TEENMAAR Movie Review— A Face Saving Effort

Like many of his fans, my patience had waned and with Komaram Puli I was disgusted. Brand Pawan Kalyan was almost over. Somebody should learn from the man as how to systematically trash their career. For those who are invested in Pawan Kalyan, the stock has never reached the highs of Kushi and it is close to a decade now. What do you do with a stock like this?—SELL it, ABONDON it! I was ready to sell this stock, but then Teenmaar’s songs gave some ray of hope. To begin with, I didn’t like Love Aaj Kal, which I thought was such a yuppy movie and was dismayed to learn that Pawan Kalyan has agreed for the remake. But the man is most famous for making changes that click [more on this later]. With six good songs on hand, I decided to hold the stock, went for the first day first show at Odeon Deluxe [was disappointed it was not at Sandhya], threw confetti, cheered and by 1:40pm that day it was clear that the entire team has put up a face saving effort [read average].

The concept of the film is great: to compare and contrast the process of falling in love from two different eras; unlimited potential. The hindi version was produced by Saif Ali Khan so it was meant essentially for a multiplex crowd–get your collections in the first weekend and thats that. Going into the film, I was expecting to see some significant changes, but was shocked to see that Teenmaar is a faithful remake of its original. Did the team [read Trivikram] really think that just by having a Kasi backdrop, it will provide the nativity?  I saw the first 30 minutes in absolute horror: the movie moves slowly, without a story, no interesting scenes and why the f**k was Pawan Kalyan doing the spot dubbing [the Johnny ghost definitely has not gone]? The film picks up pace only when Arjun Palwai enters and then again picks up steam towards the last 20 minutes only thanks to Trisha’s superb performance.

A gem of a concept has gone wasted. Perhaps, Pawan Kalyan was too petrified to suggest changes given his track record since Johnny. The only saving grace of the film is the music and full credit to Manisarma. Zero points to Jayanth for simply copy-pasting, zero points to Trivikram for just thinking that writing witty one-lines will make the film click, and zero points to Pawan Kalyan for being an ass with the spot dubbing and over-acting. Of course, thank you Trisha for being the only beautiful thing about the film. With no major changes to adapt it to the local context and devoid of any interesting sequences, the film barely manages to satisfy. We are shown Pawan Kalyan’s parents only in the first 5 minutes, what happens after that? I can’t even think of any blockbuster [Hindi or Telugu] where the parents/family element does not play a critical role. Next, what about the comedy? Can a telugu film succeed without comedy?—in fact, it can succeed with just comedy and no story. Ali is only there for a few minutes and makes us laugh. Next, what was the need to have a Cape town backdrop? don’t youngsters in our Indian metros date?

Content-wise, the movie suffers big time and it just cannot sustain itself. To its credit, the story shows Pawan Kalyan in a way that will make the fans happy: Arjun Palwai’s character, Basti Dorasani song [thanks so much Pawan for shaking your leg], and the really smart suits in New York. Even with all this disappointment, I have seen the film thrice only because there is a sheer pleasure of seeing Pawan Kalyan on screen. Indeed, there is a certain charm about him and thats what helps him sustain his stardom. At one level, I feel bad for Pawan Kalyan—his career till Kushi is the envy of any hero, but that after that he is just a mess. I still say Gudumba Shankar would have clicked had it released four-six months after Kushi. Clearly confused after that he did movies that he just didn’t believe in [mafia don killing people in Balu, applying gandham on face and hacking people to death in Annavaram, and a seema-backdrop film called Bangaram]. Only God knows why he did Puli. At least, in Teenmaar it is clear that Pawan Kalyan is enjoying what he is doing and it shows.

At the box office, the movie will recover costs to all parties concerned, but fans will be disappointed as it cannot become a super-hit, leave alone being a hit. While at Odeon on the first day, I was talking to some guy who was telling me why he thinks Pawan Kalyan is a Power Star. He said that during Kushi, Sandhya 70mm sold black tickets till the 50 days or more and today those guys who sold black tickets are proud owners of autos! My secretary recalls that during his inter days he and his friends would visit Sandhya 70mm to see Toliprema once a week and dance on the seats! Will these days ever return for Pawan Kalyan and his fans and for the audience in general? It hasn’t for a  decade now, but I will still hold on to this stock. I really wish Pawan Kalyan does different movies: his Shadow with a Tamil director in lines of a thriller is a welcome change and then there is the remake of Dabang, which is already pre-destined to open with a bang! [i really hope they make the right changes]

Now that the Big 4 have faded [Chiru, Balakrishna, Nagarjuna, and Venkatesh], Pawan Kalyan (was and) is the next best bet among the remaining asses that Tollywood has to boast off.

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