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'Masala' Review: This Masala lacks spice!

'Masala' Review: This Masala lacks spice!

Movies: Masala
Rating: 2.75/5
Banner:
Suresh Productions, Sravanthi Movies
Cast: Venkatesh, Ram, Anjali, Sazaan, Ali, MS Narayana, Jayaprakash Reddy, Kovai Sarala, Posani Krishna Murali and others
Dialogues: Anil Ravipudi
Music: Thaman
Cinematographer: Andrew
Producers: D Suresh Babu, Ravi Koshore
Direction: K Vijaya Bhaskar
Release Date: 14/11/2013

Couple of big names and a story full of mindless comic capers – viola, you have a quintessential Rohit Shetty film. Bol Bachchan made by Rohit Shetty was a comedy entertainer starring Abhishek Bachchan and Ajay Devgn in the lead that was released some time back. The film created ripples in Bollywood and it was not long before our film-makers decided to remake it in Telugu. ‘Leave your brain in an almarah and enjoy my film’ – insists Rohit Shetty. Well, all his films have been such brainless comedies. And the Telugu remake is no different. Starring Venkatesh and Ram in the lead, it has been directed by Vijayabhaskar. It goes without saying that you have to leave your brain behind before watching it. Else, it becomes tedious to enjoy the film!

Story:
Rahman (Ram) loses his job and his ancestral property in a court case and lands in Bheemarajupalem with his elder sister Sania (Anjali). Here he manages to get a job at the local landlord Balram’s (Venkatesh) house. However, prior to meeting Balram, Rahman becomes instrumental in opening the temple doors that have been locked for a long time following a village feud. Due to strange turn of events, Rahman’s friend (Ali) introduces him as Ram to Balram. From here on, Ram ends up telling lie after lie to keep his job with Balram. But Balram hates liars and the rest of the film shows for how long they manage to keep Balram from knowing the truth.

Artistes’ performances:
Venkatesh has put in one of his best performances in recent times. Venkatesh’s comic timing was proven in films such as Nuvuu Naku Nacchav and Malleswari. While he put in a subtle performance and evoked laughter in the earlier films, he has tried his hand at loud comedy in Masala. Though he goes overboard at times, he manages to make the audience laugh with his butler English. The character of a tough taskmaster who makes the audience laugh has suited Venkatesh perfectly. In fact, even in terms of his looks, Masala is surely the best of his recent films.

Ram on the other hand, remains passive during the first half, but he gears up in the second half and gets into the comic mode. He pulls off the gay act with conviction. Where many actors his age would have worried about playing his part, Ram does total justice to it.

Anjali plays the love interest of Venkatesh. Unfortunately, she seems to have lost her charm and looks quite mature. The innocence and softness that make her so endearing in her Tamil films is totally missing here. As for the ‘Orange’ girl Shazhn Padamsee, she looks too thin and lacks screen presence. Also she could not pull off her part well.

The comedy track of Kovai Sarala and Jayprakash Reddy will be liked by the mass audience. Ali and MS Narayana are good at situational comedy. One actor who is wasted is Posani Krishna Murali. His character is not fleshed out appropriately and there is not much villainy here.

Technical Team:
A few dialogues written for Venkatesh will make you laugh. Otherwise, most of the dialogues have been directly translated from the Hindi version.

Thaman disappoints on the music front. The songs actually help as much-needed breaks in the film. The background score is too loud at places. In fact, there are times you miss out on the dialogues due to the loud music in the background. 

Since the makers have remade the film as it is, it is patchy and the editing is jerky.

There is nothing much to write home about cinematography, though the songs have been well shot.

Ram Lakshman have used the same stunts used in the Hindi original. It is common for a Rohit Shetty film to have men and sumos flying in the air during fight sequences. It is no different in Masala.

Director Vijayabhaskar who made good comedies when he was assisting Trivikram, hasn’t attempted to change anything in the film. He has copied it frame by frame. So, one is left wondering why the film needed a director if it was all about rehashing it beginning to end.

Highlights:

  • Venkatesh’s English comedy
  • Venkatesh, Ram combination
  • Some situational comedy scenes

Drawbacks:

  • Music
  • Screenplay
  • Climax

Analysis:
The whole film is themed around mass confusion and the comedy that entails it. It is not the first time that such a film has been made. Many such movies have been made in the past where the hero’s identity is kept a secret from the boss and how it leads to comic incidents. But two big heroes have never come together for such a film. And that is what works in the favour of Masala. The combination of Venkatesh and Ram will surely make it special and draw audiences.

However, one has to be warned that the director totally fails in making use of this amazing combination. Apart from remaking it shot to shot, Vijayabhaskar hasn’t made any effort to develop the characters any further. Though it did become a hit, Bol Bachchan is surely not a perfect film.

So, it is disappointing to watch Masala which has all the loopholes that the Hindi version had. For example, the sequences following the scene where Ajay Devgn knows the truth are completely nonsensical in the original. The director makes no attempt to better them.

Barring songs, the film is an out and out Xerox copy of the original. One wonders how Vijayabhaskar is justified in taking credit for screenplay. However, if one hasn’t watched the original, there are chances that one might enjoy this confusion comedy. All scenes with the ‘mother’ have worked out well. Venkatesh and Jayprakash Reddy’s reactions keep you enticed.

But the love track between Anjali and Venkatesh is left under developed just like in the original.

The quality of comedy that the Telugu audience is used to is usually high. In fact, there have been times when the remake versions haven’t managed to recreate the kind of scenes that our directors could. And it is no exaggeration if we say that the quality of comedy in our films is definitely much higher when compared with other regional cinema. But Vijayabhaskar does not make use of this strength. Instead, he sticks to the original version and we are served some bad and stale comedy.

Those looking for some laughs, will like Masala. For those looking for high quality comedy, Venkatesh satiates their desire with his performance. Though it’s an average film, one has to wait and watch how the audience will like it!

Bottomline: A Xerox copy of the original

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

Click here for Telugu review

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