Partly engaging rustic drama, but Sudheer Babu ticks all the boxes
Sridevi Soda Center movie review: Sridevi Soda Center unfolds in Amalapuram and is a love story between Sooribabu (Sudheer Babu) and Sridevi (Anandi). The prevailing caste system does not permit Sooribabu and Sridevi to be together and they get mired in problems. How Sooribabu gets the better of trouble-mongers and moves ahead to take on the mantle of leader is what the movie deals with.
The story is as old as the hills, and so are many scenes in the film. But time and again, Sudheer Babu proves what a wonderful actor he is. As Sooribabu, he dabbles in comedy, action, emotions, and all the typical tropes of a commercial hero. The film definitely puts him a notch higher. Anandi brings in a breath of fresh air with her natural performance. However, the showstopper is Naresh who shines in a role that has grey shades.
In Sridevi Soda Center, the first half is a big damper. The love story is weak and there is little or no chemistry between the lead pair. They shine as individual performers but together they are not a treat to watch. The first half is also stretched, and one gets restless waiting for the interval card to flash. Just before the interval, the plot gains momentum. There is a lot of drama and emotional upheaval in the second half, and it all leads to an unusual ending.
A few characters in the first half are completely forgotten in the latter part. The age-old practice using caricatures but not to the right effect is another drawback.
There could have been more scenes in the first half to highlight the love story and the sense of togetherness that Soori and Sridevi carry with them. The film also falters in setting the right context and tone. It gets into a preachy mode on honour killing. The boat race, songs and action scenes were lavishly shot, though.
Director Karuna Kumar sticks to the core element of casteism in the rural setting. If his debut film Palasa was more rustic in its approach, Sridevi Soda Center comes with all the commercial trappings to please cine-goers. Though he shows his mettle in characters, design and drama, many scenes lacked the necessary shine.
On the whole, Sridevi Soda Center remains as a rustic drama with some engaging episodes, many passable moments, and an amazing climax....