Director: Shankar Dayal
Cast: Karthi, Prakash Raj, Pranitha, Nasser, Radhika, Kiran and others
Ever wondered how a 21st century Shakuni would look like? Well, he is no oldie with a beard and hunch back and he is not even a villain! And if he is in a movie, he is probably the most good-looking one, taking all the screen space, every single minute. He knows his moves, be it with the ladies or the baddies. Karthi’s 'Shakuni' is a decent watch. It is a political satire, more comical than normal comedy movies, which is also perhaps, the reason why an otherwise nice movie remains a mere entertainer.
The movie starts off with an evidently serious political issue, reminding you of scenes from Leader or Athadu, with Prakash Raj playing the politico and by the end, as expected, the hero emerges victorious against him. Even then, he is called Shakuni and not Krishna. Wonder why. And, don’t be surprised if Karthi reminds you a lot of Venkatesh. The resemblance is uncanny.
Coming to the plot, Kamal Krishna (Karthi), a simple guy from a town somewhere near Kakinada, comes to Hyderabad in a bid to save his ancestral property which is set to be demolished for a railway track. Who is behind this? Of course, the politician. Kamal's efforts go in vain as he is betrayed by politicians, his maternal aunt and many more.
He even pays a visit to the Chief Minister (Prakash Raj) who, yes, as expected, tells him how he is the dictator of the state and points out, “dabbulu isthene, janalu vote vesaru” (votes are bought). A dejected Kamal decides that gaining political power is the only way to save his property. Insulted and frustrated, he suddenly gets enlightened and goes to Ramanakka (Radhika), a roadside idli vendor, who doubles up as a money lender, and asks her to become the corporator.
Though realising she is a puppet, prajala kosam (for the people), she accepts the offer and goes on to become the mayor. Suddenly, there is a new character, Kota Srinivas Rao, the opposition party leader, who becomes the puppet again, makes common people the face of his party and becomes the Chief Minister.
The movie might have a decent chance at the box-office because of the absence of any new big releases. Karthi looks decent and shoulders the movie till the end. The first half is a big let down and the story does not move forward much. The non-linear narration can actually get a little boring. The second half picks up pace and is entertaining. The satires on the political class and the chess game between the opposing political parties might work well with the audience.
But, somehow, movie makers still do not realise that heroines can be a strong part of a movie. Pranitha’s role is wasted, and she does not even have enough scope to dance. The songs are mere speed breakers and their placement in the movie is artificial, to say the least. Cinematography is okay and the visuals are quite refreshing. Even the music is a big let down. Two-and-a-half hours definitely feel a little longer and mocking at the political class, though good in parts, appears routine, looking much like a news hour debate.
Verdict: The only thing you will remember after you walk out of the theatre is Karthi’s face. And the rest somehow fades away.