Cast: Balakrishna, Pragya Jaiswal, Srikanth and others
Director: Boyapati Srinu
The crazy combo of Nandamuri Balakrishna and Boyapati Srinu strikes again with Akhanda, their latest offering. They were twice lucky in their previous outings, and the new film is all set to entertain with high-voltage action that’s typical of a Boyapati ensemble. Let’s try and find out if there’s a hat-trick round the corner.
Murali Krishna (Balakrishna) hailing from Ananthapur is a messiah of the masses. He indulges in a lot of development activities in the region and strives for the uplift of society. Sarwani (Pragya Jaiswal) is the district collector who admires Murali Krishna for his good deeds and falls in love with him. The two get married.
Enter Varadarajulu (Srikanth), the owner of a mine, who creates havoc in the lives of the locals. Murali Krishna locks horns with him. This creates a lot of problems in the lives of Murali and Sarwani, and then an aghora Akhanda (Balakrishna) comes to their rescue. Who is Akhanda? What is his connection with Murali Krishna and the problems of the region? How does he ensure justice? These aspects form the rest of the story.
Donning dual roles and portraying different shades has been a Balakrishna trademark. Be it in Simha or Legend, the star has always delivered top-notch performances. The same goes for Akhanda. Boyapati Srinu never misses a chance to bring out the mass-appeal and emotional side of the hero. Balakrishna is grounded as Murali and goes over the top as Akhanda. He pulls off every detail with poise. The entire second half lies on the strong shoulders of Akhanda.
Pragya Jaiswal charms as an IAS officer but her character turns mundane after a certain point. Srikanth is brilliant as a villain and Jagapathi Babu is impressive as a sadhu.
The camera work by Ram Prasad is classy, as different hues are blended into a composite whole. The songs by S S Thaman are passable, but it is the background score that leaves a thumping impact and elevates the scenes, especially the ones involving Akhanda. The dialogues by M Ratnam give goosebumps and sound impactful in Balayya’s voice – watch out for the one where he talks about the real meaning of non-violence.
Balakrishna’s dance scenes look fresh - the ones from Jai Balayya particularly are worth a second look.
Akhanda delves into some sensitive issues, including Dharma and environment protection. Though these are new for a Boyapati film, he follows the same narrative structure as his past projects. One can draw parallels with Legend, as both follow a similar path from interval to climax. Also, there is an overdose of mass moments and action sequences.
On the whole, Akhanda is a mass masala entertainer that serves a grand feast for Balakrishna fans. If you can get past some routine scenes and lengthy fights, the double role of Nandamuri will keep you invested in the film. A few dialogues are firecrackers that make you think. That being said, the film leaves you asking for more in certain portions, particularly the climax.