'Akhanda' was released today amid high expectations in hundreds of theatres in the Telugu States. In Overseas territories, the film has headed to theatres in 500 locations. What is the film about? Is it worth a watch? Let's find out.
Murali Krishna (Nandamuri Balakrishna) is a widely respected farmer-cum-reformer in Anantapur, Rayalaseema. Varadarajulu (Srikanth) is a ruthless mining baron working under the aegis of the presiding guru of a Peetham. When the villains endanger the lives of a whole village on the pretext of carrying out mining, Murali Krishna threatens them with dire consequences. But it is only Akhanda (Balakrishna, again) who can take on the might of the evil forces.
When it is Boyapati Srinu, Balakrishna knows what to deliver, how to do it and where to make it happen. 'Akhanda' proves that he becomes the 'Simha' of acting for a Boyapati movie. The Nata Simha is fabulous in the intense, gravity-defying action sequences.
Srikanth had to look terrifying besides delivering good acting. He is not perfect since it's a bit difficult to accept him in an out-and-out negative role. Jagapathi Babu, after playing jaded roles in 'Peddanna' and many others, is refreshing as a Sadhu but his screen-time is very limited. Pragya Jaiswal, as an IAS officer who falls for Murali Krishna, is average. Subbaraju is seen in an extended cameo in the first half. Among others, 'Kalakeya' Prabhakar gets a typical cop role. Poorna is good as a righteous bureaucrat.
S Thaman went for Re-Recording with the clear-cut aim of giving the best shot. With ample time at his disposal (due to the pandemic), the talented composer has shown his musical prowess. His BGM is loud here and there but he delivers the mass quotient to an extent. 'Jai Balayya' easily trumps other songs, including the melody 'Adigaa Adigaa'.
The visuals have upped the game in this one, thanks to C Ram Prasad, who is known for movies such as 'Maryada Ramanna', 'Legend', and 'Jai Simha'. AS Prakash's sets are grand.
So much depended on the ability of fight masters Ram, Lakshman and Stun Siva to make the film a visual experience of sorts. Balakrishna redeems a few segments with the stunt masters in tandem. But for Boyapati's visualization of the action blocks, 'Akhanda' would have had no salvation.
M Ratnam's dialogues are impressive in a few scenes, especially where the heroic Aghora has to give monologues. Otherwise, they are run of the mill.
The rom-com track is mediocre. The saving grace is that it's not as silly as the one we saw in 'Vinaya Vidheya Rama', Boyapati's most-hated movie to date. Pragya Jaiswal's characterization leaves much to be desired.
The film fails to keep us invested in the story of good versus evil. It's nowhere near 'Legend' and 'Simha'; it knows nothing called gripping narration. After a point, we give up on the villains, who become monotonous.
Much was expected from Srikanth, but he is not the Numero Uno villain. The metaphysical aspects are the only thing that separates it from usual mass action dramas. If not for the Aghora angle, 'Akhanda' would have been totally routine, totally boring, and totally mindless.
Boyapati's story and screenplay don't offer anything new other than the blending of the Aghora angle with the routine template. 'Akhanda' is a very loud film that goes on and on for 165 minutes.