'Gandeevadhari Arjuna', produced by BVSN Prasad, was released in theatres today (August 25). In this section, we are going to review the latest BO release.
The story is set in London. Arjun Varma (Varun Tej) has been tasked with protecting Adityaraj Bahadur (Nassar), India's Environment and Climate Change Minister. Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in the UK, the Union Minister faces a threat to his life from an evil corporate leader named Ranveer (Vinay Rai), whose MNC has caused immense harm to the environment and health across the world. The crux of the story is about how Arjun Varma saves Bahadur while also preventing a piece of grave audio-visual evidence from falling into evil hands.
Varun Tej delivers a dignified performance in a role that doesn't expect him to slog hard or dramatize his feelings. The actor looks more confident than he was in 'Ghani'. However, the impact he leaves is muted. He hardly gets to speak through the course of the movie. That's why his physicality in the action scenes had to do all the talking. But the ordinary staging of the action drags his performance down a bit.
Sakshi Vaidya, who made a debut in Telugu with the recent 'Agent', hasn't been deployed for forced glamour. As Aira, the Minister's personal assistant and Arjun Varma's estranged lover, she is watchable. Nassar gives a studied portrayal. Only he could have made the overly simplistic UN address bearable.
Vinay Rai (to be seen as a super-villain in the pan-India film 'Hanu-Man') is routine. Vimala Raman (as the Minister's estranged daughter), Ravi Varma (as the antagonist's hired gun) and Roshni Prakash (as the environmental studies student) don't make any impact. Abhinav Gomatam is limited to a scene, while Baby Veda is seen as the Minister's cute grandkid.
The cinematography by Mukesh G is remarkable. The visuals are breathtaking in a lot of portions. If this movie has to be rated purely on the basis of its visual splendour, it would be a 3.5-star outing. Editor Dharmendra Kakarala doesn't get to make any innovations, though.
Music director Mickey J Meyer's background score is not novel but pleasant nevertheless. In conjunction with the excellent sound design, his score adds a splendid aesthetic to the film. Art Director Shiva Kamesh D and Production Designer Avinash Kolla do a commendable job, again.
Action Choreographers Lazlo (Hungary), Vijay, Venkat, and Juji (UK) should have been put to a much better use. This level of action would have been good in the days when Adivi Sesh started out reinventing himself with 'Kshanam' in 2016. In today's times, the action is not spell-binding at all.
Written and directed by Praveen Sattaru (with additional screenplay and dialogues penned by Abhijeeth Poondla), 'Gandeevadhari Arjuna' is a mish-mash of Hollywood-type visuals and Tollywood-type narration. This might sound unpopular to say just a day after Telugu cinema amassed 11 National Awards. But it is what it is. Our films are notorious for dumbing down complex issues.
In the film under review, Sattaru opts for a rare and commendable backdrop. How do you save the planet, especially developing countries like India, from the evil corporate conspiracy of dumping waste in landfills? This film makes us believe that Western countries just need to be shown some medical and documentary evidence about the deleterious effects of dumping. Hundreds of documentaries have failed to change the hearts of the developed world in real life.
The climax is interspersed with an emotional address and action. While the former works because of the performer, the latter lacks force and energy. Looking at the kind of action choreography and the lack of urgency on display, you won't believe that you are watching the climax.
The interval bang is where you lose all hope in the story. The strategy used by the antagonist is formulaic. We have seen such scenes hundreds of times before.
The titular character's mother is terminally ill. Soon after she is introduced, we know where the emotional hook is headed.
It's cliched that the hero and the heroine have a troubled past. The misunderstanding stems from the nature of the hero's job. Such cliches are commonplace in spy films. Even the recent 'SPY' had a somewhat similar thread.
'Gandeevadhari Arjuna' lacks novelty. Dull narration despite Hollywood-ish visuals waters down the impact.