Cast: Shivarajkumar, Kriti Kharbanda, Adi Lokesh, Vinod Prabhakar, Deepak, Prashanth, Venkatesh
Director: Musanje Mahesh
Shivarajkumar, who is over a 100 films old, is by now well aware that his films will be incomplete without him wielding swords or machetes and behaving like a typical action star.
Even though the actor does not wish to be typecast, his fans often demand that he is presented in a particular way and the actor is forced to comply. Thus Belli, directed by Mussanje Mahesh, ends up falling pray to this trap. Shivarajkumar as Bavasaraju aka Basu aka Belli plays a rowdy in the oft-repeated underworld plot and thus becomes a most cliched construction of his own films like Om, Jogi and other such commercial entertainers where usually a good man turns bad for the betterment of society. However, in this film, he is accompanied by four other actors including Vinod Prabhakar, Deepak, Prashanth and Venkatesh.
Belli in its 147-minute run begins with series of murders. A writer (played by Sudharani) comes to Bengaluru to trace the story of how Basavaraj aka Belli, an ordinary milkman from a village goes to the city only to become a gangster. Sneha (Kriti Kharbanda) who is aspiring to become an IAS officer accidentally meets Basavaraj and fondly calls him Basu. In spite of much resistance, he cannot avoid falling for Sneha.
Life takes an unusual turn for Sneha when she meets Belli on New Year’s day who is by now aware that Sneha is the younger sister of a strict police officer. The twist comes when Belli loses his mental stability and starts living alone on the roads.
Belli’s mother and sister comes to the city in search of him. Will the mother find her son? And what will happen when Sneha who becomes an IAS officer encounters Belli, whom she had taken for dead. This forms the major conflict and point of interest of the story.
Director Musanje Mahesh desperately attempts to give his cliched subject heavy twists and yet, cannot save the very predictable tale. Thankfully he ends up with a not-so-regular climax. Minimum research was needed by the director because he had Shivarajkumar by his side who could execute any role without stress, yet, he failed to do so. Mahesh has bombarded the film with blood, revenge and brutality and emotional drama by bringing in the mother-son sentiments and getting the actor to play a character, where he is unstable, which is unusual. Although there is so much crime in the film, there is little research carried out.
Mahesh’s Belli represents mainstream movies, which are tailormade for Shivrajkumar as this role cannot be filled by any other actor on the screen.
One also needs to know why crime and police are mostly preserved for Shivarajkumar’s films and not for other heroes. Of course, Shivarajkumar shines in his role, which is by now become a trademark in his career. Somewhere these characters are done-to-death, but still he continues to appease his fans and faithfully essay his roles well. Here even the verbose dramatics has somehow clicked.
Kriti Kharbanda has done her best and makes an impact within the screen time allotted to her. The supporting cast including Sudharani, Padmavasanti, Adi Lokesh, Vinod Prabhakar, Deepak, Prashanth, Venkatesh,among others try to hold the film together. V Sridhar’s music comes handy for the popular numbers. KS Chandrashekar has come close to capturing the character of Shivarajkumar in three shades at various locations.
The Verdict: Belli is an offering from Shivarajkumar, which his fans can’t refuse. It is also obvious, that with Shivarajkumar in the picture one can’t expect a tale that is never told before by him in his own films. All we can say is, don’t expect the unexpected.