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Pawan Kalyan’s Katamarayudu released on Friday amid huge hype and expectations worldwide. After delivering a flop last year with Sardaar Gabbar Singh, Pawan seems to be very determined to redeem himself at box office this time as he has played very safe in making his latest film, which is deeply formulaic. Katamarayudu is a commercial film done by the book. It packs all elements that cater to the whims of the actor’s Telugu fans. The film is the official remake of 2014 Tamil film, Veeram, which had Thala Ajith in the lead role. Director of Telugu version, Kishore Kumar Pardasani aka Dolly, has tried to remain honest to the original film and has, in fact, borrowed a few heroic shots from the Tamil version.
The writers of Katamarayudu have made some basic changes to the original script to suit the taste of the Telugu film audience. Katamarayudu is a powerful and unelected leader of a village in Rayalaseema, which is known for the valour and short temperament of its native people. For decades now, Rayalaseema has provided a gripping backdrop for hundreds of action-packed Telugu movies. Katamarayudu has four brothers, not by blood but by bond and violence is his first resort to solve the problems of the poor and weak and uphold justice. Another thing about Katamarayudu is he despises women and the concept of marriage. He had a crush when he was a teenager and it obviously failed, which probably made him the way he is.
Cut to the present, all of Katamarayudu’s brothers are in love but don’t have the courage to tell him about their affairs, fearing whip of his belt. But, still, Katamarayudu is seen as an ideal brother. His brothers collude and decide to make Katamarayudu fall in love. By chance, they run into Avanthika (Shruti Haasan) and she becomes their target. So eventually Avanthika falls in love with Katamarayudu. Soon Katamarayudu finds out that she and her family are in danger. Come on, you know what happens next. He saves them all. End of the story. But Dolly has taken 2 hours 30 minutes to narrate this story set in an overused premise with his outdated filmmaking tricks.
While the antics and methods of the brothers to bring Katamarayudu and Avanthika together are ridiculous, it somehow manages to enthral the audience. The film has a few punchlines and comedy that draws some genuine applause and laughs but for the most part, all the characters in the film have been used only to sing praises of Katamarayudu, which becomes annoying after a certain point. Pawan seems to be a reluctant dancer as he performs in duets set in picturesque foreign locations and those musical numbers only add to the boredom. Even action scenes are choreographed with one purpose only and that is to show how good Pawan looks in slow motion. Action scenes are also a drag. In the climax fight, Katamarayudu, who was so far portrayed as invincible, suddenly takes a beating from the bad guy? Why? To establish he has a heart of gold.
It seemed like even after more than two hours, the director was unsure he has established Katamarayudu’s heroism. I’d like to tell him, he succeeded in establishing the heroism of the lead character in the first 10 minutes of the film and he could have used the rest to the time to narrate an actual story.
Well, you may wonder why other characters in the film were not discussed in this review? It is because they don’t make a mark. We should blame the filmmakers for writing a screenplay so narrow that could only accommodate Pawan Kalyan.