Duvvada Jagannadam (DJ) is a 2017 Telugu action comedy film written and directed by Harish Shankar and stars Allu Arjun, Pooja Hegde, Rao Ramesh, Tanikella Bharani, Murali Sharma and Vennela Kishore.
I have been a constant thorn in the side of Telugu movie fans. I’ve been accused of not knowing what makes a good movie or not watching a movie like a movie or not understand the intricacies of films made for the “fans” and so on and so forth. This time, I take it upon myself. I am the reason this film irredeemably sucks. I am at fault here. I’ll explain why with a laundry list of reasons.
I am at fault for expecting a “commercial” entertainer to have a decent plot.
I am at fault because I expect non-lazy writing where “writers” use deft techniques to convey social messages rather than saying “Kill anyone who disrespects our women” in one scene whilst objectifying the female lead in the next with a very distinct, not to mention rape-y, male gaze.
I am at fault for expecting an actor of the caliber of Allu Arjun, who wowed me with excellent acting performances in Vedam and Arya-2, to take up consistently path-breaking roles.
I’m at fault for expecting that filmmakers respect their audience enough to give them good content they can sink their teeth into instead of churning out supposed crowd-pleasing, homogenised trite which neither helps nor hurts the “fans” but only leaves them in a state of eternal bliss knowing that their hero is being portrayed as an ass-kicker and not much else.
I am at fault for expecting evenly matched good and bad guys because who cares about storytelling when your “hero” defeats everyone put in front of him with the greatest of ease. Our hero is awesome and our kids need to be reminded of it every waking second, lest they forget. Who needs to overcome obstacles right? Life has no such things.
Hey now, why do we need to write any character for our females? We said we respect them in the first sequence. Now let’s get some dancing in for those very necessary songs we spent half our budget on. Well, they did spend half their budget on those songs, I’m such a dick for expecting them to use that on good storytelling or inventive direction. What do I know?
I’m a total ass because I feel this film could be wrapped on a film reel the size of a thimble. The very necessary subplots with our lead’s friends and his “extremely catchy” one-liners and those totally hilarious moments when poor mental health is made fun of required a 2 and half hour runtime.
I need to be booted out of every movie theater because I understand cinema is a visual medium. There’s no place for me in a world where filmmakers feel that the audience needs to be spoon fed every little beat.
Don’t forget, I’m also at fault for expecting a vigilante character to have the basic sensibility of wearing gloves when going in to perform a task which is outside the purview of lawful conduct.
I’m at fault for wanting sense.
I’m at fault for wanting the filmmakers to use the potential and resources afforded to them by making a good movie with some genuinely talented people.
I’m a fault because I refuse to drop my standards.
I’m at fault because I want my movies to entertain me.
I’m at fault for wanting to spread the word that my fellow fans of cinema are being bait-and-switched with boisterous noise instead of clever thought-provoking cinema.
I’m wrong for believing that the current state of malaise that mainstream Telugu cinema is in will change.
I’m at fault because I care so fucking much.
Just… Try a smidge harder you guys. I’ve watched under 10 Telugu movies since July 2016 because I know what I get with them. (I did find a handful of good films, Pelli Choopulu and Baahubali 2 come to mind)
Prove me wrong. I would like nothing more than to be proven wrong.