Movie: Babu Bangaram
Cast: Venkatesh, Nayanthara
The popular proverb "Too many cooks spoil the broth" has never assumed as much significance for a Telugu film as it did for Venkatesh's latest film Babu Bangaram. The film is a haphazard mess with an army of comedians and a mashed-up storyline. Director Maruthi had raised expectations after last year's delightful laughter-riot Bhale Bhale Mogadivoi (BBM). Unfortunately, he goes way off the mark with Babu Bangaram.
Like in BBM, where the lead protagonist has a problem of Mathi Marupu (memory loss), Babu Bangaram tells the story of a Jaali (sympathetic) cop, ACP Krishna (Venkatesh). Krishna inherits his sympathetic nature from his grandfather, and even though he's a police officer, he's overwhelmed by pity and cannot bear to see people suffer. As a cop, he beats up goons but later pays for their treatment out of sympathy for them. Shailaja (Nayanthara) is being blackmailed by a bunch of goons who threaten to harm her family if she doesn't give up the location of her father, who has gone into hiding after procuring evidence that can implicate a powerful politician and a gangster. When Krishna overhears this conversation, he decides to meet Shailaja as a civilian and help her out. Shailaja is attracted to his sympathetic and helpful nature and the two of them fall in love. What happens when Shailaja finds out Krishna's real identity? Why her father is a wanted by both the police and criminals, and what happens when the truth comes out -- makes for the rest of the story.
In the first hour, Babu Bangaram's only intention is to make the audience laugh. The humour is so forced that it becomes a bit repulsive after a point. Venkatesh is surrounded by a gang of comedians, including Vennela Kishore, Brahmaji and Prudhvi Raj, who all have a crack at it, but fail to tickle the funny bone. In fact the humour involving Prudhvi Raj, who plays Baththayi Babji, is crass and cringe-worthy.
The screenplay is an absolute mess. Songs jerk the narrative, meaningless scenes are pumped in without any relevance, fight sequences are in abundance and the story is non-existent. Even the climax seems to be hurriedly shot, almost as if the makers decided to quickly wrap it up before a deadline.
The most disappointing feature in Babu Bangaram is that the director butchered a promising idea. The idea of a sympathetic cop had tremendous comic potential, especially with Venkatesh in the lead. Unfortunately, the director doesn't even stay true to this character. The sympathetic side to him is shown only in parts in the first hour, but he later transforms into the stereotypical daredevil cop, who bashes up goons with disdain. Had Maruthi shown more of his sympathetic disorder than his biceps and fighting skills, Babu Bangaram would've made for a much better watch.
Venkatesh is the only bright spot in this disappointing snooze fest. The actor's comic timing is spot on and he's extremely likeable as ACP Krishna. Nayanthara has a meaty role and pulls it off well. Vennela Kishore stands out in the army of comedians. Posani is a bit over-the-top, while Brahmanandam is yet again wasted in a poorly-written character. Sampath fits the part as the antagonist.
With a wafer-thin plotline and forced humour, Babu Bangaram is dull and directionless. At the end of the film, the viewers feel like chanting Venkatesh's punchline in the film -- Ayyo Ayyo Ayyayyo!