Rating: 7/10 (Complicated yet Hysterical)
Cast: Nagarjuna, Trisha, Mamata Mohandas, Srihari, Deepak, Geetha, Brahmanandam, Sunil, MS Narayana, Krishna Bhagawan, Jayaprakash Reddy, Ajay, Surya, Chandra Mohan, Sayaji Shinde, Venu Madhav, Master Bharath, Fish Venkat, Duvvasi Mohan
Screenplay-Direction: Sreenu Vaitla
Story: Gopi Mohan and Kona Venkat
Music: Devi Sri Prasad
Producer: D Siva Prasad Reddy
Banner: Kamakshi Kala Movies.
Released for Christmas 2008, Akkineni Nagarjuna teamed up with comedy entertainer specialist Sreenu Vaitla for King. The film was a super hit overall and remains one of Nag's and Vaitla's best movies in their careers. What made it good? Let's find out in this time travelling review to the past.
Plot: When Raja Chandra Pratap Varma aka King (Nagarjuna) goes missing, his family searches for his whereabouts. A few months later, a man who looks just like King named Bottu Seenu (Nagarjuna) is a goon who conducts business in his own style. What happened to King and who is Bottu Seenu forms the rest of the plot.
Performances: Nagarjuna gets the chance to do 3 roles in this movie as King, Bottu Seenu, and Sharath. Comedy is something that he;s not used to and it's well known that Nag's screen presence and charisma speak more than his acting skills. However, it's a refreshing change to see him come out of his comfort zone and do comedy. His comic timing in the movie is splendid throughout the movie. Credit should go to Sreenu Vaitla for bringing out this angle. He looks regal and dashing as the King, intimidating and entertaining as Bottu Seenu, and hysterical as Sharath. It would be unfair to call it his show through and through, but Nagarjuna's trademark charm and elements are present all over as the main lead.
Trisha as the main heroine is adequate. She gets solid screen time overall. Mamta Mohandas is decent.
As with any Sreenu Vaitla movie, the comedians are usually the real heroes and the same goes for King. Brahmanandham is downright hilarious as Jayasurya, a music composer who is known for plagiarism and sexual harassment of female singers. Supposedly a spoof of late music director Chakri, Brahmi's trademark expressions and comic timing are on full display as this arrogant music director. The scenes with him and Srihari are extremely funny and make for a laugh riot.
The late Srihari gets arguably his career best role after Dhee as Gnaneshwar, a rowdy whose passion is drawing horrendous painting and thinking they're the greatest art in this world. The scene with child artist Bharat and the dog are so funny. Bharat in particular makes a great impression as the painting teacher and shines in his cameo.
The late and great Venu Madhav is extremely funny as Srihari's sidekick and always finds himself in a terrible situations that leads to him getting beaten up.
Perhaps the real hero of the movie however is Sreenivas Reddy. As Jayasurya's assistant, his punches and comic timing are sharper than a katana. All of his scenes and dialogue are comedic gold.
Sunil as Sharath is equally as funny as a man whose identity gets stolen by Nag. The innocence and cluelessness of the character adds a lot of entertainment to the movie. The late AVS garu also has a cameo as Sunil's boss and he is hysterical as well in the office scene.
Jayaprakash Reddy, Krishna Bhagawan, and Sayaji Shinde as the evil relatives are adequate. Arjan Bajwa as King's brother is ok.
The rest of the cast who play the villains and King's relatives are fine.
Direction: Sreenu Vaitla is the master of telling the most implausible stories with the greatest finesse and making them massively entertaining. With King, he succeeds once again. Every Sreenu Vaitla movie has a certain formula which is the hero usually goes to the villain's house posing as someone else and the comedians get caught up in this game of lies that plays out. The only addition to the formula is the character of King and the flashback that comes with. It adds a lot of mass elements and chance for twists. The story however is extremely convoluted and complicated which results in the movie being more than 3 hours and drags in the end and the villains of the movie are very weak. As with any Vaitla movie, the comedians usually do most of the heavy lifting and the same goes for King. In addition to Nag, Brahmanandam, Srihari, Venu Madhav, Sunil, and Srinivas Reddy all have extremely entertaining roles and great comedic scenes that last the entirety of the movie. They keep you entertained for the most part with their antics. The direction of the movie is good but only during the comedic sequences. The final portions of the movie drags. Overall, Sreenu Vaitla does a good job of making sure the movie stays afloat with hilarious comedy sequences throughout the movie that keep you entertained for the most part.
Technicalities: Music and BGM by Devi Sri Prasad is average. The songs aren't the best but one or two register. The BGM is adequate. The much hyped om Shanti Om inspired song Nuvvu Ready Nenu Ready is a disappointment on screen to be honest. Cinematography by Prasad Murella is rich and vibrant. Dialogues by BVS Ravi deserve a special mention. Some are hysterical especially all of Srinivas Reddy's dialogues. Choreography is below average. Art Direction by AS Prakash is excellent as always. The location of the Bangalore Palace as King's house adds a lot of grandeur to the movie, Costumes and Styling are superb. Editing by MR Varma is not good. There's a lot of lag towards the end of the 2nd half and the movie clocks it at more than 3 hours. Fights by Ram Lakshman are good. Production Values by D Siva Prasad Reddy are extravagant. King looks rich and grand on screen.
+ Srinivas Reddy
- Convoluted Story
Analysis and Final Take: Sreenu Vaitla was on a red hot streak during this time fresh off Dhee and Dubai Seenu and naturally expectations for King were high when working with a star hero like Nagarjuna. It's safe to say Vaitla passes with flying colors and delivers an entertainer than will have you in splits more often than not.
The movie starts off in a very interesting way and picks up once Bottu Seenu enters the story. Nag exudes mass in this role and provides a lot of entertainment. The first half is excellent with rib tickling comedy and situations.
The 2nd half starts off well but then becomes very convoluted and drags towards the end. It's here where we see the typical Sreenu Vaitla formula. The final conclusion provides all the answers you're looking for about what happened to King.
Overall, King is a complicated yet hysterical comedy entertainer from Sreenu Vaitla. Despite the lagging final portions and length, he manages to extracts superb performances from Nagarjuna, Brahmanandham Srihari, Sunil, and Srinivas Reddy who will keep you entertained for most of the the narrative. If you're looking for a good old comedy entertainer from the past, King gets the job done and just right.