'Bholaa Shankar', produced by Anil Sunkara, hit the cinemas today (August 11). In this section, we are going to review the latest box-office release.
Shankar (Chiranjeevi) and his adopted sister Mahalakshmi (Keerthy Suresh) arrive in Kolkata. The former starts working as a cab driver, while the latter joins a premium Arts college.
Girls have been kidnapped in the city indiscriminately and the police are clueless because there is no informer to help them solve the case. The police department briefs cabbies in the town about the unfolding human trafficking crisis. Shankar finds a clue and helps the police achieve a breakthrough in no time. The kingpin (Tarun Arora) of the trafficking network becomes incensed. The rest of the film is about who Shankar is and how he breaks the back of the mafia.
Chiranjeevi's acting 'meter' is crafted to cater to the mass audience. However, the attempt to make his performance look like a throwback to his vintage theatrics falls flat. The 'nadumu' scene inspired by 'Kushi' is an instance of a legend showing desperation to please the audience. The 'Waltair Veerayya' actor is middling and, if you are truly fed up with this genre, almost annoying in some scenes.
Keerthy Suresh is perhaps the only female artist in this film who is kind enough to care for the audience. Tamannaah Bhatia as Advocate Lasya behaves like a sadist in a scene and immediately dreams of an item song with the hero in the next moment. Sushanth Anumolu as Lasya's brother gets a slow-motion shot, leaving us bamboozled about Meher Ramesh's Midas Touch.
Tarun Arora belongs to the YVS Chowdhary genre of acting. Ravi Shankar's cameo is okay. Sayaji Shinde as a top cop, Shawar Ali as the villain's brother, Sreemukhi as the hero's wannabe girlfriend, and Rashmi Gautam as a prop in a hero-centric song don't add much.
Vennela Kishore plays a travel company owner who is frustrated with his wife's overreach.
Mahati Swara Sagar's songs are wearisome. 'Bholaa Mania' works because of the Megastar-isms on display. 'Jam Jam Jajjanaka' works because of the picturization and the singers (Anurag Kulkarni and Mangli). 'Milky Beauty' and 'Kottara Kottu Teenumaaru' appear forced and redundant.
Cinematographer Dudley's work is nothing out of the ordinary. In the era when rare colour palettes are being liked by the audience, it is funny that 'Bholaa Shankar' feels like a cousin of 'Sardar Gabbar Singh' on the visual aesthetics front. Marthand K Venkatesh's editing is bland.
The film is an official remake of the Tamil movie 'Vedalam' (2015), whose story was written by Siva and Adi Narayana. The Tamil original was not looked up to with admiration even by the most charitable reviewers. A national daily described it as an "extremely loud and incredibly gratuitous" action entertainer. Cine-goers and critics alike also made a passing reference to Rajinikanth's classic 'Baasha'. Eight years later, the Telugu remake is spectacularly outdated and monumentally irritating.
Bithiri Sathi, Satya, Getup Srinu, Tagubothu Ramesh, Venu Tillu and Lobo are seen together (in a single frame sometimes) in the flashback. Comedians and henchmen over-populate this under-developed blunder of a movie. In the courtroom premises scene in the first half, there are three comedians (Hyper Aadhi, Viva Harsha, Brahmanandam) wearing black robes. To add to them, there is Tamannaah (who plays a version of the comical heroine from 'Jathi Ratnalu').
The action scenes, otherwise showing some impact because of the lead man's screen presence, have been conceived and staged in a dated fashion. Mafia guys don't know how to wield weapons. Even in their own adda, it is the hero who gets to lay his hands on a sword just when he needs it. Granted that mass masala action scenes are not supposed to be logical, but we are living in the era of films like 'Vikram' and 'Pushpa' and 'RRR'. Make at least some effort to redeem yourself and make the action look believable here and there.
The second half is a royal mess. The flashback scenes involving Sreemukhi and others fail to provide fan service. Everything is over-the-top and gaudy.
'Bholaa Shankar' is an insufferable remake that is in the league of Nithiin's 'Macherla Niyojakavargam' and Ram Pothineni's 'The Warriorr' in terms of how outdated it is.