Guntur Kaaram review: Mahesh Babu charms his way through a cliche-ridden film
Guntur Kaaram (Telugu)(3 / 5)
After over a decade, Mahesh Babu and Trivikram have come together for Guntur Kaaram. The film is set in Guntur, where the protagonist Ramana (Mahesh Babu) owns a chilly yard. He was abandoned by his mother Vasundara (Ramya Krishnan) at a young age, despite which his grandfather (Prakash Raj) wants Ramana to legally acknowledge that they do not have any relationship, and will not inherit their property. In the film, Ramana is like a prince living in exile, who comes to the rescue of his mother and also has the responsibility to fix the dysfunctional family – a common trope in Trivikram’s films of late.
The film has an ensemble star cast of Sreeleela, Meenakshi Chaudhary, Jayaram, Easwari Rao, Vennela Kishore, and others. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Guntur Kaaram rests entirely on the shoulders of Mahesh Babu. He aces the role with his energy, dialogue delivery, and comedy timing. In the boring sad lives of Satyam (Jayaram) and Vasundara, he is like a flaming chilly who brings some excitement and flavour. He is simply outstanding in this fiery role of a man traumatised by his childhood tragedy.
Trivikram’s dialogues are sharp and witty as usual, and it is a delight to see Prakash Raj deliver these lines with his composure. The filmmaker subverts many tropes of the conventional formula Telugu films of having a ‘dreadful villain,’ and further concentrates on his strength to deliver a family drama, and succeeds in it. But while the previous films in Mahesh and Trivikram collaborations have offered something original and different to the audience, Guntur Kaaram is rather underwhelming.
Though the film is entertaining without any overkill, and the family drama strikes the right emotional chords, Guntur Kaaram is essentially an old wine marketed in a new bottle with minor changes.
The film has way too many similarities with Trivikram’s previous blockbuster Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo – including the same trope of a son in exile, the same story of a father and mother’s separation, and the same kind of characters. Actor Rahul Ravindran fills the spot of Sushanth’s character from Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo, including the same character traits such as being useless and ‘soft.’ Interestingly, many artists from Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo including Jayaram, Murali Sharma, and Easwari Rao are seen playing similar roles. It can be said that Trivikram is creating his own world with these characters and giving them different storylines.
Talents such as Jagapathi Babu and Sunil are reduced to caricatures, with the only interesting thing about them being their names – Marx and Lenin – respectively. I was really curious about Trivikram’s choice behind naming them after Communist ideologues. The film also features a fight over Lenin’s statue, which accidentally gets decapitated.
The phenomenal Ramya Krishnan does not have enough role or screen time to exhibit her talent. Sreeleela, who is known for her incredible dancing skills, is well-utilised on that front. But the romance between Mahesh and Sreeleela, who is half his age, is odd and puts off the viewer. Meenakshi Chaudhary barely has any dialogues, and is completely wasted in the film.
Guntur Kaaram could be part of an unofficial trilogy of Trivikram’s films, along with Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo and Atharintiki Daaredi.
Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the producers or any other members of its cast and crew.