Film: Gaddalakonda Ganesh
Cast: Varun Tej, Atharvaa Murali, Pooja Hedge and Mirnalini Ravi
Director: Harish Shankar
Producer: 14 Reels Entertainment
Music: Mickey J. Meyer
How often do we see feature films with the bad guy playing the protagonist? Not many. However, director Harish Shankar has gone all out to bring in that aspect in Gaddalakonda Ganesh previously titled as Valmiki with Tollywood’s ‘boy-next-door’ Varun Tej playing the ruthless, sadistic gangster, twirling his moustache.
Abhi, played by Atharvaa Murali, is a short film maker who finally gets an opportunity to direct a feature film but doesn’t want to take the straight route. He decides to bring on-screen the life of a cold-blooded gangster Gaddalakonda Ganesh (Tej) who would kill and torture people impetuously.
Remake of a Tamil hit Jigarthanda starring Bobby Simba, Siddharth and Lakshmi Menon in the lead roles, the film comes out as a dark comedy with the protagonist displaying real shades of terror, romance and sometimes slapstick comedy through his dialogues.
However, things are not as simple as it seems. Abhi (Atharvaa) tries to get as close to Gani’s life as possible to bring out his true character and minute details of his life. For this he even tries to fake romance with Bujjamma (Mrinalini Ravi) the granddaughter of Gani’s cook.
But what happens when the lives of Abhi and Gani collide….is a must watch on a 70mm screen.
Abhi comes out as a cunning, street-smart character who knows how to get his way out of complicated situations and Atharvaa does justice to the role. Though this his first Tollywood film, it doesn’t seem that way. His Telugu pronunciations are clear. But at times, his authoritative voice does not go with his ‘casual’ appearance.
After the success of Fidaa and Tholi Prema, Varun Tej’s decision to shed his chocolate boy image to take up a gangster look is a bold move. Fans are likely to get instantly attracted to Varun Tej’s makeover as his appearance is terrifying, but at the same time his quirky dialogues brings a sense of relief.
Even though Pooja and Mrinalini share very little screen time, they deliver an impressive performance. Mrinalini’s tit for tat attitude and Pooja’s memorable flashbacks bring out the acting talents of the female leads.
But what makes the movie likeable is the strong background score by Mickey J. Meyer which powers the murder scenes making it look dark but not gory.
Screenplay, cinematography and the dialogues are the roots of the film as they prove the power of keeping it raw and real.
Though the first half is the same as the Tamil version, the director has made some changes in the latter part to cater to the Telugu audience. The only drawback is that the movie is lengthy and could make viewers restless.
Overall, the movie is a decent attempt to show Harish’s love for mixing art with cinema and should be a pure cracker for Telugu fans as their boy is sporting a brand new villain look.