The blockbuster from Andhra Pradesh is finally in town. It has been a while since we first heard about Magadheera and the great things it has done at the Telugu box office, and it also has been a while since its dubbed Tamil version was announced. In fact, we were expecting it around Pongal. The Chiranjeevi heir’s first mass blockbuster released in Tamil this Friday. This is a season where dubbed Telugu films seem to be finding increasing possibilities in the Tamil market, tracing back to the success of Arundhathee. Now, we in fact have more than one dubbed Telugu feature in our theaters at a time, Nagarjuna’s Vambu is the other Telugu film doing rounds in Chennai theaters currently.
So, how good or otherwise is Maaveeran or Magadheera? Is the big hype of being one of the all time big hits in the Telugu justified? Starring Ram Charan Tej and Kajal Agarwal, Magadheera is about reincarnation, revenge and love that transcends rebirth! Why reincarnation and associated astrological concepts play such huge parts in Telugu blockbusters, you might think, recalling that even Arundhathee had run on a similar premise. But, Magadheera is very much different from Arundhathee or any other film of the same genre. The director has not tried to create an aura of cosmic wonder or thrill around the story. There is also no black magic and dormant evil powers that are awaken by some stray incident. Instead, the director, S.S. Rajamouli, has narrated the story in a fairly straightforward manner, resorting to a flashback when required.
The beginning of the rivalry between Ram Charan Tej and Dev Gill goes back 400 years, a time when Ram was a warrior chief in a king’s army, Dev was a man with royal connections and Kajal Agarwal was the princess. Dev wants the reigns of the kingdom and also the princess’ hand. One wonders whether he wanted the latter because it would automatically lead to the former? But, the princess is in love with the warrior! Perfect settings for political heist to happen. The throne is usurped and great injustice is done to people who never meant any ill to happen. It takes 40 years for the wronged to be reborn and seek justice against the traitor.
There is great scope for action, heroics, romance and sentiments in such a plot and the director has used it extremely well. Poor handling could have made this plot look archetype in current times, but the director puts the pieces together and delivers a final product that has got enough tempo, twists and turns to keep you from thinking about the logical relevance of such a story. Yes, there are instances where the cinematic liberties have been stretched a bit too much for one’s liking (like the bike stunt, or the remnants from the 400 year old kingdom that are untouched) and there are also occasions where it is blatantly apparent that there is an attempt to promote Ram Charan Tej as the next Megastar (in the scene where Chiranjeevi himself appears and there is an exchange of plaudits between the two). But, they can be overlooked because of the standards set by the final product.
More than the actual plot, it is the quality of the making that deserves mention. Be it the stunts, the songs, the battle sequences, the period portion, the effort is evident in all these areas. The art work in the flashback might be a bit of a letdown, but it still manages to hold good to the requirements of the plot. Music, by Maragadhamani, also adds value to the film, and the director has placed the songs intelligently.
Ram Charan Tej has shown his commitment to the craft through Magadheera. Though not the complete performer as yet, the hard work he has put into dances, stunts and horse riding shines through in many places. Kajal Agarwal looks and feels different from the actress we have seen in Tamil, but she too makes an impression. Dev Gill looks menacing as the scheming villain.
Overall, Magadheera is a film that is built on a premise which is neither unique nor holds too many surprises. The usual ‘cosmic’ kind of aura that is built around such reincarnation films is also not there. But, a consistent tempo, crisp making and dedicated performances make this film watchable, even enjoyable, if you are willing to forget or overlook the reincarnation thing. The one thing that could stop one from enjoying it is the nativity factor. Somehow, it does not feel like a Tamil film. Dialogues, by K. Bhagyaraj, have tried hard to mask this, but it just keeps popping up time and again, which makes viewing a bit uncomfortable.
Verdict: Romance, revenge, reincarnation – typical masala – watchable – conditions apply!