Review: 'Janatha Garage' is a film under serious repair and no mechanic can fix it

The film is directed like a melodramatic mega serial.
Review: 'Janatha Garage' is a film under serious repair and no mechanic can fix it
Review: 'Janatha Garage' is a film under serious repair and no mechanic can fix it
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In this loud action film that masquerades as a “green” crusade, Junior NTR plays Anand, a student activist, who goes about lecturing people not to burst crackers for Deepavali because it causes noise pollution. He rides a Royal Enfield bike, by the way.

But then, it’s sufficient for his commitment to stay at that surface level because the film has very little to do with environmental concerns. Anand could have been outraging about Pluto losing its planet status or his favourite colour missing from a roll of Poppins and it would have barely impacted the script.

“Janatha Garage” is about a mechanic, Satyam (Mohanlal), who becomes the people’s “don” after he intervenes in a gangrape case and provides good old mob justice to the influential people who were behind the crime. Overnight, the garage turns into a court where people lodge their complaints and justice is delivered by Satyam and his men. So much so that the Chief Minister of the state has to check with Satyam before he clears projects. Don’t ask how he rose so quickly and became so powerful or where he gets the money to run his gang – the film is in no mood to engage with such staid questions.

In breathless pace, we’re told how and why Anand, Satyam’s nephew, is separated from him as a child and taken to another city. He’s to grow up without ever knowing anything about Janatha Garage or his uncle. But well, it was destiny for them to meet again.

It’s painful to watch Mohanlal in this meaningless film. He looks uneasy mouthing the ridiculous punch dialogues and looking surprised by the most obvious twists in the plot. It’s sad to see an actor like him parked in this remarkably unintelligent script.

Junior NTR kicks around, fighting “bethavolu” – powerful politicians and business tycoons – though he’s only a student. In one scene, he introduces himself to one of the antagonists (Unni Mukundan) as “Anand, Environmental Research”, before proceeding to beat up all the goons assembled there. The line could easily win the prize for this year’s best unintentional comedy.

In another scene, he advises a couple not to come home late, drunk after a party, because it pains Satyam to see them that way. He says “at least the woman” has to be “normal” when she comes home. “NO MORE PARTIES!” he screams, when the couple objects to his words. A few minutes after this, Junior NTR and his boys are dancing with a scantily clad Kajal Agarwal in an item number. Director Koratala Siva has perhaps never heard the word ‘irony’ in his life.

Anand has two pretty ladies romancing him. One is Bujji (Samantha), his first cousin, with whom he’s grown up in the same house and wants to marry. Clearly, people from ‘environmental research’ never attend classes on genetic science. The other is played by a spirited Nithya Menen who is really the saving grace of the film. She sparkles in the few precious scenes in which she appears, lifting the film a little before being edged out again by the mayhem that the rest of the story is determined to be.

This is no mean accomplishment considering how little the women in the movie have to do. Other than weeping and looking shocked every two seconds, the female actors in “Janatha Garage” barely speak. In fact, when Bujji’s father (Suresh) asks Anand to break up with her, the two men discuss the issue and arrive at the conclusion with Bujji standing right there, uninvolved in the process, and acting as if she’s a cute Pomeranian whose fate they are debating at the pet store.

“Janatha Garage” is directed like a melodramatic mega serial. Every few minutes, the camera zooms to the “reactions” of people in the background so we know exactly how we’re supposed to feel at that moment. Someone drops a spoon? Let’s all look awed! The sloppy editing doesn’t make things any better. For instance, the Kajal Agarwal item song ends and immediately, we’re shown scenes from a bomb blast. The background music is unbearably loud and is almost comical for a film with a hero who complains about noise pollution.

 This is a film that’s under serious repair and no god-level mechanic can fix it. It deserves to be junked in the scrapyard.

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