'Ghani', produced by Allu Bobby on Allu Bobby Company and Sidhu Mudda on Renaissance Pictures, hit the cinemas today (April 8). Let's find out what are its hits and misses.
Ghani (Varun Tej) is the son of a fallen boxer named Vikramaditya. His mother (Nadhiya) wants him to stay away from boxing because of the past baggage. Despite his mother's emotional objections, Ghani takes to boxing. He also develops a rivalry with a spoilt brat named Aadi (Naveen Chandra).
Somewhere, Eshwar Nath (Jagapathi Babu) has a stake in preventing Ghani's rise. Meanwhile, Maya (Saiee Mukherjee) is madly in love with our hero. Then there is Upendra's character in the mix.
The crux of the story is how the male lead redeems himself and his father's fallen image by fighting all odds in the second half. Can he become a boxing champion?
Varun Tej, who didn't have a single theatrical release in 2020 and 2021, shows the verve expected of him. After playing a gangster in 'Gaddalakonda Ganesh', Tej essays an unambiguous character that is typical. He is good in the boxing scenes but the rom-com scenes fail him.
Debutante Saiee Mukherjee doesn't add anything of value although she has a decent screen presence. Upendra delivers the best performance among non-lead actors. Suniel Shetty is consistent. Naveen Chandra's talent didn't get justice in 'BRO' and 'Mosagallu'; 'Ghani' was expected to give a fillip but it barely does it. Jagapathi Babu is routine and can bore you after a point.
Nadhiya as the male lead's mother doesn't evoke emotions. VK Naresh, Sudarshan, Satya (in a cameo), Tanikella Bharani and others are also seen. Tamannaah Bhatia's special song, 'Kodthe', is an avoidable folly.
'Ghani Anthem' lives up to its description. Beyond this song, nothing much can be said about the music. 'Romeo Juliet' is a distraction more than a soothing presence. Thaman weaves impact with his background score, especially in the surges that come off during boxing scenes.
Cinematographer George C Williams, who has mainly done Kollywood movies, adds little power to the action scenes. Otherwise, 'Tholi Prema' (also a Varun Tej-starrer) was way better. Marthand K Venkatesh's editing passes muster.
Debutant director Kiran Korrapati tells a formulaic sports drama. The formula is glaring because it had to be. In a pre-release interview, Varun Tej stated that Kiran didn't come to him with a ready story. He was asked by the actor to write a sports-based script. The consequences of such commissioning can be jaded. Scenes and elements are drawn from existing sports movies to fit into the demands of the actor. Cliched scenes are shoved down the audience's throats. That's what happens with 'Ghani'.
The first half is a non-stop retelling of known scenes/elements. Even some of the dialogues are too familiar. The son is angry with his father, the mother is oh-so-doting, the girlfriend is oh-so-obsessed, so on and so forth.
At some point, 'Ghani' acquires weight. But the same is limited to a flashback involving Upendra. Once it is over, the second half again falls into an abyss of dry cliches.
The climax is somewhat better; the boxing scenes pay off, although the emotions don't always hit home. At 150 minutes, the film is too longish. The heroine is sidelined completely in the second half.
Varun Tej and the action choreography team show immense grit. They have worked very hard. Had the script come to their rescue, 'Ghani' would have been a winner.
'Ghani' is template-driven. If you are looking for an imaginative sports-based film with revenge as an element, you will find this one inadequate.