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Ustaad Review: Amateur Effort

Ustaad Review: Amateur Effort

Movie: Ustaad
Rating: 2/5
Varahi Chalana Chitram
Cast: Sri Simha Koduri, Kavya Kalyanram, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Anu Hasan, Ravindra Vijay, Venkatesh Maha, Ravi Siva Teja, Sai Kiran Yedida and others
Music: Akeeva B
Cinematography: Pavan Kumar Pappula
Editor: Carthic Cuts
Producers: Rajani Korrapati - Rakesh Reddy Gaddam - Himank Reddy Duvvuru
Writer and Director: Phanideep
Release Date: Aug 12, 2023

"Ustaad" is the latest film featuring Sri Simha Koduri, the son of MM Keeravani. In an eleventh-hour effort to promote the film, director SS Rajamouli and Nani engaged in promotional activities. 

Now, let's delve into its strengths and weaknesses.

The story is set in United Andhra Pradesh a decade ago. Surya (Sri Simha Koduri) is a pilot who grew up in a small town near Hyderabad. On his first day in the cockpit, he runs into the pilot (Gautam Vasudev Menon) who will be retiring that day.

They start talking, and Surya tells him about how his life was altered by his motorcycle, Ustaad, how he came to be in love with Meghana (Kavya Kalyan Ram), and how his mother instilled in him the confidence to succeed in life.

The film runs for over two hours and tells the story of his struggles in love as well as the true motivations that led him to become a pilot.

Artistes’ Performances:
Sri Simha Koduri comes across as sincere, and he does a neat job of playing an impulsive young man. ‘Balagam' fame Kavya Kalyan Ram's performance in a relatively simple role is good. There are some good scenes for Anu Haasan, who plays the hero's mother, and she delivers.

As a fascinating mechanic, Ravindra Vijay holds his own. Ravi Siva Teja as the hero's pal provides some comedic relief.

Technical Excellence:
The film seems to have made on a low budget. The technical and production qualities are just barely adequate. The music goes unnoticed.

Couple of sequences in the final hour
Kavya Kalyan Ram - Sri Simha’s  scenes

Boring first half
Amateur writing
Slow-paced narrative
No gripping moments

Moment-driven stories like 'Ustaad' require a compelling narrative to maintain the audience's interest. Filmmakers such as Gautham Menon and Sandeep Vanga have employed this technique to create timeless works.

Director Phanideep, seemingly inspired by these directors, has penned a script about an impulsive young man and attempted to chronicle his journey, but he lacks the verve to do so.

On paper, the concept of a motorcycle transforming a man's life and propelling him to become a pilot is thrilling. However, the director has struggled to convey it in an engaging manner.

The story unfolds in a small town near Hyderabad before the state was divided, an era devoid of smartphones. As a result, we witness the hero and heroine conversing on the porch and engaging in simple yet charming romantic sequences.

A significant subplot involves a drunken mechanic, an expert in bikes, who mentors the hero on trusting machines. He posits that machines remain faithful whereas humans deceive. However, this extended thread becomes tiresome after a certain point and would have benefited from brevity.

It's only after the interval that the film starts to find its footing, offering moments of enjoyment. The final half-hour, in particular, surpasses the preceding drama.

The decision to depict the protagonist as a pilot adds a positive dimension to the film. Thus, we partake in the Youngman's inaugural piloting experience. Additionally, two sequences involving the hero and his mother leave a lasting impression.

While the intentions are commendable and the efforts sincere, the narrative fails to grip. Overall, 'Ustaad' doesn't deliver an engaging experience, despite sporadic moments of brilliance.

Bottom line: No Grip


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