Movies are a great medium to not only captures the imagination of the audience but also to educate them about prevalent issues. Some films, while telling a story, also inspire us to live a bit differently and help transform our beliefs. However, there also those that lack passion and fail in the attempt. Mahesh Babu's 25th film Maharshi, unfortunately, falls into this latter category.
The story pivots around K Rishi Kumar (Mahesh Babu), a disgruntled man with little taste for slogging to support a middle-class life. He grows up with the fear of failure, but works his way up to become the CEO of a New York-based techno giant. During his journey, he realises that he's lost three important people in his life and so, he decides to follow his heart in the hope of turning over a new leaf.
On the face of it, director Vamshi Paidipally had an opportunity to create a compelling drama about a go-getter, who changes his perceptions about his people, his roots, and his own goals in life. He has chosen a relevant theme and a perfect star cast too. But the perfunctory screenplay brings down the film, which tackles the problems plaguing the agricultural sector. Although some of these issues are addressed the narration is bereft of honesty. The director seems to have borrowed the narrative style from Koratala Siva and created an unusual cocktail of Swades, 3 Idiots, Kaththi and Srimanthudu. The clunky romantic track between Mahesh and Pooja Hegde feels underdeveloped (as evidenced by their first meeting, match-making scene and the scenes that follow) and the uninteresting songs only slacken the movie's pace.
I don't want to give away too much, and hence can't detail how this film ditches the interesting potential of its premise and gets too idealistic, preachy and predictable in the second hour. Suffice it to say, with a running time of almost three hours, the journey of Rishi is way too long and demands much patience on our part, with little to offer as reward.
Mahesh Babu plays a character that becomes more complex as the plot thickens. His agitated relationship with his father (Prakash Raj), his impulsiveness, and flawless persona until the climax makes it hard for us to empathise with this character. However, the actor performs with his usual flair in a role that barely challenges him as an actor. Allari Naresh as Rishi's roommate and well-wisher makes his presence felt with a subdued performance. Rao Ramesh, Prakash Raj and Jayasudha added gravitas to their respective roles. Jagapathi Babu is reduced to a mere caricature, but Vennela Kishore, Sai Kumar and Rajeev Kanakala leave an impression in their brief appearances.
KU Mohanan's cinematography is beautiful, while Devi Sri Prasad's music and background score are ordinary.
At the end of it all, despite its best intentions, Maharshi fails to drive home its point. It is disappointing that Vamshi Paidipally, who has delivered compelling dramas like Brindavanam and Oopiri, has only managed to whip up this inspid cocktail of melodrama, which will likely appeal to Mahesh Babu fans alone.
Director: Vamshi Paidipally
Rating: 2.5 stars