Telugu Trailer Roundup

Here’s a roundup of some of the latest Telugu trailers.  I think I’m most looking forward to Chay Akkineini’s newest film.

 

Rana Daggubati is center in this trailer for what may be a web series.  Looks like a cross between Mr. Robot and Scandal:

 

Meda Meeda Abbayi:

 

 

Mahanubhavudu starring Sharwanand and Mehreen Kaur, directed by Maruthi.  I like this nerdy persona by Sharwanand, an actor new to me.

 

Paisa Vasool just looks insane.

 

Ravi Teja in Raja the Great:

 

I’m also really psyched for Jr. NTR in Jai Lava Kusa.

 

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Trailer Reactions – Solo, Bhoomi, Simran and Yuddham Sharanam

 

So many trailers came out last week!  Here are my reactions to four of the new films that I’m looking forward to seeing.

Any new movie from Dulquer Salmaan is one I’m looking foward to seeing.  After I posted this, someone commented that the film is an anthology and Dulquer will play several characters in the film.  This is just the first character, Rudhra.

 

Bhoomi shows Sanjay Dutt as the father of his daughter Bhoomi.  No subtitles but I get the basic gist that this is a revenge story.  I’m looking forward to seeing Sanjay play a father role.

 

Simran is the “maid” picture that was filmed in the States.  What I just learned is that the director Hansal Mehta is the same one who directed the fantastic Aligharh.  No subs, but it looks super quirky!

 

Finally subtitles, although they don’t show up in my reaction.  This is just a teaser for Chay Akkineini’s latest film, but it looks exciting.  Chay is definitely a great action film actor, and I’m enjoying following his career.

Rarandoi Veduka Chuddam Video Review – Naga Chaitanya’s new family drama film with Rakul Preet Singh

Rarandoi Veduka Chudham (Come, Let’s Watch the Spectacle) is an enjoyable family drama starring Naga Chaitanya and Rakul Preet Singh.  This I believe is their first film together, and the first time I’ve seen Rakul in a film.

This film is put out by Naga Chaitanya’s family banner, and he did well in the film, but frankly, I enjoyed his 2016 films Premam and Sahasam Swasaga Saagipo much more.  The first half of this film is slow, but it’s saved by the last hour or so of the film when the conflict comes to a head.

I also enjoyed seeing Jagapathi Babu again as Naga’s father.  He was Mahesh Babu’s father in Srimanthadu.

 

 

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Ye Maaya Chesave – Sweet early romance drama with Naga Chaitanya and Samantha Prabhu

Serendipity smiled down on me.  I’ve been so busy with holiday nonsense that I haven’t had time to watch movies much the last few weeks.

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 I actually have owned this movie, Ye Maaya Chesave (What Magic Have You Done — a very appropriate title) for months.  I bought it in a DVD bundle when I took a chance on a Bhavani DVD order.  Another movie in the bundle, starring Nagarjuna in King, I did not like that much and this other DVD got pushed to the back of the pile.  I was looking for something else this week and came upon it.  When I ordered it, I did not know either actor in that front cover pic, but they sure look familiar to me now!
This was Samantha Prabhu’s first movie! This was only Naga Chaitanya’s second film from 2010.  That’s why it was bundled with his father’s movie!  Evidently, it was a huge Telugu hit.  The director, Gautham Menon just directed Chaitanya again in that movie I saw in the theater last month, Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo   (FYI, if you don’t know Samantha and Chaitanya recently got engaged in real life.)
I will tell you straight out that both leads show that this is an early film.  There’s sort of a fidgeting to some scenes like they don’t quite know what to do with themselves — they don’t yet have that confident screen presence they do now.
ye-maya-chesave-movie-stills-_26_But there are a few scenes that are just pure magic! The awkwardness and how young they look fit with the characters.  Poor Chaitanya has got acne, and Samantha is so baby-faced!
The movie starts in a church and Jessie (Samantha Prabhu) is the bride, and Karthik (Chaitanya) is sitting in the pews with his head in his hand. “Why did I have to fall in love with Jessie?”  And, flashback for half the movie.
It’s young first love.  Forbidden love because she’s Christian and he’s Hindu.  He’s a jerk in front of her brother and father and they hate him.  But oh my gosh the young love is so sweet, but sometimes with a little edge to it.  Karthik wants to be a film director and doesn’t have a job, which on top of being Hindu does not endear him to Jessie’s dad.  Poor Jessie’s only been allowed to see five films her whole LIFE.  (Also, nice twist that the girl is two years older than the boy.)
Real life director, Puri Jagannadh (Pokiri), cameos as the director on whose film Karthik finally gets a job as an assistant director.
There are many twists to the story.  Karthik is a jerk and needs to grow up in the worst way.  Jessie needs to get a spine at moments, but then does so in spectacular fashion.  It’s one of those movies that feels both like a real complicated relationship, and also so filmi with moments for love songs that just sweep you away.
The ending is just filmi swoon inducing.  I had to play the last 10 minutes all over again when I finished because this one speech of Karthik’s at the end —  just the best.
The music is all A R. Rahman and is an awesome soundtrack.  This director films his movies in Tamil and Telugu at the same time — but with different casts.  I was absolutely tickled at the exotic locale for this fantasy song when he’s first falling — Princeton!!
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I really loved how the song Kundanapu Bomma was edited into the film.  Karthik is having this fantasy of sweeping Jessie off her feet and taking her in his arms and kissing her.  And the action goes back in forth from the fantasy to the reality of his first tentative kisses, and then the slap he gets!  (I’ve marked the video about where that bit starts.)
Evidently Samantha the actress is half Telugu and half Malayalam, and her character is as well.  So key parts of the movie are in Kerala.  The wedding scene with her bridal boat approaching the big white church is just stunning.  I got a kick out of fish out of water Telugu Karthik and his friend to make their way in Kerala.  “Guys in colored lungis are going to beat us up, Karthik, why do we have to go to Kerala?!” 
1323341228631871Thanks to this film, I now have maybe my all time favorite line in an Indian movie.  When the two lead characters meet in Central Park in NYC, they hug and then the guy says, “This is America!  I can kiss you in the middle of the road!”  And he does, repeatedly.
So glad I own this one but I found the whole thing is on Youtube with subs!
I’m going to tell my husband “This is America!  I can kiss you in the middle of the road!”
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Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo – Very Satisfying Romance Thriller with an excellent Naga Chaityanya

saahasam-swaasaga-saagipo-movie-ratingOne of my followers suggested I try to catch Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo (Live Adventurously) with Naga Chaitanya in theaters this week, after he read my Premam review.  I’m so thankful T.J. told me about it before it was gone!  It’s the start of the hectic holiday season here, and I did not even realize Naga had a new film in theaters.  I caught the ONE showtime it played today, and it was pretty darn good.  Guarav Menon filmed it concurrently in Tamil with another lead actor, but the same lead actress.

I LOVE the film allusions right in the dialogue itself.  First there’s a title card that says “Inspired by a scene in The Godfather“.  It has been a loooooong time since I saw The Godfather, so I had to look it up when I got home.  It was the hospital scene.  That is key to the action second half.

Another interesting thing is that the hero’s name is never revealed until the very end of the film, and it has a dramatic punch when it is revealed — And a touch of humor to it.  The heroine doesn’t even know his name until almost the end.  She jokingly puts his number in her phone under “Unknown”.

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The first half is swoony innocent romance and the second half action thriller.  Sort of like how Kali had two very different moods to the two halves of the film, but here the romance is almost Premam level innocent and sweet.
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There’s a prologue where we see a man and woman attacked in their home, and then we see our hero beat up 6 guys who had been harassing his sister.  “Stalking like that is so 80’s!”

He sees them approach backlit and there’s overlay voiceover that had me chuckling.

“Four men suddenly appeared approaching me like in a Mani Ratnam film so I knew I was in trouble.”  LOL!  He dispatches them easily and comments on how it was his first taste of violence.

Then the friend of his sister, Leela, moves into their family house for a few weeks, and they shyly say not much more than “Hi” to each other for awhile, and then gradually, sweetly become friends.  Naga finished with school and wants to travel before settling down, and plots to hit the road on his motorcycle with a friend “His girlfriend probably won’t let him go.”

Leela unexpectedly shows up when he’s leaving and asks to go with him.  I LOVED this.  That she asks to just be one of the guys and share the adventure, not be his girlfriend/lover right away.  They have a wonderful trip to Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of Tamil Nadu to see the sunrise.  It was spectacular scenery of a place I’d never seen before.

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There is a really exceptional “I’m a good decent boy” moment in the romance.  For money’s sake, they book a hotel room in Kanyakumari with two twin beds.  When it’s her turn to shower, he offers to leave the hotel room so she’ll be more comfortable.saahasam-swaasaga-saagipo-movie-stills-05

THEN the whole movie turns on a dime into a thriller. They should part, as she is due home in Maharashtra, and he offers to take her all the way home.  Their trip has been a secret from everyone.  Neither family knows they are together.

There’s a road accident, and then The Godfather moment comes.  It was her parents that were attacked in the beginning, and our hero rises to the occasion to protect Leela and her family.  The cops are corrupt, and there’s one particular bad cop that is their nemesis.  The action is pretty gripping and I didn’t know what was going to happen from one scene to the next.  Not quite the unbearable tension of Kali, but pretty darn good.

The final resolution ending is SO satisfying as only South Indian films can be.  They’re so violent, but there’s just a YEAH!! moment when the villain is vanquished and the hero is triumphant.

The lead actress, Manjima Mohan, was okay, but I am continually impressed by our boy Akkineni Naga Chaitanya.  Innocent romance he excels at, and he was very, very convincing as an everyman who rises to the occasion in the action sequences.  He was very good in the fight scenes.  I think the cinematographer was non-Indian, maybe from Hollywood because it was more of a Hollywood close camera work kind of style in the fist fights.

The music is A R Rahman which is always good, but it didn’t blow me away like Mental Manadhil from O K Kanmani.  I did really like this haunting love song which in the film is intercut with the road accident, which was a really interesting editing choice.  This slow passionate song –

So, T.J.  thank YOU for giving me another reason to be thankful this week of American Thanksgiving!

On a shallow note, I was also thankful that Menon gave us a few Naga shirtless scenes (he’s been working out!) and this particular shot.  😉

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Song of the Day – Evare/Malare from Premam

Ever since I watched the Telugu remake of the Malayalam blockbuster Premam, I have been playing the song Evare, and the original Malare over and over.  The sweeping melody and the lyrical voice of Vijay Yesudas in both versions just transport me into a place of peace.

The Malayalam song video I found has English subtitles.

Premam – Naga Chaitanya shines in this Telugu Remake of the Malayalam blockbuster

Premam [Love], the Malayalam film starring Nivin Pauly was one of the first Malayalam films I ever saw, and it remains one of my all time favorites.  When I heard they were making a Telugu remake of this massive hit film, I was filled with dread.  They’ll ruin all that made it special, no one could match Nivin Pauly’s charm in the three different ages, etc.  Then I saw Naga Chaitanya in Manam and discovered he was the lead in the Telugu Premam.  Now I HAD to see it because he was so adorable in Manam.  I saw one of the last screenings at my local theater, all alone.  For the most part, Naga Chaitanya captures the magic that is Premam.  He’s great in the three parts, playing Vikram (Vicky) at 16, 20 and his late 20’s.

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First, one of the best decisions of the remake was to have two of the actresses reprise their roles.  Anupama Parameswaran returns as the wild haired teen that is the object of 16 year old Vicky’s massive young love crush.  In the Malayalam film, she is the Christian Mary, here she is Suma.  The Telugu love song sequence references that great wild hair, slightly tamed in the Telugu remake.

In this first section of the film, I nearly thought that Chaitanya was doing an impression of Nivin Pauly as a teen.  He must have really studied Nivin’s performance, because so many expressions were similar and head tilts and so on.  If you’d never seen the Nivin Pauly film, you would love this Telugu film unreservedly.  One thing from this early sequence that differs is that I think the Malayalam film was in a more rural setting which added to the feel of innocence about the adolescent love story.

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The middle section is the strongest in the Malayalam film, and the weakest in the Telugu.  And that’s not Chaitanya’s fault.  He is fantastic as the college rowdy.  Since it’s a Telugu film, and they probably had a higher budget than the Malayalam, they take the initial explosion prank in the first college scene up a notch.  It’s a huge fireball explosion of a transformer instead of a little firecracker to disrupt the festival performance of their rivals.  And then the fight is not just a simple mud fight, but a big slow mo fight sequence in a construction sight with big sprays of sand, and bricks flying and what have you.  There is also a typically Telugu cameo of star Daggubati Venkatesh as Vicky’s uncle.

The issue with this middle section is that Shruti Haasan is no Sai Palavi.  The filmmakers have basically admitted that including Shruti in the remake was for financial reasons to have a name star.  She just does not have an ounce of the charm and for lack of a better word, gravitas, of Pallavi.  The romance doesn’t seem as deep.  I remember Malar and Vicky talking marriage in the original, but it doesn’t seem to go that far in the Telugu.  Since the romance isn’t as deep, the tragedy isn’t as deeply felt either by the audience.  Chaitanya doesn’t handle that overcome with grief scene as well, but granted, it’s probably one of the best Nivin Pauly acting scenes of his career.

In the Malayalam, part of what made this college romance section so special was that the rogue Vicky falls, and falls hard for a young woman with acne, and not just a little facial acne.  His friends mock him and don’t understand what he sees in her, but we the audience see how beautiful she is through Vicky’s eyes.  Shruti Haasan with her flawless porcelain skin?  Who wouldn’t fall for your teacher when she looks like that?

They used the same melody in both films for this beautiful love song  (Malare becomes Evare), and the scenery in this Telugu version is just jaw droppingly gorgeous:

One nice addition to the Telugu remake is that Vicky wins over Sithara (Shtuti) by making her a (Marathi??) traditional sweet for a holiday.  So that when we get to the final section of the film, and Vicky has become a prominent chef with his own restaurant, you see that he has taken his love of cooking from his college romance.  In the Malayalam the final section, where Vicky finds his bride was the the shortest and an underdeveloped romance, and the fact that he owned a bakery/sweet shop seemed to come out of nowhere.  This is supposed to be the love of his life and his bride, and maybe they ran out of money or Madonna Sebastian didn’t have longer dates for filming in the Malayalam version.   I had always wanted a bit more, and the Telugu gives it to me.

We get a love song in the Telugu!  It shows their developing relationship in the film, and when she reveals that her parents have arranged an engagement, the betrayal hits that much harder for Vicky.  I think Chaitanya really came into his own in this final part of the film.  Nivin Pauly played the older Vikram as reserved and lonely.  Here, Chaitanya’s Vikram is a busy chef who doesn’t care about the marriage arrangements his sister is trying to make in a phone call.  I really liked that they beefed up this section a bit more.

The wedding scene however, doesn’t have quite the same punch.  Shruti sees that same dessert on the buffet (that Vicky had made for her) and that spurs her memory, and she just looks back a little wistfully.  Again, she’s no Sai Pallavi.

So, not spoiling it, if you’ve never seen the Malayalam original ( and you should because it’s fantastic!), but this is a worthy remake.  The plot is nearly identical, with a few nice additions.  I really enjoyed it.  It’s no hardship watching Chaitanya for a few hours!  His father Naga Nagarjuna has a nice little cameo at the end as well.

Also, one of the things that had me laughing so hard out loud happened when a certain character is tied up and being beaten up.  His tormentor yells, “Why did Kattappa kill Baahubali?!  Tell me!!”  LOL  Gotta love Telugu films.

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Manam – A Comfort Movie as delicious as a mug of hot chocolate

Margaret of Don’t Call It Bollywood raved to me before she posted her review that I had to watch Manam [Us], especially when I told her the other movie I was taking on my flights was Aligarh.   I’m so glad I did.  It was so wonderful!  The perfect cozy family film – like drinking a big mug of hot chocolate.

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I didn’t realize until I looked up the movie when I got home from my trip that the actors in this film are all in the same family.  And the family company, Anapurma Studios, produced the film.  This was the final film of ANR, who died of colon cancer during post-production.  His son Nagarjuna wanted to work together on one last film, and it’s a worthy tribute to his father.  Nagarjuna’s son Chaitanya is one of the leads, and there’s a cameo with his other son Akhil == and a special appearance by Amitabh Bachchan!

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The only other film I’ve seen with Nagarjuna is King.  I liked him, but the action comedy movie wasn’t the best.  I loved him in Manam.  Manam is a reincarnation movie.  Nagarjuna loses his parents the day after his 6th birthday, and in their honor has become one of the wealthiest businessmen in India.  He happens to sit next to the reincarnation of his father on an airplane.  His father is played by Nagarjuna’s son Chaitanya (who is adorable!).

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Nagarjuna then searches out his mother, and finds her reincarnation, too, played by Samantha Ruth Prabhu.  He has an instant connection to his mother, but has to work a little harder to connect with his father.   He plots how to get his parents reunited again.  They had been about to divorce when they died, and there are unresolved issues.

 

But my favorite part of the film is when we discover that Nagarjuna has been reincarnated, too!  His son is played by Nagarjuna’s father, ANR.  The flashback scenes of the romance back in the past with Nagarjuna and Shriya Saran are just magical.  Nagarjuna is wealthy in the past, too, and chooses a poor woman to marry because he likes her picture.  He is puzzled why she wants to wait 6 months to marry and seeks her out.  He discovers that she needs 6 months to earn enough money to purchase his traditional groom gift of clothes.  She doesn’t know who he is and lets him stay and be her worker on her farm to earn the money faster.

The reveal scene at the wedding when she the curtain drops and she just leaps on him because of course she had fallen in love — the best!  Oh, my goodness, how I loved this scene:

None of the issues and problems in the film are horrible, and even though people die — they come back and work it out in the next life.

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This movie is like a big ole family group hug.  I loved every minute.  Highly recommend!

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Margaret was right.  This was the perfect feel good movie to follow the darkness in Aligarh.

When I realized Naga Chaitanya has the Nivin Pauly role in the Telugu Premam, I went out to see that film next.  Review coming soon!