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Indian Beauty

True love transcends all. Indian Beauty is a movie, which breaks the culture barrier that people feel exists between the American society and the Indian society. Ultimately we are human beings with more or less the same kind of needs, emotions, hopes and fears. Our separate cultures and traditions don't mean that Americans and Indians are drastically different from one another. If the veneer of tradition and culture is removed and if we probe deeper it will be noticed that we are essentially alike. All that is required is true love that has the patience to understand each other.

S K Chilumala has earlier given a somewhat similar movie called ''Akkada America Ikkada India''. In Indian Beauty the hero Dave (Colin McGee), an American, comes to India to do a project on Indian culture. He has an US born Indian, Jack (Manish Patel), as his friend. They stay in a guesthouse offered by Mr. Murty, a friend of Jack's father.

Mr. Murty' daughter Swapna (Saila Rao) is a nubile girl. Mr. and Mrs. Murty are keen on taking Jack as their son-in-law initially. But noticing his American ways they prefer a local boy. That's when love strikes. Swapna and Dave start loving each other. It's the inner beauty of Swapna against the backdrop of a tranquil yet colorful village atmosphere that Dave adores so much. For Swapna it's Dave's social responsibility, attitude towards people and work ethics that attract her. They love each other deeply. The barriers like religion and culture can hardly stop them.

Indian beauty is a neatly made movie with no vulgarity. The hero, Colin Mc Gee shows an amazing understanding of the Indian movie making style and is at total ease in all the scenes. Saila Rao is a dusky beauty that acts well. Hope she stays around for some time to act in such meaningful movies. The comedy is original. The character actors are relatively new faces adding freshness to the story.

The movie has a lot of depth. But the portrayal of the blossoming of love between Dave and Swapna is half backed. And the climax lacks drama. Indian Beauty is a movie that takes a fresh approach and mixes with traditional movie making skills. So we have an American lady waxing eloquent about their broad culture in one scene and the heroine's mother attempting suicide in another scene much like routine Telugu movies.

On the whole an enjoyable fare that is bound to be helpful to people justifying their cross cultural marriages. Though the movie will find fewer viewers in India, it will be definitely watched by all NRIs, especially those Indians staying in America.

Director: Shanthi Kumar Chilumala
Producer: Sanyasi Raju & Shanthi Kumar Chilumala
Cast: Collin Mc Gee, Saila Rao, Manish Patel, Tanikella Bharani, Kaadambari Kiran, Sanyasi Raju, Gopichand, Chitti Sharma, Nagineedu, Chandra Prakash, Indu Anand, Meghana Raami, Sukrutha Shankar, Srilalitha, Janani Krishna, Susan Stalin, Raghu
Music: Joy Calvin.
Cinematography:Suresh Rohin
Editing:V. Nagi Reddy
Screenplay:Shanthi Kumar Chilumala, Kishore Dhara & Katie Torpey
Story/Writer:Shanthi Kumar Chilumala

Chinnodu

Chinnodu has everything that a mass entertainer ought to have: good fight scenes, a solid storyline and scintillating performances. Sumanth makes a jump from arty type movie to a crass commercial one with Chinnodu.

While Sumanth's last movie Godavari is short listed for award ceremonies, Chinnodu consolidates his position as a mass hero. A larger part of the credit should go to director Kanmani. 'Naa Oopiri' has brought Kanmani critical appreciation, but commercial success eluded him. Chinnodu will fill the commercial void for Kanmani. His direction is brilliant and you notice it early on as the movie unfolds.

Chinnodu has a unique story line with a twist here and a turn there. The hero is born in a prison cell. While he is still a toddler his mother dies in jail. The kind-hearted jailor adopts him as his son. But the hero has a criminal's blood running in his veins, and the criminal traits become visible even before he grows up fully. Still a school going kid, the hero murders his uncle (the jailor's brother) in a fit of rage. Not only he goes to jail but also earns the hatred of everybody from his adopted family.

A natural corollary of growing up in jail is that, he becomes a tough man. Once he comes out of jail he rules over the baddies. But he has only one burning desire: to be united with his adopted family. How this happens is the movie is all about.

Charmme is as always very charming in Chinnodu. She simply sizzles in the movie. Sumanth does everything to make the movie the best of his commercial movies so far. The story is already laid out. All he has to do is act following the director's instructions scrupulously. He does that and the result is appreciable.

Music of Chinnodu is good, especially the 'O Manasa' song. Rest of the songs is average.

The USP of the movie will be the unique story and novel characterization. Kanmani leaves a solid impression as a director with clear-cut characters. Be it the hero and his side kicks who are parking attendants or Charmme who works in the police commissioner's office, the characters are well defined.

Kudos to Kanmani as well as the cast and crew of Chinnodu for making a mass entertainer! They deserve the success.

Director: Kanmani
Producer: Lokesh Dutt ,CV Srikanth
Cast: Sumanth, Charmme, Chandra Mohan, Brahmanandam, Ali, Venu Madhav, Dharmavarapu, MS Narayana, Rahul Dev, Raghubabu, Sivaji Raja, Ramaraju, Vinay Prasad, Surekha Vani, Balayya, Madhavi, Malladi Raghava, Raja Sridhar, Naini, YV Ratna Kumar
Music: Ramana Gogula
Lyrics: S Ashok Teja, Kandi Konda
Screenplay:Yelamanchili Sridhar
Story/Writer:Kanmani

Raraju

An electrician and marriage ceremony decorator named Kali (Gopichand) lives in an enclave where he is revered and feared. He is revered for many kind acts that he performs with disdain (typical of our movie heroes). His fists blow the fuse of many people's bodies, especially the wrong doers, that's why the fear.

Jyothi (Meera Jasmine) is a chorus girl and is new to the neighborhood. She often comes late from work. Once some rowdies block her way and try to molest her, but she claims that she is Kali's acquaintance and saves herself. Kali confronts her for using his name. This is his first meeting with her and by the second meeting he is already weak in the knees. Kali's mother too likes Jyothi and wishes to take her as her daughter-in-law. So Kali does the obvious and professes his love for Jyothi in front of everybody and gets a resounding smack on his left or right cheek. Doesn't matter which cheek, but the smack was good enough to shock the guy who was till now smacking and boxing everybody with glee.

The reason: Jyothi has a flash back. She is an IAS aspirant. She was almost getting married to Surya (Sivaji) who wanted to see Jyothi as a civil servant at the expense of his own chances of being one. You know, an accident snatched away (like in all movies) Surya from Jyothi. How can Jyothi love somebody with the memory of her ex being so fresh? And she doesn't want to deviate from her main goal of becoming an IAS.

Will the would-be-IAS officer and an electrician ever be man and wife as long as they live? That is the story of Raraju.

Raraju is backed by GVG Raju who had given us Godavari. This time he has chosen director Uday Shankar of 'Kalisi Undam ra' fame. The result is good. For example: the way Gopichand bashes up Asish Vidyarthi in the guise of Hanuman and a tiger is really creative. But the comedy track is entirely filmy. The duo of Venumadhav and MS Narayana are there just because the director thinks a movie needs to have a few sidekicks of the hero. And the idea of removing a character by an accident is already overdone in movies. We liked the idea of Tsunami in Boss. Why not use that. Or better still poisonous spider bite. Anything, but not accident, PLEASE.

Performances of Gopichand, Meera Jasmine and Asish Vidyarthi are appreciable in the movie. Gopichand keeps his mass image intact with his trademark sneer. Asish Vidyarthi is superb as a cop though his character looks like a straight lift from Pokiri. Ankita has nothing more to do except chase the reluctant Gopichand crazily.

Raraju is a good movie. Just ignore the director's ignorance that civil services examination is conducted only in one city in a state.

Director: Udaya Shankar
Producer: GVG Raju
Cast: Gopichand, Meera Jasmine, Asish Vidyardhi, Jayaprakash Reddy, ChandraMohan, Sivaji, MS Narayana, Venu Madhav, Sumitra
Music: Mani Sharma
Lyrics: Anant Sriram, Chinni Charan
Screenplay:Udaya Shankar

Samanyudu

Jagapati Babu's baritone voice booms inside the theatres as he fights for justice as the owner of a newspaper publication in Samanyudu. This is a movie that has a good narration, remarkable camera work and is backed up by direction that digs a little deep into the psyche of an evil man. The story attempts to grip the viewers sincerely. The background noise is minimum signifying subdued melodrama. The songs are peppy, especially the Endira Bavmaridi song.

Jagapati Babu leaves no room for complains with his acting. Samanyudu is inherently a good movie. Yet this movie will be just an average one as there is no super star factor attached to catapult it. The masses do not applaud at the end of each and every dialog. The dialogs do not lack punch, but the situations that prompt the dialogs do not move the masses thereby reducing the effect.

The bubble of Samanyudu burst in the main scene where the hero corners the villain and demands to return the public's property and the audience responds just by a few claps from here and there. It's a pity that the viewers would go berserk about dialogs to settle personal vendetta but be unmoved when it concerns a public cause.

When a movie is made with a star and not a super star the direction has to be impeccable to make it a hit. For example in Samanyudu the villain should have been introduced in a more sinister manner. The assassination of the hero's father and its impact on the hero should have been more dramatic as well as meaningful. Kamna Jethmalini, the heroine, is seen less than Archana who is doing a character role. It's easier said than done, but then the results are there for all to see.

Samanyudu is a story that emphasizes, "The pen is mightier than the sword". Ranganath runs a newspaper and exposes the corrupt practices of the home minister (Sai Kumar). Sai Kumar is assisted by Lingam (Vinod Kumar) and the some civil servants in his evil designs. Ranganath is killed for his honesty. It's up to his son (Jagapati Babu) now to settle score. Jagapati Babu tries to avenge his father's death with the help of Archana, Dasari Arun Kumar and Rajiv Kanakala. But somebody is ticking off the villain about Jagapati Babu's plans...

Though Samanyudu is not a cracker of a movie still you can expect some firework. Wishing you all a happy Diwali.

Director: Ravi Chawali
Producer: Venkat
Cast: Jagapati Babu, Kamna Jetmalani, Sai Kumar, Vinod Kumar, Arun Kumar, Rajiv Kanakala, Archana, MS Narayana, Ranganath, Sujitha, Duvvasi Mohan, Narra Venkateswara Rao, Ramireddy, Benerjee, Ahuti Prasad, Raghunath Reddy, Ashok Kumar, Mumaith Khan, Chintu, Sudardhan, Sarika Rama Chandra Rao, Jenny, Subhashini
Music: Vandemataram
Lyrics: Kaluva Krishna sai, Raju
Editing:KV Krishna Reddy
Screenplay:Ravi C Kumar
Story/Writer:Ravi C Kumar

Tata Birla Madhyalo Laila

There is an endearing quality about the actress: Laya. Her smile and the slight twinkle in the eyes make one like her instantly. Her acting has always been splendid in whatever constricted scope she has been offered in a male dominated industry. Her tall and graceful shape, which wasn't meant for kitschy entertainment, complimented her roles to create a no-nonsense persona. This engineering graduate is a trained classical dancer that chose her scripts carefully. Though she never attained the status of Trisha or a Charmee, yet she was in a league of her own and had a unique appeal that was etched in the hearts and minds of the viewers. Too sad that she quit acting in movies.

"Tata Birla Madhyalo Laila" is a parting gift of Laya who tied the knot recently. She bade adieu to the film industry to experience marital bliss. A loss for the telugu film industry and the viewers is a gain for her husband and the in-laws. She would definitely be a beautiful and sensible better half. All the best to her on her marriage from all of us at nowrunning.com.

Tata Birla Madhyalo Laila is a comedy about two petty thieves Tata (Shivaji) and Birla (Krishna Bhagwan). The two thieves make a living by swindling the swindlers. Accidentally they end up as hired killers to kill Laya, an heiress to a rich empire of business and properties. They are hired by none other than Laya's uncle Gajapati (Tanikela Bharini) who acts like a doting caretaker father.

The highlights of the film are: a real woman Laya who looks the happiest as well as at her gorgeous best and a man dressed as a woman Laila (Ali). Ali brings the house down every time he appears on screen dressed as a femme fatale. His mannerisms are so feminine that he would easily pass off as a female for people who haven't seen him on screen before.

Krishna Bhagwan and Sivaji provide some side-splitting comedy. But Raghubabu's comedy as a dubious god man is really hilarious. The great comedian of yesteryears, Padmanabham too is there in the film rarely doing anything except to be in frames and mouth some lines. Still it's a good thing to see him acting.

"Tata Birla Madhyalo Laila" promises a large dose of laughter (though not of the better quality). The movie doesn't cast any impressions in the end, but the endearing actress Laya's smile stays on in the mind.


Director: Srinivas Reddy
Producer: Gopi
Cast: Sivaji, Laya, Krishna Bhagawan, Ali, Tanikella Bharani, Brahmanandam, MS Narayana, Venu Madhav, Padmanabham, Duvvasi, Raghubabu, Chitram Seenu, Rallapally, Jeeva, Kamal, Surya, Kavitha, Apoorva, Ranjitha, Subhashini, Pavala Shyamala, Lavanya
Music: MM Srilekha
Lyrics: Bhaskarbhatla
Editing:V Nagi Reddy
Screenplay:N Srihari, Nivas
Story/Writer:N Srihari

Boss - I Love You

Yet it is an enjoyable fare. A Mills and Boons type romance, flavored with the charm of Nagarjuna, will find a lot of females making it a point to watch Boss despite the shortcomings in the movie. Not to speak of the thousands of Bosses and their personal secretaries who would definitely try to justify their peccadilloes. But the movie is strictly not about meaningless affairs; rather it's about love that seeks to metamorphose into a life long enduring relationship only to be met with stiff resistance.

Boss is the story of a real estate baron Gopal Krishna (Nagarjuna) who is a sort of a paradox: honest in his dealings and yet rolls in cash. He hires Anuradha (Nayanthara), a girl with a heart for social service as his personal secretary. Anuradha is raised in an orphanage run by Chandra Mohan. She finds herself swathed in luxury now. A posh flat to stay, a chauffeured car and the proximity to the head honcho make her grow up in stature. Yet her head is perfectly screwed and she is well poised. But she cannot prevent herself from falling head over heels for the debonair boss.

While the boss is busy lavishing the secretary with praises and expensive gifts he is oblivious to the fact that she is in love with him. Nayanthara takes a wee bit long time to express her love for him. In the meanwhile an incident results in the clash of the egos of the boss and the secretary. The self-respecting secretary decides to quit and tenders her resignation letter. The boss in true M and B type asks for one month's time. He hires another secretary (Poonam Bajwa) to add insult to injury. That's just a part of the story.

The sad thing is that the rest of the story is very predictable. That's what takes the gloss off the movie. Shreya makes a special appearance as the deceased wife of Nagarjuna. She is killed in Tsunami, mercifully not in a car accident. While V N Aditya can hog the credit for that he will find it difficult to answer some uneasy questions like: how come that Nayanthara who works as secretary knows everything except Nag's past married life? Logically the topic should crop up sometime during office gupshups and the secretary aware of it.

The jokes are infantile. And how many times the average film buff has not seen the hero stopping the heroine from getting married to someone else?

Sorry, the director let go of a chance of a lifetime to cash on the flamboyance of Nagarjuna. He is guilty of losing grip in the second half. The movie should have stopped when it still continued and thankfully stopped finally after dragging for nearly 20 minutes.

All said and done, Boss is a treat for Nagarjuna fans. The first half of the movie is enjoyable and having known about the second half from us you can watch the movie without any disappointment.




Director: V.N.Adithya
Producer: D.Shiva Prasad Reddy
Cast: Nagarjuna, Nayanatara, Poonam Bajwa, Shreya, Sumalatha, Nasser, Chandramohan, Sayajo Shinde, Brahmanandam, Sunil, Dharmavarapu, Ali and Tanikela Bharani
Music: Kalyani Malik
Cinematography: Siva Kumar
Screenplay: V N Aditya

Stalin

Chiranjeevi is awesome; Stalin is a good movie and the megastar rules. The affable and humble megastar deserves a standing ovation for defying age and for having the ability to stand at the top of the Telugu filmdom for such a long period: unchallenged and unbeatable.

The sheer energy that Chiranjeevi puts in to his films is clearly visible in the dance sequences, fights and dialog delivery. As you watch the movie Stalin, all doubts about age and on-screen chemistry evaporate soon. And you get sucked in to the story. The flawless acting of the megastar under the brilliant direction of Murugadoss keeps you engrossed with a story that has great social relevance.

Murugadoss is not a fluke. He justifies his belief that a strong story and imaginative direction will result in a hit. He has the acumen to come up with a story that seems to be tailor made for the megastar in conformity with his real life persona. The movie Stalin is like a sandwich prepared with a slice of real life Chiranjeevi, the character Stalin being the other slice, and the characters like Trisha, Khusboo and the rest form the stuff in between.

Stalin is a Major General who fights in the Kargil war gallantly. He quits the army as his boss sends him to the administrative department. Stalin thinks he is cut out for fighting for his country and not pushing pen. He returns home where his mother (Sarada) is ever eager to find a match for him. But Stalin remains busy helping people in need. An incident makes him dig deeper in to his conscience and start the concept of helping others. He doesn't take a thank you in return for the favor done, rather asks the person helped to extend a helping hand to 3 more people. Thus Stalin envisages a human chain of help that would touch everybody in someway.

What goes around comes around. Though slowly at first, the help chain spreads and touches many people's lives. 'Help others ever and hurt never' is the message of the movie to a society that erroneously believes that 'self help is the best help'. Somewhere in the eagerness to help others Stalin gets involved in a brawl. That escalates in to a major enmity with the home minister (Prakash Raj). The chief minister steps in to mediate the issue. But the chief minister's life is put in to danger. It is the help chain that saves the life of the chief minister and Stalin as well as puts an end to the rule of the devious home minister.

Khusboo is the elder sister of Stalin who marries a Punjabi against her mother's wishes. Trisha is the neighbor of Khusboo and loves teasing khusboo's son. This brings Stalin and Trisha together.

Trisha is at her expressive best as ever. Anushka scintillates in a dance scene. Prakash Raj looks every inch an eighty-year-old devious politician. Mani Sharma scores good music with which the do-gooder Chiranjeevi keeps pace along with a willing Trisha.

Murugadoss's imaginative screenplay and direction reverberates with the Paruchuri brothers' punch packed dialogs. There is a festival going on and looks like it will continue for the next hundred days. Be a part of it. If possible spread the good idea of helping three people. It would come back to you someday.

Ganga

Ganga may not have huge star cast, big banners and great hype but it does have a lot of values: a rare commodity these days. Ganga may not run for hundred days even in one center but it's good movie, unquestionably.

Cinema is powerful medium that can bring about change in society. Cinema doesn't only entertain; it also moulds the psyche of people for better or worse depending on the story, characterization, and makers of the movie. Viewed from this angle, Ganga is a fabulous movie that makes people aware of the prevailing evils in the society and methods of curbing those.

The movie is about eradicating the evils of Jogini system. Jogini system is an archaic and cruel system that is still prevalent in some parts of rural Andhra and enforced by a handful of powerful village big guns that forces a few girls ostensibly to be married to the God, but in reality to be used for the gratification of lust of the same powerful and lecherous people. Poverty, helplessness and the wrong perception about a girl child being a burden forces many parents to succumb to such pressure from the village high and mighty.

Ganga is a movie about one such would-be-jogini who is married to the Gods. And the a handful of wanton and powerful villagers are waiting for the girl to attain puberty. But the jogini wants to lead a married life. How she achieves her dream and who makes the dream come true forms the crux of the story.

The cast and crew should be lauded for being part of such a cause. Definitely Ganga will shake up the people of rural Andhra to drive out the atrocious system.

Director: Vemu
Producer: Sekhar Yalamanchi
Cast: Venu Gopal, Priyanka, Tara, Suman, Eswari Rao, Venu Madhav, Jayaprakash Reddy
Music: Koti

Shiva (2006)

Ram Gopal Varma is a yarn spinner who makes our belief stronger that there should and can be such knights to slay the modern day demons: corruption, abuse of power and lawlessness. And in convincing us he succeeds.

The villains are the powerful parasites of society, the hero a merciless crusader, the heroine is a ravishing beauty that sizzles and the text is the systematic dismantling (by the hero) of the blatantly corrupt edifice erected within the boundaries of the government - you have another Ram Gopal Varma thriller.

But do not be mistaken, though a typical Varma film, "Shiva 2006" is neither like James nor like "Shiva" (1989). Varma takes a fistful of Shiva, a lot of "James" and a dash of "Rangeela" to make Shiva 2006 a powerful yarn about the conviction and the guts of an intrepid cop. And after a long gap Ram Gopal Varma reminds people what he is ? Ram Gopal Varma: auteur par excellence. Thrill and horror are his genres and he is a connoisseur in these genres.

Among other things, picking up faces that suit his roles perfectly is Varma's forte. The heroes, villains and the side kicks ? Varma has a penchant for selecting people that seem to be cut out for the roles. He doesn't go face hunting too far. The Marathi theatre and movie artists market caters to his demand for unique faces for villains and sidekicks, while the heroes come from Mumbai.

Infusing his movies with interestingly novel shades and touches is the secondary characteristic of Varma's creations. Remember, in the old Shiva the villain Raghuvaran was shown watching cricket match on the TV. In the new one the villain is very careful about his mother's health. These are things done by normal people, and the villains doing these give a different shade to villainy.

All the while Varma maintains a strong grip on the reality as he has amazing understanding of the real ways of the world and doesn't just go by newspaper headlines like most directors. Finally, it's the development of the characters that sets Varma apart from the rest. He is the best in directing the body language, language, mannerisms, and timing. In Shiva 2006 he gets every thing right if you can forgive a minor mistake (the hero and his friends resign from the police department yet retain the motorbikes).

If Mohit reminds you of the knights of the past, Neha the damsel in distress scorches the scenes with her glamour in Shiva 2006. Upyendra Limaye is a typical parasite as a municipal corporator helped by his sidekicks like John. Zakir Hussain as a puppet police officer in the hands of the home minister Dilip Prabhalkar and the last minute taking over of John from Upyendra Limaye make you wonder whether Varma has access to insider stories through his friends and acquaintances.

The story of "Shiva 2006" is no different from a typical RGV production where the hero, a small town guy goes to the big and bad city of Mumbai to get entangled in a cobweb spun by the evil forces. Finally he cleans the city, at least a corner of it, off the cobweb. But it's the treatment that makes Shiva 2006 a must watch. Happy watching


Director: Ram Gopal Varma
Producer: Factory
Cast: Mohit Ahlawat, Nisha Kothari, Suchitra Pillai, Shereveer Vakil, Dilip Prabhalkar, Zakir Hussain, Raju Mavani, Nagesh Bhosle, Pankaj Jha, Upyendra Limaye, Vinod Jayawant, Ganesh Mayakar, Dinesh Lamba, Ranveer Shorey, Ninad Kamat
Music: Ilayaraja
Lyrics: Nitin Raikwar
Cinematography: Amal Neerad
Editing: Amit Parmar, Nipun Gupta
Screenplay: Nipun Gupta, Amit Parmar
Story/Writer: Sajid Farhad
Art Direction: Aparna Sood
Action: Ram Laxman

Maa Iddari Madhya

Bharat has a penchant for selecting movies with bold and unique story lines. That's very much appreciable. He has the potential to make it big. Sadly, Maa Iddari Madhya didn't prove to be lucky for Bharat. The break is definitely waiting around the corner. He has to keep working in such movies.

Vidisha is a superb actress with a lissome figure. She was given a lot of scope to prove her mettle, which she did. Hope she also gets more offers based on the good work she has done in MIM.

MIM has a unique story line. Girl drinking liquor and getting drunk in memory of her beloved is never shown in any film so far. "Maa Iddari Madhya" takes the laurel for taking such a bold step where such a heroine slaps around her boyfriend. But it goes a bit too far in such treatment. The excess slapping seems unnecessary. Otherwise the story is good and the twists are taut. You have seen it in many movies, but at the end you really wish the hero is alive and both the hero and heroine should unite. But somehow the treatment is poor.

While M Ramesh will be credited for writing a good story he will be held responsible for spoiling the movie with bad direction. May be a guy like Sekhar Kammula could have cut the bizarre scenes like a frustrated lover trying to kill Bharat and getting arrested. A lot of characters are not well carved out. That includes Brahmanandam, MS Narayana, the heroine's mother and several others.

But on the whole the movie is worth a watch for good songs and a different story.

Director: M Ramesh
Producer: V Shyam Prasad
Cast: Bharat, Vidisha,Brahmanandam, Rajya Lakshmi, LB Sriram, MS Narayana, Telangana Shakuntala
Music: R P Patnaik
Screenplay: M Ramesh
Story/Writer: M Ramesh

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