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'1' flew over the audiences’ heads

Published Jan 13, 2014, 4:31 pm IST
Updated Mar 19, 2019, 6:10 am IST
Critics suggest that the public is having a tough time understanding the movie, ‘1’

At a traffic signal we overheard a man asking his friend where he was. When told that he was watching 1, the man said, “Don’t stay till the climax; it is very confusing and will make you nuts. Come out for your own good.”

While everyone does not hold to this view, one thing is certain — the much-hyped Mahesh Babu starrer 1: Nenokkadine has opened to mixed reviews at best. While no one is writing the film off as a flop, many have said that it is ahead of its time.


Also read: Movie Review: Mahesh Babu's '1-Nenokkadine'

In fact, some die-hard Mahesh Babu fans have even watched the film twice because they did not understand it the first time. “When I watched the movie for the first time, nothing went into my head. I wondered why a star like Mahesh Babu would have accepted this project. But when I watched it for the second time, I felt that the movie was well-made and I suggest that those who didn’t understand the movie watch it one more time,” says Nemani Ravi, a Mahesh Babu fan.

Facebook and Twitter, too, have been flooded with comments since 1 released. While some say that the film is the best made in the Telugu film industry, others complain that subject and the script is way too deep for them and worse still, that there are no elements of comedy or entertainment in it.

Check out: Twitter Review of Mahesh Babu's '1-Nenokkadine'

So despite having a strong script, subject, well-mixed background score and one of the best cinematography seen in recent times, will 1 lose the Sankranti release race to the Ram Charan starrer Yevadu?

The film revolves around the main character who has a psychological disorder where he feels that he is doing something while in reality he isn’t. The plot has apparently confused the audience as thrillers and psychological plots are the two genres least attempted in Tollywood.

In defence, director Sukumar says that 1 was always supposed to be a path-breaking film and not an entertainer. “Since the subject is new and had never been attempted in the Telugu film industry, we had planned to reveal some parts of the story to mentally prepare the audience; but this is something important we missed out on. But I always wanted 1 to be a path-breaking film, which I feel I fulfilled on a personal note.”

Supporting Sukumar, the film’s producer Ram Achanta put up a status on Facebook stating, “Whatever may be the talk of 1, we are proud of producing the movie. We knew right from the beginning that we were attempting something new, which is not a regular mass masala or a family entertainer. This is a genre that has never been attempted in TFI and that too with a superstar who has a hat-trick of superhits before 1. The only thing that we would agree with anyone else is about the length of the film. 1 we truly believe will be a path breaking film in TFI, for its never-before seen treatment considering the subject.”

Commenting on why the film might be receiving mixed reviews, director Neelakanta, whose movies Nandanavanam 120 km and Virodhi were well appreciated but not actually accepted by the audience, says, “It would be hard for me to say why 1 is not doing well. In general, Telugu audiences want films which have all the elements for wholesome entertainment. When you consider Malayalam movies, apart from the regular entertainers, they also make movies based on single theme concepts and this trend has just entered Tollywood with 1.”

“What I feel is that for the Telugu audience, every movie has to be packaged well with all elements of entertainment,” he adds.

About 1, Neelakanta says, “This is a very well made movie. The psychological parameter was very interesting. The way Sukumar portrayed heroism combined with the psychological drama was what caught my attention.

“Telugu audiences are not accepting it because there is no entertainment. But it is a daring attempt by Sukumar and personally I feel it was overall a very well made movie. And 1 is the beginning for filmmakers to come out of their boundaries and experiment with new subjects and get the audiences to accept movies which are not regular masala; hope the film will do well commercially,” the director adds.

However, despite the mixed reviews, tickets for 1 are still not available for current bookings as they have all been sold online.

Raj Nidimoru, who has directed movies like Shor in the City and Go Goa Gone and has produced D for Dopidi, says, “1 is a very brave attempt by Sukumar. The movie is way ahead of its times and this is one movie that people in future will look back to as a milestone.”

“A movie with a subject so strong will obviously face resistance in general from the audience and that is the upstream that the filmmaker has to brave; especially with a superstar like Mahesh Babu, mixed reactions are expected. Otherwise, 1 is a great achievement by Sukumar and Mahesh Babu.”