Telugu cinema began 2020 with a bang. However, since the lockdown, the Rs 1000-crore film industry has suffered a massive loss running into hundreds of crores as some of its summer blockbusters were postponed indefinitely.
1) Ala Vaikunthapurramloo
This film is a victory for Trivikram Srinivas’ love for the Telugu language. A baby, the rightful heir to a millionaire, ends up in a middle-class family due to an evil man’s dubious scheme. That baby grows up to be a kind man with the ability to throw a punch or two when push comes to shove. When he learns about the injustice and that his whole life has been a big ruse played by a bitter man, who he calls father, it puts him in a moral dilemma. What follows is drama due to complicated relationships. Allu Arjun shines so does Trivikram’s writing and S Thaman music. This movie was a wholesome entertainer.
2) Sarileru Neekevvaru
From the word go, director-writer Anil Ravipudi makes it clear that this movie has been solely made to please the crowd. And he discourages the audience from expecting anything inventive from it. All Anil and his star Mahesh Babu want is for the movie to become a ‘blockbuster’ and nothing else. And they both tick off all the right boxes to make Sarileru Neekevvaru a complete crowd-pleaser.
Dear Anil Ravipudi and Mahesh Babu, for your honesty and accomplishing the mission, take a bow!
3) HIT: The First Case
Debutant director Sailesh Kolanu promises us a ground-breaking investigative thriller. Given that the movie had the backing of Nani’s production house, we were prepared to be rattled by an edge-of-the-seat, nail-biting, stomach-churning thriller. But, we wound up with a water-down version of a thriller with only technical elements of the movie standing out.
Producer Dil Raju could have avoided remaking this movie. But, he must have not able to resist the possibility of recreating the success of 96 in Telugu states. Thankfully, he brought in the original director C Premkumar to helm the remake. And Sharwanand and Samantha Akkineni managed to honour the memory of 96 with their performances.
Director Venky Kudumula manages to keep the worn-out premise afresh with effective use of humour. This movie, about finding a saviour in the unlikeliest place, at an unexpected time, is cliche-ridden. And yet, this movie is watchable as it avoids complete hero-worshipping. This movie gave Nithiin and Rashmika Mandanna decent roles after a long time.
6) Disco Raja
After not having a single release in 2019, Ravi Teja made a comeback with Disco Raja, a science-fiction-ish action drama, daringly borrow an idea from the story of a beloved Marvel character: Captain America. This is easily one of the most pleasant movies of Ravi Teja as he has set the bar too low with movies like Touch Chesi Chudu, Nela Ticket and Amar Akbar Antony.