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‘Jhummandi Naadam’ Review: Old Concoction

Film: Jhumandi Naadam
Rating: 2.5/5

Banner: Lakshmi Prasanna Pictures
Cast: Mohan Babu, Manchu Manoj, Tapsee, Tanikella, Sudha, Ishwarya, Suman, Pragathi, Ahuti Prasad, Brahmi, MS, Ali, Raghu Babu etc
Story: Bhupathi Raja
Editing: Marthand K Venkatesh
Music: M M Keeravani
Camera: S Gopal Reddy
Screenplay, direction: K Raghavendra Rao
Producer: Manchu Lakshmi Prasanna
Release date: 01/07/2010

The elegant celebrity Manchu Lakshmi is making her foray as a producer and that too with a musical of sorts. And it is the directorial treat from the great K Raghavendra Rao after a very long time.

Story
Balu (Manoj) is an aspiring singer and he wants to become as great as S P Balasubramanyam, he comes from Bhadrachalam to fulfill an oath he had taken. Opposite his home lives the retired principal Captain Rao (Mohan Babu) who has a disliking towards the younger generation and their thoughts. As usual, they have their cat and mouse games to outwit each other. The story takes a turn with the arrival of Shravya (Tapsee), Rao’s close friend’s (Suman) daughter. She wants to make a documentary on the traditional Telugu folklore songs and seeks a music guide. Events lead her to Balu and in no time, love ignites. Meanwhile, Balu and his music group is keen on making their mark at a music contest but then Rao holds the key to their entry. He takes a promise from Balu. What is that promise? Does Balu keep up the promise? Does he fulfill his ambition of becoming a singer? What happens to his love story? All this forms the rest of the story.

Performances:
Manchu Manoj was energetic and gave his hard work and efforts. His imitation of Mohan Babu during few scenes was entertaining. He just has to add more fire to his expressions while enacting the serious scenes. Overall, a good performance.

Tapsee is luscious and has given a complete visual feast. She is not beautiful but is sexy. So, she will fit better as a glam doll. On the performance front, she is alright but having a long innings would be a challenge. 

Mohan Babu is a show stealer. Though there is not much in his character, it is his screen presence, exceptional dialogue delivery and the entertaining voice modulation that scores at many places. He was impressive.

Brahmi was usual, M S was good, Ali was alright, Suman was okay, Sudha was loud, Tanikella was effective, Pragathi was composed, Aishwarya was apt, Ahuti Prasad was hardly there, Raghu Babu was not used to his potential.

Analysis:
The selection of theme looks good at the onset with a young boy picking tunes and notes of music from his surroundings but with each passing scene, the film begins to lose grip. There are few conflicting points which give a big blow to the film.

  • Tapsee comes in as an NRI girl passionate about Telugu tradition but more than half the time, she is shown in skin tight shorts.
  • The marriage song of Manoj’s friend was the right opportunity to show the Telugu tradition but instead, it turns out to be a navel and cleavage show of the heroine and ironically, the bride herself. That was crude.
  • There is no brewing of romance in the right depth between the lead pair but then it becomes a critical point of decision for the hero before the interval.

KRR specializes in giving visual appeal and that’s what he has done here. For a change, instead of using the ‘Jaamakaayalu’ and ‘Batthai Pallu’, he brought in ‘Kobbari Chippalu’ and ‘Gummadi Kaayalu’- and a green mango on the navel instead of mosambi!!!. However, KRR has not been able to give a depth to the content so it looked like a modified version of the 80s cinema.

The film was meant to be a musical and almost all the songs engage the audience with great visual treat, tunes and rendering. Cinematography was rich. Presentation was nice but narrative was not upto the mark. Editing was okay. Costumes and art department made their presence felt. The film will appeal to the hardcore front benchers given the nasty camera angles and the double entendres. So, it would have worked if the makers focused on making it a mass masala entertainer. Overall, it is not a musical as the title suggests nor is it a family entertainer.

Venkat can be reached at venkat@greatandhra.com)

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