Banner: Touring Talkies
Cast: Akash Puri, Neha Shetty, Shayaji Shinde, Vishnu Reddy, Murali Sharma and others
Music: Sandeep Chowta
Cinematography: Vishnu Sharma
Action: Real Satish
Producer: Puri Connects
Written and directed by: Puri Jagannadh
Release date: May 11, 2018
Although Puri Jagannadh’s recent movies bombed miserably, his latest film 'Mehbooba' succeeded raising expectations as it is the debut movie of his son Akash Puri as lead hero. The theatrical trailer was also stunning.
So, has Puri bounced back with this movie?
A Pakistani girl Afreen (Neha Shetty) comes to Hyderabad on a student exchange program to study engineering. When some Romeos tease her on the road, Roshan (Akash Puri) saves her from them but neither of them see each other’s face. Yet, they feel a connection between them.
After a few months, Afreen is called to her home and she takes a train to Delhi to reach Lahore and Roshan boards the same train to Delhi to go to Himalayas for trekking.
In Delhi, she realizes that he’s the boy who saved her and she’s the girl who he wanted to see. While trekking in the Himalayas, he happens to find a frozen dead body with resemblance to Afreen and starts reading the dairy he finds near this body.
We move to the flashback: 1971 Indo-Pak War. Who is she, what is the connection he has with her is the rest of the movie.
Akash Puri has been acting from a long time as a child actor. Very recently, he played teenage hero in “Andhra Pori”, but this is his debut as a lead actor. His acting is quite natural and this is a confident debut. He has so much ease in performing complex scenes too. In his debut hero role, he shines.
Neha Shetty is beautiful, but most of the time she weeps or looks like a damsel in distress. Among other characters, Murali Sharma is convincing. All other actors indulge in hyper acting.
The film is lavishly shot and filmed with rich production values. Since some part of the movie is set in Indo-Pak war of 1971, graphics are used for war sequences. It is mostly shot in Himachal Pradesh. The visual effects are good, cinematography is first rate.
For the first time, Puri has given more importance to visual beauty. Artwork is decent. Music by Sandeep Chowta is plain ordinary.
Visuals and backdrop of the story
No engaging episodes
Puri Jagannadh who has delivered some of the biggest hits in Tollywood like “Pokiri” seems to have invested money and his creative energy in full force to launch his son as hero. However, he has picked up age-old reincarnation theme to introduce his son.
The story of a boy and girl getting a rebirth to unite as lovers is seen in many films from “Mooga Manasulu” to “Magadheera”.
The difference here is both boy and girl are born to different countries and religions from their previous births. The Indo-Pak war is another new angle.
Like the clichéd old-story, Puri Jagannadh’s narration too is formulaic and monotonous. From the first frame to the end, there is not a single scene that provides a laugh or two. In the so-called love story, there is not a single worthy love scene.
The film begins like Ram Charan and Kajal trying to reunite in this birth and remembering the episodes in the previous birth. The first half entirely dwells on this. But unlike ‘Magadheera’, here both Akash and Neha Shetty don’t sing songs or entertain us with their romantic sequences.
The entire Pakistan episode is outlandishly boring. The final sequence seems straight out of old Balakrishna’s movies like ‘Vijayendra Varma’ or ‘Parama Veera Chakra’.
Director Puri holds interest till the interval despite lack of good romantic part. But he resorts to jingoism and awkwardly clichéd scenes in the later portions testing patience.
What the film achieves is that Akash Puri is star-material, he has that quality to become good lead hero. He has intensity in his eyes and good screen presence too.
If Puri’s intention was to prove that his son can become good hero, then he has achieved it. But for audiences, the movie makes a tedious watch as neither the love episodes (twice in two births) nor the war sequences interest us. The patriotic dialogues sound fake. They don’t rouse goosebumps.
In “Magadheera”, Rajamouli has used lavish graphics and visuals to tell an age-old love story. The love story was very engaging; the music was catchy.
Except for the title song, all the songs are lousy here. Though Puri too has gone for lavish visuals and visual effects, it doesn’t leave us with awe feeling.
Overall, “Mehbooba” doesn’t interest at all, all the exercise seems futile in the end. Akash Puri is the only saving grace in the otherwise dull and bland movie.
Bottom-line: Reincarnation Rehashed