One Soldier. Battles Galore4 min read


Prince Mahesh Babu’s latest Sainikudu is a mishmash of the
worst kind, replete with hackneyed scenes, dialogues, monologues,
situations, fights, songs and special EFXs.

Interestingly the prized talent of Indian Cinema adds their might
to this mishmash. The who’s who list include Trisha, Prakash Raj,
Irfan Khan, Paruchuri brothers, Peter Hein, Harris Jayraj..and the
gang leaders-Aswani Dutt and Gunasekhar. Well, getting all these
big names to work together is a history of sorts. But, the movie
itself might be in danger of becoming a history-a thing of past-at
the box-office pretty soon.

Coming back to the mishmash. How could you possibly make
mishmash worse?

Sainikudu seems to offer a step-by-step guide by mounting
every borrowed aspect of cinema on a huge canvass. Let it be
a simple scene where the friends discuss their next move against
a sprawling city skyline or when the heroine fancies herself with
a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon act in a thick jungle-both are
set in enviable surroundings. And, you know what? Both these
scenes are digitally touched to international standards.

Now, if the producer-director duo has taken such a ‘meticulous
care’ with simple scenes would they desert the all-important songs
and action sequences? Nope! They summon dolphins in the clouds
and make fishes swim in the air in a dream song. And they spread
the battlefield of their Sainikudu with mines and bridges-both
ready to get blasted.

In the midst of all though, they forgot some minor details like
getting an original score from Harris Jayraj or providing some
rationale for the hero to perform the rescue acts in the battlefield
or alteast clarify on the geography. This leaves the star Mahesh Babu
and his character in the movie hanging in the air, rather literally.
In the end, though he effortlessly comes victorious as a video-game
warrior on screen, he makes us wonder if there are any battles off
screen. Here are a few of them.

For starters, he is up against a weak script. The word script is
almost a misnomer in the cinema these days, so let’s call it a thread
around a central idea that joins all those myriad of scenes, action
sequences, songs and loads of special EFX. And that’s hard to find
in the movie. Right from the beginning of the movie the hero is
hurled into every possible danger and he comes unscathed almost
like a Bhakta Prahlada amidst weak representation of the
Hiranyakashyapa, Lord Vishnu and Prahlada’s devotion.

Drawing parallels to Sainikudu, Irfan Khan/Prakash Raj, Hero’s
mission and Hero’s angst/his desire are not etched out properly.
If this is not enough, you have a very unusual love quadrangle
between Irfan Khan, Trisha, Mahesh Babu and Mahesh Babu’s
mission. So, every time he gets into fight, or engages in a duel
with Irfan Khan/Trisha the normal cinegoers heave a sigh, while
the nicotine friendly/bladder weak take a stroll into the park.

Second, he battles cinegoer’s ‘Hey-we-have-seen-it-somewhere’
and ‘Hey-where-is-Mahesh’s-trademark-stuff’ syndromes. A dozen
movies like Aparichutudu, Rang De Basanti, Yuva, Okkadu, etc.,
form the first syndrome. Recent blockbusters like Athadu and
Pokiri result in the second. And Sainikudu does not succeed in
getting rid of these syndromes through out the movie. When it
comes to first syndrome it goes overboard and with the second,
it falls short.

Third, he faces the mother of all battles-ala Frankenstein-the hype
that’s been unleashed by the makers. Right from the audio launch
the movie grabbed news headlines and as a result the expectations
soared. Now how could anyone match the expectations of people
who haven’t sampled the product yet? This becomes a Herculean
mission even for a broad shouldered, successful star like Mahesh Babu.

The makers should have taken some inspiration from UTV’s
Web 2.0 kind of marketing style of Rang De Basanti that encouraged
and involved target community participation. UTV first let the community
lap up the film and then made them talk, rather than resort to a
broadcast to everyone kind. Sadly, Sainikudu’s makers adopt the
second. This once again alludes to a weak script and the central idea
going for a toss.

While the box-office fate of Sainikudu has not emerged yet,
one thing seems certain. Prince Mahesh Babu has to overcome a
roadblock or two before he is crowned as the King of Tollywood.

And there are a zillion of cinegoers who want to seen him as the King soon.
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