Review: If not for Pawan Kalyan’s charisma, ‘Katamarayudu’ would be a downer

Besides some bad casting choices, the film also makes some very avoidable errors that dent the movie-watching experience.
Review: If not for Pawan Kalyan’s charisma, ‘Katamarayudu’ would be a downer
Review: If not for Pawan Kalyan’s charisma, ‘Katamarayudu’ would be a downer
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Unlike other recent films starring Pawan Kalyan, Katamarayudu wasn’t shoved down our throats via promotions. This might partly be due to the failure of Pawan’s previous film, Sardaar Gabbar Singh.

The consciously maintained low-profile for the latest movie seems to have worked in its favor. It isn’t like the audiences don’t know what to expect of this movie. This rural actioner is a remake of Veeram, the Tamil movie starring Ajith Kumar and Tamannaah, where Ajith’s salt-and-pepper look was discussed more than the film’s plot.  

What baffles me is producer Sharrath Marar’s audacity. He puts his money on a film that was dubbed and released in the Telugu states. Veeram was commercially successful, but is strictly average fare. Yet, this didn’t stop Sharrat from building his remake on a relatively grand scale (I’m presuming he spent half the money on action scenes, and the other half on Pawan’s salary).  

It’s not only the promotions, even the film is made in a manner that steps away from Pawan’s star status. There are fewer punch dialogues and only a handful of scenes that carry the weight of emotions. This restraint doesn’t extend to action sequences though. There, his mere touch can send an extra flying into the air or out of moving trains.  

Ajay, Siva Balaji, Kamal Kamaraju, and Chaitanya Krishna star as Pawan’s brothers, and the Powerstar’s favorite, Ali, puts on an advocate coat. Ajay has played characters with shades of grey numerous times on-screen. The problem is with the other three actors.

They don’t fit in the movie as people who are ready to fight at the drop of a hat. For instance, the introductory scene has the brothers jumping on henchmen with sacks. Their contorted faces show that they’re not made for this story.

Similarly, Tarun Arora, a Bollywood actor, looks out of place in a film that’s set in Rayalaseema. And it gets worse every time he opens his mouth. It’s hard to see why filmmakers rope in actors who can’t mouth basic lines in a language. Ajay would have done a better job as a baddie.

There are other ways in which attention to detail is lacking. For instance, a tattoo on Shruti Haasan’s shoulder reads, “Shruti,” in Tamil. She got her name tattooed long ago. But when that is seen in a Telugu movie where her character’s name is Avanthi, I get irritated. Things like this can easily put a dent in a movie experience.

With all these glitches, the Gabbar Singh pair, Shruti and Pawan, exude chemistry in scenes where there’s scope for romance. But in songs they come together like green chillies and vanilla, an unusual combination to say the least. Pawan’s twirled moustache, a Rayalaseema template, and Shruti’s urbane looks don’t go hand in hand, especially when you put the two of them in locations rich with snow.

The ever-dependable actor, Rao Ramesh, gets a large piece of the pie by turning into a narcissist. If his cameo had been extended, there would have been more worthy moments of laughter. His is a stock character from the 80s, a comedy-villain.

In the end, there’s only so much of the two-and-a-half-hour film you can take. If not for Pawan’s charisma, Katamarayudu would be a downer. 

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