Nutshell Ramble

Megastar Chiranjeevi makes his much-awaited comeback with a film which lost the audience in the cinema hall within the first hour.

OVERALL SCORE – 2/5

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Full Ramble

Khaidi No. 150 is a 2017 Telugu action drama film directed by V.V. Vinayak, written by Parachuri Brothers and V.V. Vinayak based on the film Kaththi by A.R. Murugadoss and stars Chiranjeevi, Kajal Agarwal, Ali, Brahmanandam and Tarun Arora. The film tells the story of a career criminal who finds himself in the midst of a social movement after his escape from prison.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have not watched the original Tamil film and I am a fan of Chiranjeevi’s earlier work as well.

In the simplest of terms, Khaidi No. 150 is a plodding film whose reach far exceeds its grasp. Most audience members are bound to go into the film with Chiranjeevi and V.V. Vinayak’s previous outing, Tagore, in mind. That was quite the entertaining affair with a social message which resonated amongst all classes of the audience. This film does not match the aforementioned one in almost any aspect. There is a distinct lack of attempt made to tell a coherent story as the film falls into providing fan service. The issue with doing that is Chiranjeevi’s previous blockbusters always focused on telling a story first and the fans connected to whatever they wanted to. The distinct lack of noise in the cinema hall after the first shot of the Megastar notwithstanding is proof that the film did not get the fan service right.

The best parts of the film are the man himself, Chiranjeevi and the main theme the film is trying to get across to the audience. There a handful of clever moments and ideas expressed in the film but they are drowned out by a lot of unnecessary subplots and undercooked characters. Chiranjeevi remains fun to watch on screen. His mannerisms, dialogue delivery, diction, inflections all add to making him a compelling lead actor. The comedic actors play their parts quite well and are worthy of a lot of chuckles and a few loud laughs. The main point the film is trying to get across is quite the novel one. It is something the public at large needs to think about and work towards bettering. For that, the film gets my respect.

On the flip side, the film suffers a lot from being just mediocre. Mediocre scenes, mediocre dialogue, mediocre characters, mediocre emotions, mediocre songs, mediocrity reigns supreme. I can empathize with the film for going this route. The film was the Megastar’s comeback after 9 long years. The film had to appeal to all audience while also being a social message, in itself. But as it goes for being a 4-quadrant film, it loses an identity of its own. It falls into the category of films which the public will effortlessly dismiss after a few months of time.

The film does all the Telugu action film tropes to a tee as well. The ridiculous fight sequences, the extremely underwritten female lead (she does not even have 20 lines throughout the film, its a bloody disgrace), the unconvincing villain, the unnecessary subplots in an attempt to create humor, the near useless henchmen and so forth. All this add to the film losing a lot as it translates from the silver screen to a viewer’s eye. The fact this film or most films don’t understand how the corporate world works or how the construction industry works just helps the film in losing believability as time progresses. Conveniences are always going to be taken while one tells a story on screen but those conveniences need not be gaping plot holes.

There are a lot more specifics I can go into if I put my mind to it but as a long time Telugu film viewer, I knew what I was getting into when I walked into the cinema hall. I wanted to be entertained and that was the bottom line. The cold fact was that I just wasn’t entertained and the packed house who watched the film with me fell to a silent hush as the end credits rolled. The viewing experience counts for a lot when one watches a “mass” film and this one fails the audience it targets left and right.

OVERALL SCORE – 2/5

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