Cast: Pawan Kalyan, Anu Emmanuel, Keerthy Suresh, Khushbu, Boman Irani, Tanikella Bharani
Director: Trivikram Srinivas
Director Trivikram Srinivas has a distinctive and well-defined filmmaking style among his contemporaries. He uses unique storytelling techniques such as flashbacks, shifting points of view, dialogues loaded with humour, cohesive narration and stories that emphasise urban settings and convey realism. This time too, he has set out to focus on lived-in moments involving primary and secondary characters and tried to integrate them into an engrossing tale but falls short of expectations.
His latest film Agnyaathavaasi featuring Pawan Kalyan is one of those stories that’s not humorous in the first place. The film begins with the killing of father and son duo – business tycoon and AB group CEO Govind Bhargav/Vinda (Boman Irani) and his son Mohan Bhargav. While everyone cryptically suspects the involvement of Sharma (Murali Sharma) and Varma (Rao Ramesh), a devastated Indrani (Khushbu), wife of Vinda, doesn’t wither away and tries to take stock of the situation with the help of her step-son Abhishikth Bhargav (Pawan Kalyan).
Blatantly ripped off from French film Largo Winch, for the most part, Agnyaathavaasi works against its genre as it relies largely on the showman –Pawan Kalyan to save the day. Unfathomably, at times, it becomes an arduous task even for an actor with a gargantuan image to deliver witty one-liners, try to redeem himself but can’t rise above an incoherent script. Interestingly, even the shoddiest stories have at least some high points, but Agnyaathavaasi has none. It’s difficult to understand the very purpose of why it was made as fans are wondering how Trivikram Srinivas could churn out a film that’s so tepid and bland.
The film also offers plenty of gags which seem to be puerile and it’s kind of humour you have seen many a time in several triangle love stories from the 70s and early 80s. You might also wonder why Trivikram doesn’t care to re-shoot all these dreary portions of the film and tweak his script a little to make it a watchable fare.
Agnyaathavaasi is an apt title for this film as Pawan Kalyan hasn’t got an opportunity to unleash his acting prowess and entertain with his trademark swag. The film doesn’t reinvent the wheel for emotional films but it tries hard to engage with some twists to make one feel fresh and new. Of course, the blame has to be shared by Trivikram whose handling of things is mediocre, showing neither creative flair nor control over the screenplay.
The film’s transporting moments are the ones which show the bond between Khushbu and Pawan Kalyan, Boman Irani’s plan B concept, the thread that connects all the dots of Vinda and Mohan’s deaths and Nakula dharmam and the title justification which gets the feel of real Mahabharata.
If there’s anything besides these aspects that bring a smile to your face, I’d say its the conversations between Rao Ramesh and Murali Sharma. And to be frank, even the one featuring Raghu Babu which leads to Kodaka Koteswara Rao song isn’t too awful. These small pleasures bring a huge sigh of relief in an otherwise formatted plot. A potential actor like Aadhi Pinisetty is wasted in a lifeless saga that he may look back at years later and feel like a horrible dream. Boman Irani too doesn’t leave an impact. Tanikella Bharani, Vennela Kishore, Srinivas Reddy, Sampath Raj and Khushbu provided the much-needed fizz to the story.
Starlets Anu Emmanuel and Keerthy Suresh have no story arc of their own and hence they never feel properly incorporated into the plot. Agnyaathavaasi will entertain Pawan Kalyan fans with its powerful interval bang, emotional moments and spine-chilling action sequences, but anyone looking for more than that will be sorely disappointed. Perhaps, it’s time for Pawan Kalyan to go on a ‘temporary’ exile, take a small hiatus, review his work and come back with a bang. His fans definitely deserve more.