'Skanda', produced by Srinivasaa Silver Screen and presented by Zee Studios, was released in theatres today (September 28).
Ram Pothineni is introduced as a daredevil, happy-go-lucky college student who tricks the daughter (Sreeleela) of the Telangana CM (Sharath Lohithaswa). The CM's son, meanwhile, is in love with the daughter of the AP CM (Ajay Purkar) and the two CMs have become enemies in the process.
In a parallel track, a father-daughter duo (played by Srikanth and Saiee Manjrekar) are going through a traumatic phase in a prison and a hospital, respectively. No prizes for guessing that the hero has a secret agenda and it has something to do with the suffering of the duo.
Ram Pothineni combines the reckless energy of his 'iSmart Shankar' avatar and the focused robustness of his physique as seen in 'Red'. Furthermore, he taps into his inner Boyapati-style heroism, managing to elevate lackluster scenes in the process.
Sreeleela plays that typical, over-glamourized masala film bimbo. She needs to work on her performance, as mere dancing skills are not enough. Srikanth doesn't have any weighty moments; he is reduced to sobbing at times. He has been typecast here with no solid dialogue.
Prince Cecil plays a violent role. Sharath Lohithaswa is routine. Ajay Purkar feels like an outdated factionist from a faction film made in the early 2000s. 'Baahubali' Prabhakar and Babloo Prithiveeraj are generic. Daggubati Raja (as the hero's father) is over-emotional, while Gauthami (as the hero's mother) and Indraja don't register themselves. Urvashi Rautela's dance moves in the song 'Cult Mama' suffer from a limited range of motion.
'Nee Chuttu Chuttu' sounds a bit off at first. Slowly, Sid Sriram's singing impresses. 'Cult Mama' is a lost opportunity; it had so much going for it in terms of engaging intensity. 'Dummare Dumma' is artificial for its genre (a family song where everyone only dances without caring to emote naturally). SS Thaman's background score doesn't hesitate to be in step with Boyapati's loud style, but it is otherwise lifeless.
Cinematographer Santosh Detake shoots the action scenes fairly well. Action Director Stun Siva introduces no fresh take on certain stunts. Excessive violence can make the fights feel overly confrontational and off-putting. Powerful weaponry equipped with an array of sharp blades are deployed to dismember as many bodies as humanly imaginable. The climax fight goes for the overkill.
Extreme violence has collaborated with hyperbolic language. That's 'Skanda' for you. M Rathnam's dialogues would have worked better in an era when the depiction of over-the-top violence felt fresh. That was in the 2000s. In the present-day context, the lines sound out of rhythm.
The hero gets to mouth punchlines and hack rowdies to death in the presence of a CM who is oblivious to the life threat to him in the midst of a 'jathara'. The CMs of AP and Telangana are unmindful of their security protocol throughout their lives. The daughter of a CM is offended when a random stranger describes her as an average-looking babe.
The many attacks involve the CMs, their mercenaries, or their relatives. Once-in-a-century attacks on the premises of their residences take place periodically and at will. Whenever a happy occasion (a religious ritual, a wedding, or an engagement) takes place, there is immense bloodshed around. Boyapati probably believes that weddings and such gatherings involve crowds, making it easy for him to extract reaction shots.
Mayhem is what happens every 15 minutes. The biggest mayhem, however, is when the hero's father actually warns two political heavyweights and comes out without a scratch on his face. We are talking about the hero's father, not the hero. Imagine!
The climax fight is throbbing, but a particular idea comes across as underdeveloped. Boyapati resorts to an element from the 'Legend' hit formula here, giving a lead to 'Skanda 2'. 'Skanda 2' might not become a reality anytime soon but the trick is to fool the audience into believing that 'Skanda' is more than what has been shown. This is lazy, and we don't think a substantial chunk of the audience is going to wait to know what the second part is going to be about.
'Skanda' is full of mindless ideas. Only two action sequences work (the interval one and the climax one). Ram is fresh. The rest of the film is just a pile of outdated elements.