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'Akhanda' Review: Routine Roars In High Volume

'Akhanda' Review: Routine Roars In High Volume

Movie: Akhanda
Rating: 2.5/5
Dwaraka Creations
Cast: Nandamuri Balakrishna, Pragya Jaiswal, Srikanth, Jagapathi Babu, Poorna, Kalakeya Prabhakar, Subbaraju and others
Dialogues: M Rathnam
Music: Thaman
DoP: C Ram Prasad
Editor: Kotagiri Venkateshwara Rao, Tammiraju
Art: AS Prakash
Producer: Miryala Ravinder Reddy
Story, screenplay, and direction: Boyapati Sreenu
Release Date: Dec 02, 2021

The combination of Nandamuri Balakrishna and director Boyapati Srinu is one of the most successful in the Telugu film industry. They have teamed up for the third time for this high intense action entertainer, Akhanda. Amidst much hype, the film hit theaters today. 

Has the duo delivered a hat-trick of success? Let’s find out.

Muralikrishna (Balakrishna) is a good-natured man in Ananthapuram, who devotes his life to people and does a lot of development work in the region. 

Impressed by his character, the new collector Sarwani (Pragya Jaiswal) falls for him. They get married and are blessed with a girl.

Due to the local mining mafia leader Varadarajulu (Srikanth), Sarwani and Murali Krishna land in a trouble. When Sarwani and her daughter are chased by Varadarajulu’s men, she runs into a cave to hide. She is rescued by a Sadhu named Akhanda (Balakrishna). 

Who is Akhanda? What is the connection with Muralikrishna’s family?

Artistes’ Performances:
Playing multiple roles is a cakewalk for Nandamuri Balakrishna. ‘Akhanda’ also shows two different shades of Balakrishna. He once again comes up with a riveting performance in the role of Akhanda. His getup is terrific. Some of his dialogues are powerful, others sounded routine. The entire second-half runs on Akhanda’s role.

Pragya Jaiswal is an IAS officer, but her character turns regular after a few scenes. She is hardly impressive. 

Srikanth, for the first time in his career, has played the villain’s role convincingly. Jagapathi Babu as a Sadhu leaves his mark. 

The actor who played the main villain is okay. So is Poorna.

Technical Excellence:
M Ratnam has written dialogues that give mixed feelings. In Balakrishna's roaring voice, some sounded powerful. 

C Ram Prasad's camera work is top-notch. Thaman’s songs are not worth talking about, but the background score is a major strength. His high-decibel score has elevated many episodes in the second half. He has designed a special theme for the ‘Akhanda’ character. 

Major part of the film runs only on the action choreography. The fights look similar from beginning to the end. There is ample chance to design the fights in different styles and patterns. But that variety is not shown. 

On the other hand, the dance choreography is impressive and fresh. Some steps in Jai Balayya song are worth to become viral.

Balakrishna as Akhanda
Thaman’s background score

Passable first half
Overdose of mass sequences
Lengthy and tiring action stunts
The logic goes for a toss
Routine climax

After mass entertainers “Simha” and “Legend”, director Boyapati in his third teaming up with Balakrishna has written a story that touches upon issues like illegal mining, protection of the environment, Hindu Dharma, etc. The topics might be new in Boyapati’s film, but the treatment is familiar.

In fact, Boyapati has followed the template of the narrative he has shown in his previous works like “Legend”: the hero in a dual role, a character who does not appear in the first half comes right at the interval point and takes the charge. In ‘Legend’, it was the role of Jaidev, here it is ‘Akhanda’.

What is the other difference between “Legend” and “Akhanda”?

The former has a couple of killer songs like “Nee Kanti Choopulonaa” and “Legend He’s Legend”, an engaging romantic track with two heroines and a menacing villain played by Jagapathi Babu. The latest “Akhanda” lacks all these elements. 

There is a dialogue in the film: Once I decide on something, I meander like a bulldozer truck. True to the dialogue, director Boyapati Sreenu’s narrative goes on a rampage of one action scene after the other in the second half. The fights are lengthy and in a similar manner throughout. The pre-interval fight has a length of about 17 minutes.

Despite Balakrishna’s earnest and sincere effort to play an aging Sadhu, the film doesn’t escape the routine.

While Balakrishna tries playing to the gallery and appealing to his fans, the film is mostly unimaginative. The first character of Balayya doesn’t appear in the entire second half, except for a climax sequence

We never expect to see the logic in Boyapati’s movies. However, when we see the female protagonist as a collector, we expect her character to reflect some reality. What Pragya does as a collector is silly and unrealistic. Same goes for an NIA investigative officer.

In one of the fight sequences, Akhanda completes yagnam sitting calmly even with three axes stabbed in his back.

A few scenes, however, are exceptionally executed. Example: Akhanda – Poorna track, and Balakrishna explaining the true meaning of non-violence in Hinduism.

The film could have been gripping had the villain been strong. The face-off sequences between Balakrishna and Srikanth are tepid. Srikanth doesn’t have the menacing quality required for a villain. Nor is the main villain strong enough.

All in all, “Akhanda” is an out-and-out mass movie, which is embellished with some interesting moments here and there, but is largely formulaic and template of Boyapati’s movies. Dialogues and Balakrishna’s getup as Akhanda give goosebumps to his fans, but the lengthy fights, lack of entertaining moments, and disappointing climax make it a routine mass drama.  

Bottomline: Only for Balayya fanatics


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