Movie Review | ‘Waltair Veerayya’ banks heavily on power of nostalgia

Technically speaking, the cinematography is nothing to write home about and looks like template filmmaking at its finest

Nostalgia is a powerful thing. It encourages you to revel in the familiar, ambivalent to any inquiry into the artistic value of entertainment.

However, when nostalgia is nothing but mere breadcrumbs tossed at the viewer, drawing them into cheering the same experiences they have come to rehash over and again in the name of familiarity, there is a very high chance of the overall experience failing to resonate for anyone but those who experienced the original within its first life-cycle.

Chiranjeevi as the megastar casts a large shadow where he ceases to exist as anything but a pastiche of his former experiences from the moment he walks onto the screen. His absence from the sensational opening of the movie is almost a void as we are introduced to CI Seethapathi (Rajendra Prasad), who survives a massacre at the police station he was serving at one fateful night. Ten minutes into the movie, once the conflict has been set up, he finally appears, when a group of Navy Officers turn to him to bring in smugglers at large in the stormy seas who might finally end up making it out of their jurisdiction. The megastar enters, sure-footed as a mountain goat in the midst of a storm on a rocky boat.

Actions have consequences, and Veerayya is busted for roughing up the smugglers and is ordered by the judge to settle the matter either outside or inside the court. Necessity leads Veerayya to Seethapathi, accompanied by his brother-in-law (Vennela Kishore), out to hire a mercenary to help bring in Solomon Ceaser (Bobby Simha), the criminal responsible for the massacre of his friends on that night. Despite his fear of flying and Vennala Kishore’s apprehensions, Veerayya lands in Malaysia where a trusted associate (A. Rajendran) informs him that Michael Ceaser (Prakash Raj) is not a person to be trifled with and he is especially protective of his brother - thereby setting him up as the alarmingly dangerous threat looming just at the edge until the interval reveals a deeper mystery and motivation behind Veerayya agreeing to help Seethapathi. The dots between Veerayya, the Ceaser brothers and ACP Vikram Sagar (Ravi Teja) are finally connected as the story paces up to deliver a shocking climax.

Rajendra Prasad is gold on the screen, even in the limited scope offered up to his character. Prakash Raj as the antagonist built up in the shadows brings a sufficient level of intrigue to the character - but then again, it is Prakash Raj we are talking about. Ravi Teja’s entry almost seems delayed in the movie and somehow leads you into thinking wishfully about what else could have happened had we started from where the interval block had. His presence infused the necessary electricity into the trio’s chemistry and every scene featuring the industry veterans was only a reminder of what this movie could have been in terms of performances.

Shruti Hasan’s character was supposed to be an important part of the story’s events, but just steps to the side conveniently as Waltair Veerayya’s vendetta is a far more immediate priority than her mission of possible national importance. Another issue with the casting is that it seemed a little too good for what was required of the actors: Sathyaraj, Nassar, A. Rajendran seemed like stock characters that could have been played for laughs by anyone else.

Technically speaking, the cinematography is nothing to write home about and looks like template filmmaking at its finest. Perhaps except for “Poonakalu loading”, the visualisation of the songs felt barely inspired, despite the visible scale of the budget.

Devi Sri Prasad’s music and score have been received well. Surprisingly, the movie stands well enough on the merits of the story; in fact, in a lot of places, it felt as if a number of these “commercial elements” only took away from the interesting set-ups and situations within the movie. This is perhaps one of the rare movies where the second half of the movie is significantly better than the first half, but this is where the nostalgia manufactured for the fans comes into play.

All in all, despite the missed opportunities, ‘Waltair Veerayya’ promises to be a decent entertainer for the fans of the stars featured in the movie. Perhaps the saving grace of the movie lies in the fact that it doesn’t try too hard to be merely a star vehicle all of the time. The length of the movie could be a point of consternation for many, but if you are not looking for an original and simply want to watch these superstars playing at what appeals to their fanbase, ‘Waltair Veerayya’ might be worth a watch.

Movie: Waltair Veerayya

Director: K.S. Ravindra

Music: Devi Sri Prasad

Cast: Chiranjeevi, Ravi Teja, Prakash Raj, Shruti Hasan

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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