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'Lion' Review: Lion Fails To Roar

Movie: Lion
Rating: 2/5
Banner:
Sri Lakshmi Venkateswara Cinema
Cast: Nandamuri Balakrishna, Trisha, Radhika Apte, Jayasudha, Prakash Raj, Ali and Others
Music: Mani Sharma
Cinematography: Venkata Prasad
Editor: Gautham Raju
Producer: Rudrapati Ramana Rao
Story, Screenplay and Direction: Satyadev
Release Date: 14th May 2015

The countdown has begun and it is just another film before Balayya hits a century. Last summer, he had a sensational hit at the box office with Legend. This year, Balakrishna returns with Lion. So let’s see how the film is now that he is also a member of the legislative assembly…

Story:
The story starts off with a rat biting off the toe of a patient in the mortuary of a corporate hospital. And suddenly, like in a horror flick, the body comes to life. Yes, you did read that one right.

The body suddenly comes to life. Well, it is not hard to guess that it is none other than Balakrishna. He comes back to life, but he suffers from memory loss or so the doctors say.

Though they tell him that his name is Godse, he remembers it as Bose and refuses to accept that Jayasudha and Chandra Mohan are his parents.

From then on, Godse or Bose tries to fill in the blanks in his puzzle and goes about finding clues to recollect his story and of course take revenge.

So the rest of the film shows how Bose manages to find out his real identity and figure out who the villain is in his story.

Artistes’ Performances:
Balakrishna is definitely ageing and that is pretty visible. But what is more obvious than his age is his rather heavy frame. However, one must give it to Balakrishna for dancing and fighting around despite his age and weight. He looks really lost when he is unsure of who he is and look really pale in keeping with the character. Probably, it is not his best role, but one can see that he is as sincere as ever.

Trisha is paired with Balakrishna for the first time in her career. She is her usual self who also takes a couple of jokes about her age. She is pretty comfortable playing Balayya’s leading lady and does her best to complement him.

Radhika Apte gets to act with Balayya once again after Legend and she is adequate for her role. She does get the length that Trisha gets, but she manages to leave her mark in the time given to her. She is pretty comfortable doing her share of jhatkas and matkas in songs.

Prakash Raj does a role that is too easy for him to put it in short. He plays the hi-tech CM who kills his uncle to get into the CM’s seat and as always he plays his part well.

But the really surprise package is Jayasudha and Chandra Mohan playing Balayya’s parents. They somehow look out of place and Jayasudha really looks mismatched to play Balayya’s mother.

Then there is Geeta, Chalapathi Rao and other ensemble artistes who do their bit. Prabhakar who is another must have these days also gets to play an inconsequential role. Late MS Narayana gets a decent length role, but it is not something that you will want to remember him for.

Technical Excellence:
Music for the film has been provided by Mani Sharma and there are a couple of songs that might remain with Balayya’s fans for a while, but there is nothing much to write about the album per se. Visually, a couple of songs have been well-picturised and that will make up for the glam quotient in the film and also gives them the Balayya they want to see.

Cinematography by Venkata Prasad and editing by Gautam Raju are nothing much to write about as the film is an average commercial film with no claims of technical excellence.

Satyadev who had assisted Dasari Narayana Rao in the past, debuts as a director with Lion. He also provides the story, narration and dialogues for the film.  

Well, he does try his best to make a thriller-entertainer, but instead he makes a pretty average commercial film that is surely not up to the standards of Balayya’s die-hard fans.

Highlights:

  • Balakrishna

Drawbacks:

  • The twists and turns
  • Climax
  • Overall plot

Analysis:
Two films away from his 100th film and following the success of Legend which has been a huge hit at the box office, Balakrishna is seen in Lion this year. Of course, it is his first and last release for 2015 and the audiences and his hardcore fans have had high expectations from the film.

Technically, the film has a story that might intrigue those who haven’t had an overdose of English films. Director Satyadev tries to make it a thriller of sorts during the first half. It has ample number of twists and turns and finally just when you are about to give up on the suspense element, Satyadev gives you the interval bang with the introduction of the principal villain.

Once the story moves into the second half, the story gets on to a single track and most of the loose ends are tied up. That said, Lion is not your usual Balakrishna film.

While the director did try to make it interesting by incorporating a variety of sub-plots and various settings, it still does not provide high doses of drama, emotions and entertainment that one expects from a Balakrishna film.

Techincally speaking, it has all the ingredients, but still it lacks the spirit of a quintessential Balayya pot-boiler. One almost wishes that some care should have been taken for the make-up of Balayya as he is shown in close-up shots through out. Also, while he does have some heavy duty dialogues, the dialogues in Lion are surely not the ones that will acquire cult following on YouTube.

But the film has its moments like the parody of Axe deodorant ad and Shah Rukh Khan in the form of MS Narayana’s Rahul. And before you begin to hope for more, be warned that that’s where it ends.

Another huge drawback for the film is the rather tacky climax with an overload of graphics apart from the really eye-soaring and hamming Indraja who plays a CBI officer in the most artificial way.

Of course, die-hard fans of Balakrishna might still want to give the film a try, others must think twice before walking into the theatres.

Bottomline: Devudaaaaa

(Venkat can be reached venkat@greatandhra.com or https://twitter.com/greatandhranews)

Click here for Telugu review

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Tags: Balakrishna Lion Rating Lion Review Lion Telugu Review Radhika Apte Trisha