Sree Vishnu is one such young actor, who is quickly finding his space in Telugu cinema. He has now arrived with Bhala Thandanana, a twisted crime thriller that is neither new nor fascinating. The film is absurdly mounted and the viewing gets tedious owing to its predictability and boring execution that one would have to figure out as to what to make of this Chaitanya Dantuluri directorial!
Chandrasekhar aka Chandu (Sree Vishnu) works as an accountant at Dayamayam orphanage where he gets to meet an investigative journalist, Sasirekha (Catherine Tresa), who sets out on a mission to discover information of public interest. In the process, she digs into the mystery behind a series of murders and discovers that Anand Bali (Garuda Ram) is the culprit behind these brutal killings. She also gets the shock of her life after she finds out the other side of Chandu. But who is Chandu, and what does he have to do with Sasirekha and Anand Bali form the crux of the film.
Bhala Thandana is plagued with pacing issues, underwhelming action sequences and an unimaginative screenplay that gets to the heart of the plot only halfway through the film. Even then, we don’t get to know the character of Chandu in a deep or personal way that we may not genuinely root for him.
That’s an awful lot of time to waste on an uninspiring romantic track between Chandu and Sasirekha. There’s also a vapid track between Chandu and his techie roommate (Sathya), who daunts the former every time he shares his feelings for Sasirekha. Ironically, Sasirekha and Sathya are the only two people who haven’t figured out the rage of Chandu.
The idea of Bhala Thandana may probably sound great on paper but doesn’t translate as effectively to the screen, with over-dramatic and preachy lines about journalist ethics and compassion. The problem, however, is with the script, which spends more time establishing and repeatedly showcasing the soft side of Chandu, instead of fleshing out his Basha-like flashback at the center of the story.
As it turns out, the best thing about Bhala Thandana is Posani Krishna Murali, who shows up as Dayamayam, the chairman of the orphanage and also the film’s comical villain with a crazy laugh. In one scene, he sends his goons to catch Chandu but becomes a victim of the latter’s viswaroopam. Next, he kidnaps Sasirekha and Sathya, but he gets fooled by Chandu and ends up at the hands of Anand Bali. Had the film taken itself so seriously like Posani’s character, it might not have felt like such a slog.
Despite its problems, Bhala Thandana is an improvement on the last film (Arjuna Phalguna) Vishnu has worked on recently. However, it’s neither as tacky as Gaali Sampath nor as entertaining as Raja Raja Chora. There are a few moments of inspired humour, like the scenes between Posani and Vishnu.
Vishnu, fully aware of his strengths and of what the audience expects from him, is in decompressed mode. He lets himself go with an uninhibited turn that showcases his fearlessness as an actor. It’s a pity that he is trapped in a senseless, inconceivably embarrassing film like this that does no justice to his acting prowess. Catherine Tresa does justice to the role of Sasirekha, while Sathya is overexposed in the films that his innocence and grin are no longer funny. Garuda Ram is reduced to a mere caricature and doesn’t hold the fort in his brief portrayal. Mani Sharma’s music and background score disappoint big time.
Overall, Bhala Thandana has the potential, but it feels unmistakably dull and tedious.
Cast: Sree Vishnu, Catherine Tresa, Posani Krishna Murali, Garuda Ram
Director: Chaitanya Dantuluri