Cast: Naga Shaurya, Rashmika Mandanna, Naresh Vijaya Krishna, Vennela Kishore
Chalo opens in a jail, where a prisoner (played by Naresh Vijaya Krishna) narrates the story behind his imprisonment. We get introduced to his wacky toddler Hari (Naga Shaurya), who doesn’t give in until his father responds to his crying fits with a solution of allowing him to throw punches at his friend or at people around him. He grows into a youngster obsessed with street fights and often claims that he gets kick out of fighting.
Inspired by a Rajinikanth’s popular dialogue from Arunachalam, Hari’s father sends him to an engineering college in Tiruppuram, a village that’s divided between Telugu and Tamil-speaking people and controlled by two warring clans. Hari falls for Karthika (Rashmika Mandanna) who equally enjoys seeing someone getting knocked out. This is where the protagonist turns astute and makes up his mind to mend the only possible way to get his girl and celebrate the triumph of love.
Even though a major portion of the film is set in the college, the core plot that drives the story isn’t actually about the college. The storyline of Chalo is a commonplace. A few portions of the film reeks of several super hits like Pawan Kalyan’s Akkada Ammayi Ikkada Abbayi, Jagadam and Jr NTR-starrer Brindavanam. The film also uses a lot of clichés and the most noted is a lecturer being ridiculed in his classroom and the academically incompetent third-year engineering students who don’t even know what does CSE stands for!
Halfway through the first half, the viewers would clearly drift away as the narration goes on at a relaxed pace taking ample time to plant in the backdrop and the characters. During the interval, one would definitely expect some surprises waiting to be unearthed by the director in the latter hour. But, without giving away a vital twist, the film is predictably stuffed with easy coincidences and doesn’t add up any emotional complexity. Several ideas jostle around in the story but nothing seems to be promising and convincing. Especially towards the climax, it is cringingly bad, melodramatic and the film clearly shows that some of the characters hardly have any connection. The much-awaited twist revealed in the climax doesn’t explode and make the film too fanciful to be taken seriously.
Usually, college-based love stories are made to make the viewers feel a certain way – cheerful, sorrowful, relieved, shocked and scared, etc with some anticipation. But, Chalo won’t make you feel this way and you may step out of the theaters discussing stale comedy (as explained by Posani Krishna Murali in one instance). The film has plenty of references to Chiranjeevi and directorVenky Kudumula tried to woo megastar fans by spilling the beans about Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy.
Naga Shaurya played a role which can be easily identified by the 18-30 age group. He looks settled and shines in his movements and body language. Rashmika hasn’t got enough space to show her calibre. Satya has put up a good show, while Vennela Kishore is probably the best thing in this story as he showcased versatility with a psycho-comedy.Naresh, Posani and Viva Harsha among others chime in well. While Mahati Swara Sagar’s songs were already a hit, the background score is decent. Chalo works unabashedly on a regular formula of a protagonist, who swears to his leading lady to win over her staunchly opposing father. Otherwise, there is nothing new in this film and you can see it with your eyes closed.
— Murali Krishna CH muralikrishna.db @newindianexpress