'S5: No Exit' hits the cinemas today (December 30). Here is our review of the latest box-office release.
Sai Kumar plays the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. Elections are approaching and he wants to sweep Uttarandhra by conducting a massive political rally. His son Subbu (Nandamuri Tarakaratna) is a consummate political backroom player who will be organizing the public meet in Vizag in a couple of days. The CM asks his son to reach Vizag on a train. There, he arranges a surprise party for his son. The S5 coach of the train from Hyderabad to Vizag is decked up like a pub.
Subbu and his gang are in for a shock when a band of robbers onboard the train that has no exit point. Meanwhile, the train also appears to be haunted by a ghost. Can Subbu save himself?
The plot might make you assume that this is a horror drama with a political element. The fact is that 80% of the film is all about gags involving comedians like Ali, Raghu Karamanchi and Sunil. Tarakaratna and Sai Kumar enter and exit the screen as though they are guests.
There is a cartoonish middle-aged husband who is a young woman's second or third husband, we are told. At one point, the wifey declares that she has a boyfriend. This, in the middle of existential threats faced by the inmates of the damned train bogey. Sunil plays Suleiman Khan, a Dubai returnee who unfortunately lasts too long for our palette. Ali plays the Ticket Collector who believes that the train is not haunted by a ghost but is a setting where a new version of Bigg Boss is unfolding. Every time a character is snuffed out, he thinks that Bigg Boss evicted him or her from the house!
What are such characters even doing in this film, you ask? You get an answer in the pre-climax phase. But the answer will only add to your frustration.
The screenplay makes fatal threats look like a walk in the park for the characters. Much as Ali loves bedroom jokes, it is high time our filmmakers realize that his brand of double entendre has been rendered lifeless by the TV show Jabardasth. People get to watch Hyper Aadi for free on YouTube. There is a reason why they want Ali to be content with 'Alitho Saradaga'.
Prince and Fish Venkat are the only actors who don't behave like they are on steroids. Tarakaratna looks like he has been drugged into silence. The 'Gabbar Singh' Batch and Raghu Karamanchi make the proceedings unnecessarily loud.
The cinematography and VFX are unpalatable. The frames look so shoddy that the film feels like it has been shot in a bedroom with a red LED night lamp. Mani Sharma's BGM is lost in the noise made by a dozen irritating characters.
'S5: No Exit' was supposed to be a horror-thriller with a political plot. But the film is all about a plethora of pedestrian gags that go off the rails.