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'Tungabhadra' Review: Serious, But Bland

Movie: Tungabhadra
Rating: 2/5
Banner:
Vaarahi Chalana Chitra
Cast: Adith Arun, Dimple, Satyaraj, Kota Srinivas, Siva Krishna, Saptagiri and Others
Music: Hari Gaura
Cinematography: Rahul Srivastava 
Producer: Sai Korrapati 
Director: Srinivasa Krishna Gogineni
Release Date: March 20, 2015

Small films are the order of the day and Vaarahi Chalana Chitra which has been producing a mix of big and small films, now presents a message-oriented film Tungabhadra which is totally apt for the present times. Let’s see what the film is about…

Story:
The film starts off in a small village around Vijayawada and traces the political rivalry between two groups. Their animosity results in the deaths of their followers and the village is in a perpetual state of war due to this. The two groups are headed by Ramaraju (Satyaraj) and Paiditalli (Kota Srinivasa Rao). Meanwhile, Ramaraju’s daughter Gauri (Dimple Chopade) and his most trusted henchman Srinu (Adith Arun) fall in love. Will Ramaraju accept their love? Will the love birds manage to survive the rivalry? This forms the crux of the story.

Artistes’ Performances:
The main lead is played by Adith Arun who was seen in Katha and the female lead is Dimple Chopade who was earlier seen in Romance. Both of them suit their roles and put in decent performances. Of course, if it were a Tamil film, their performances would have been more intense, but they manage to pull them off.

The main protagonist of the film though is senior Tamil actor Satyaraj. He puts in a strong performance with the right nuances. His Ramaraju is not loud and he makes you empathize with the character with his restrained performance.

Then there is Kota Srinivasa Rao as Paiditalli, Pavitra as Ramaraju’s wife, Saptagiri as the money-splurging businessman-turned-politician and a mix of other actors all of whom put in adequate performances.

Technical Excellence:
Cinematography is by Rahul Srivastava and music is by Hari Gaura. Given that it is a serious film, the songs look out of place and the director must have resisted the temptation to include songs which do not help the film.

Given the nature of the plot, the film has some interesting dialogues regarding politics, but be warned that they have been used rather sparingly.

Srinivasa Krishna Gogineni debuts as a director with this film and attempts to tackle a serious subject in his very first attempt. But he successfully manages to put across the message, which is appropriate for the times.

Highlights:

  • Satyaraj’s performance
  • Message

Drawbacks:

  • Amateurish handling of plot
  • Screenplay

Analysis:
The newspapers have been full of stories about killings due to political rivalry of late. So, this latest attempt by Vaarahi Chalana Chitra is bang on as far as picking the subject is concerned.

The director too tries to capture the essence of the film realistically by trying to use the Tamil style of story-telling. However, despite the seriousness of the subject, he could not resist including two songs and a romantic track amidst all the drama. While the romantic plot is understandable, the songs stand out like sore thumbs. 

Of course, the director completely succeeds in putting across the message that political leaders putting the lives of their followers at risk for power only results in loss of lives. But the rest of the film is rather superfluous and one does not feel the intensity of the plot till the very end. Also, barring Satyaraj, all other characters aren’t well developed and that takes away from the narration.

Yet, given the timeliness of the plot and the fact that Vaarahi chose to make a movie with an off-beat subject, deserves applause.

Surely, the makers of films like Legend and Eega must be aware that Tungabhadra is not for the masses. Despite that, they have chosen to make Tungabhadra to put forth a story that reflects the story of many villages caught up in political rivalry.

A student of cinema might be intrigued by the plot, but the regular audiences may find it a bit serious for their liking.

Bottomline: No frills political drama

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

Click here for Telugu review 

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