WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE
For the length of this little essay, please forget how morbid child murder actually is and try to see the hilarity of what unfolds during this awesome 7-minute sequence. Indra is a Telugu film. Not just any Telugu film, the most spectacularly over the top awesome film ever made in the Telugu industry. Anyone who knows Telugu films knows that, that statement is saying something. This film started off a trend of tropes, characters and story beats which have stayed in Telugu films to this day. This is a bad film guys. But it is one of those films which is so bad and is so unaware of its horribleness that it is glorious to watch. It also amazes me when I see such a huge contingent of people who believe this film is flawless. To each his own I presume and do not indulge myself in pointing out flaws in the film. The truth is, these flaws and total unawareness of how regular people react is what makes this movie so special to me.
Alright the film begins with a long history of our lead character’s family. Fast forward through all the family feuds and faction-ism, we end up with every male member or our lead character’s family dead. The grand mother of our main character is distraught and asking the men of her clan to take over the role of leader. No man answers the call. When all hope seems lost a 8-year-old screams out saying he is ready to assume the role of a leader. Any regular grandmother would have spanked him and kicked him out altogether. Not this grandma. She picks up a sword and throws it at the 8 year old. The boy catches the sword by its blade. How does his hand not get torn apart you ask. Fuck you for asking that.
Our boy who grows up to be the most bad-ass man ever, even looking at him will put hair around your genitals, walks up with the sword and takes his chair. There are blue bolts of electricity (?) going up the chair and the sword and this leads to the title of the film. If this is not the greatest title sequence of a film I don’t want to know of any other. This gets my blood boiling and would jack me up more that doing meth.
A whole bunch of delicious Telugu film bullshit happens throughout the first half of the film. It includes Chiranjeevi (Indrasena Reddy) winning a singing competition for his niece by singing in her stead, him taking a long beating and still managing to deliver a punchline after it, Sonali Bendre falls in love with him because…. fuck you that’s why, Chiranjeevi is just morally better than anyone, Sonali Bendre is shot in a way where she is just eye candy, that iconic sitar step, all that and so much more await in the hour and a half long first half of the film. Then comes a shocking twist just as the intermission card comes into picture.
Now we don’t know what to believe. We have been so well spoon fed that Chiranjeevi is the greatest man who ever lived but now Oh My God! We are now taken on a journey. A journey 14 years ago. The story of a man who 14 years later will hit on and get with a girl who is 18 when he is 35. What a stone cold DOG!
Now we see that back in the day Chiranjeevi was, as you may have guessed, the greatest man ever. He is a man for the people. He may kill the odd 20 to 25 guys but he is still great. If you say otherwise, that 8-year-old version of him will stab you with his sword of electricity. So we are treated to him killing folk on one side but still being morally awesome on the other. He gets another girl to be his eye candy for this part of the story, but you knew this would happen too. The amount of testosterone in his mustache is higher than that of Sam Elliot’s mustache and that’s a fact.
Being the greatest man ever, he saves the son of his enemy guy. The enemy guy cannot handle this. The enemy guy talks a huge game and in an ultimate moment of defiance, kills his son by stabbing him with a sword. If that is not the most awesome bad guy ever, just kill me now. I don’t want to know anything else. The two-headed servant guy of the evil guy takes the corpse to Chiranjeevi’s place. Chiranjeevi is not having any of this. He will smash cut to taking the corpse back to the bad guy’s place. Who no one thought of using a telephone I will never know. And now, fuck me for asking questions.
So Chiranjeevi is in all his glory here. He is trying to sell this scene with all his heart. I am not sure he realizes how ridiculous this shit is. This man is one of the icons of Telugu cinema and he is reduced to this. This man was in a film which was India’s official entry to the Oscars at a point in time. But now he has no time for that nuanced bullshit. He needs to kick ass and take names here.
He verbally castrates his opposite number. He talks about female feelings. He just is better than you and your dad combined. After he is done showing the dicks of all 5 of the bad guys combined aren’t has long as his, he has a plan. He says he will keep the dead boy’s memory alive. He turns to his men who are still in awe as to how the man who was carrying a blood soaked boy has no blood on his shirt. He instructs his people to get on with it. The men dig a grave at the walkway of the bad guy’s home. Then Chiranjeevi takes the dead boy and places him in the grave. The grave is then filled with mud, sand or whatever. Right after this, he constructs a “holy” place for a plant of basil.
He tells the mother of the boy, that watching the plant grow must remind her of her child growing. Move over John Travolta from Face/Off, this is how you supplement children. Not child for child, its plant for child. He warns the 5 bad guy brothers that they are to worship the plant and nothing less will do. After this moment of awesomeness our lead man gets ready to leave.You might be wondering where the punch line is. Don’t worry, the film has you covered.
As he walks away, the main bad guy brother comes close to pulling the stalk of basil out. In a moment if sheer cinematic genius, Chiranjeevi stops him in his tracks without even looking back at him. The thunderous background score at this moment is honestly one of my favorites. He turns his head back with an intense camera move to boot. He delivers a kick ass punch line and the bad guy does a horribly stupid angry reaction. Then the great man walks away with his posse because the plant has been granted immortality and invincibility.
If anyone thinks this scenes is great or so horrible its awesome, you are my best friend. If you think it’s just middling nonsense, friendship over forever. This is complete Telugu movie tosh and it is glorious.
One only need look under this line for the scene!!