2022 had been a low year for Chiranjeevi, the actor, who isn’t prone to much criticism in his illustrious career. The Megastar of Telugu cinema has been caught in the eye of a storm for his choice of scripts after the debacle of Acharya. And then, we witness God Father, an official adaptation of Mohanlal’s 2019 Malayalam action drama Lucifer. The revenge drama, in a sense, is filled with high-octane action blocks and some solid surprises, including a crucial cameo from Bollywood superstar Salman Khan as Masoom Bhai.
Coming to the story, the death of Chief Minister PKR (Sarvadaman D Banerjee) has his party looking for his successor. PKR’s son-in-law and his party’s IT wing in charge Jayadev (Satyadev Kancharana) wants to lobby for the top chair by pooling funds, albeit illegally, and also wants to wrest power while pushing his vested interests with the help of the drug mafia based in Mumbai. However, there’s one man destined to shatter his dreams and stand as an obstacle — Brahma (Chiranjeevi).
Set in the backdrop of politics, God Father comes as a breath of fresh air for Chiranjeevi, who is known for his commercial potboilers. Chiranjeevi, with his inimitable style and swag, carries the film on his strong shoulders and delivers a knockout punch. Without actually throwing too much light on the demise of PKR, God Father—unlike its original —sharpens its focus by concentrating on the contemporary socio-political scenario. The first half clearly establishes the characters, with God Father’s refusal to bow down to the star image of its leading man. When the high-voltage action sequence or a mass moment arrives, Chiru does it so in his typical style, but his character arc saves it from being projected as an over-the-top tribute to his huge mass appeal.
When Brahma steps into the party meetings to share his opinion, he is confident and has pointers when it’s time for him to open up. It’s quite refreshing to see Chiranjeevi as Brahma because a star and someone who has thrashed a dozen guys barely a scene ago, but inside the party office meeting or inside the jail—an environment he has never expected to be a part of—he is perfectly Brahma, the once dreaded gangster Qureshi, who is as dangerous as a lion that’s waiting calmly for its prey.
The confrontation scenes between Brahma-Jayadev/Brahma-Narayana Varma (Murli Sharma) and the skirmish between Brahma and an honest investigative journalist Govardhan (Puri Jagannadh) display a confident Chiranjeevi, something that we haven’t seen in his last project. When a mass hero like Chiranjeevi talks less and acts with his eyes, then the sky’s the limit and it is where director Mohan Raja has succeeded to the fullest.
In stark contrast to Brahma is his nemesis Jayadev, whose character is pretty much an embodiment of evil. Satyadev is undoubtedly loud, but in a few scenes, he has outshined Chiranjeevi that we hate him. It would be an exaggeration to say that all the characters and all the scenes in the film have a purpose and have worked like a charm. There is attention to the smallest details in God Father, like the art direction, the lighting, and particularly Nirav Shah’s intuitive camera that knows just how to capture the lovely yet sombre mood of a few scenes. S Thaman’s beautiful songs and captivating background score add another layer of feeling to the riveting revenge drama here. It’s a film that’s so close to perfection with small lapses that come as convenient coincidences in the plot.
All the actors delivered pitch-perfect performances. But it was Chiranjeevi’s show all the way. The way he carried his own charisma, energy, swag, and mass appeal is just brilliant. Murli Sharma deftly marries a power-hungry politician’s vulnerability with the naivety of a helpless leader who believes he is entitled to become the Chief Minister of the state. Satyadev, playing a power-obsessed antagonist and unyielding in equal measure is a delight to watch.
He springs a surprise with his adept performance but has to work more on his diction as we find it difficult to understand his dialogues in a few instances. Shifting seamlessly from feisty to fragile to bitter, Nayanthara delivers a deeply heartfelt performance that feels mature beyond her years. Salman Khan makes an impact in his limited screen time. Overall, God Father is a feast for Chiranjeevi fans, who have been longing to watch the actor in him for years now. Watch it definitely for the Megastar, who delivers enough bang for your buck!
Cast: Chiranjeevi, Nayanthara, Satyadev, Salman Khan
Director: Mohan Raj
Rating: 3.5/5 stars