haasan). This is when his mother Meenakshi (Honey Rose Varghese) breaks the news that his father Veera is very much alive. Why have the family members been separated for decades? Why are Prathap Reddy and Bhanumathi impatient to eliminate Veera?
Balakrishna's potent performance breathes life into even stale scenes. His performance might not be as booming as it was in 'Akhanda', but he definitely shows vigour. As the titular character, he is sturdy, vulnerable and also occasionally romantic. There is a mandatory Bava-Maradalu scene involving him and Honey Rose Varghese. The Malayalam actress actually gets to overshadow Shruti Haasan, whose services have been used only for songs and silly comedy scenes.
Varlaxami Sarathkumar may not be a surprise package, but her characterization has a shock value. After 'Krack', she gets to play her most filmi character - unapologetically at that.
This leaves us with the film's antagonist, played by Sandalwood actor Duniya Vijay. He is not distinctive and that's a minus. More than him, it is Lal (who plays the titular character's loyal deputy) who makes the cut. Vijay scrapes through, as the writing leaves him high and dry.
Ajay Ghosh and Ravi Shankar as politicians are stock characters. Saptagiri and Murali Sharma are thoroughly wasted. Naveen Chandra is good. There are a couple of cameos that you wish didn't exist - Brahmandam and Ali never needed to be there.
Thaman's background music in emotional scenes works better than in action scenes. Usually, his BGM is promising if the action choreography is attuned to its beats. Here, the stunts are not stimulating enough in terms of ideas/style. It's Balakrishna who sustains them. As such, Thaman's creativity doesn't sound intense enough.
Rishi Punjabi's cinematography sits well with the colour palette in the Rayalaseema portions. Otherwise, the Turkey portions don't seem grand or beautiful. The editing has been done by Naveen Nooli.
The reliance on Sai Madhav Burra's dialogues is excessive. He delivers goods despite the pressure. "Savaalu visaraku. Nenu shavaalu visurutha," is a case in point. Some lines come with a political tinge. In the prevailing political environment in Andhra Pradesh, where dissent has become highly controversial, this film makes some bold political noise. It goes without saying that Balakrishna, who is a legislator from the Opposition camp, makes the political vocabulary expected.
The furious punchlines ('Nenu bari lo ki digithe Seema vonukuddi') would have sounded much better had the build-up moments been terrific. But this is not such a script. The flashback, despite an unexpected plot point, comes across as old-fashioned.
There is a hidden family sentiment angle that this film doesn't quite make use of effectively. It's there on paper but the writing is not solid.
Veera Simha Reddy's first scene takes place in the backdrop of a religious ritual. A flood of cliches involving his character follows. An official lists his noble deeds. He is compared to the lion in the forest. He foresees a 'Samoohika Vivaham' ceremony. When someone tells him not to pamper his younger sister, he says he will do just that.
Characters keep saying that they are seething with 'Paga'. The film betrays the feeling that it will never run out of filler scenes as long as they do fan service.
At more than 140 minutes, the film should have offered a couple of new story ideas.
'Veera Simha Reddy' is a garden-variety film with run-of-the-mill ideas. It doesn't offer anything new in the semi-genre of factional/revenge actioners. Balakrishna's performance and production values make a difference.