Venky Mama, as the title suggests, is an overdose of bromance between an uncle, Venkatarathnam (Venkatesh), and his real-life nephew Karthik (Naga Chaitanya). Then there is Rashi Khanna, who plays Karthik’s love interest, and Payal Rajput, who plays Venkatarathnam’s love interest.
The female protagonists play their roles well, which is to be eye-candy. Rashi Khanna bears the added responsibility of showcasing the stylist’s taste in clothes. She does that well too. The two actors don’t really have much else to do than admire the uncle-nephew bromance. I particularly sympathise with Rashi Khanna, for she doesn’t even get as many frames as Payal, the latter playing a Hindi teacher who speaks half Telugu and half Hindi (because her mom is Bengali – the best backstory since Sivagami’s in Baahubali). Payal is forever decked up, make-up, crisp sarees and sleeveless blouses being part of her costume styling – the burden any female protagonist carries to be eye-candy, irrespective of her role, irrespective of the movie context is phenomenal.
Moving on, the pivotal Lays airy crunch moment of the movie is the astrological hump – Karthik’s proximity means fatal danger to his uncle, which is proven through a series of accidents. I will buy that, sure. But just when I am convinced there is such a thing as destiny, I have to deal with Pakistani terrorists and an Uri-style operation led by Karthik, who for some reason thinks it is more heroic to fall into the enemy’s hands than to try running back to the chopper, showcasing our filmmakers’ rather amateurish idea of heroism.
Naga Chaitanya’s Karthik is weird, and walking into the trap of a local politician, a trap you can see from a country mile, proves he cannot be a para commando, leave alone lead an operation. But wait, I forgot about the stars. Yes, they are right and Karthik brings back mortal danger to his uncle, who dies and then comes back – because love defeats everything. Even the stars, that we never really bought into in the first place.
Venkatesh does whatever he does the same way he always does it. There are hyper-stunts and Hyper Aadi comedy in the pretty village of Draksharamam. There is the same misrepresentation of what happens in an engineering college – some college in Vizag is ready to give this man a London posting (no one wants to go to London, bro, with all the Brexit mess, but general knowledge doesn’t seem to be the strong point of our makers anyway).
There are a couple of songs, paeans of the love between uncle and nephew – because it was too subtle for us to spot. There are some innuendos, some funny, some, well, we will just leave them as footnotes. People who can think aren’t really the target audience for such jokes.
All in all, Venky Mama is a crowd-pleaser. What they call a mass entertainer. Two songs. Two comedians. Two “double-meaning” scenes, one wasted brilliant actor (Prakash Raj), one adored-as-god village head and a silly looking interview panel. Not really boring.
Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.