Rating: 1/10 (Puts Everybody in Exile)
Cast: Pawan Kalyan, Keerthy Suresh, Anu Emmanuel, Khusboo, Aadhi Pinisetty, Boman Irani, Parag Tyagi, Aditya Menon, Srinivas Reddy, Murali Sharma, Rao Ramesh, Vennela Kishore, Indraja, Tanikella Bharani, Raghu Babu, Jayaprakash, Ajay, Krishna Chaitanya
Original Story: Jerome Salle (Credit not given)
Producer: S. Radhakrishna
Banner: Haarika & Hassine Creations
Pawan Kalyan's Agnyaathavasi was released on January 10th for Sankranthi in 2018. I didn't get a chance to catch the film as there was a colossal amount of negative talk around the film. Wondering whether or not the film was a bad as it is, I decided to check it out for myself. And it was even worse than people had said. Why you ask? Then let's find out in this week's review.
Plot: A plagiarized version of French film Largo Winch, Vindha (Boman Irani) and his son are murdered by an unknown person. This prompts his current wife (Khusboo) to bring his other son whose existence is a secret to the world out of hiding to find out who killed Vindha. And so enters Abhijit Bhargav (Pawan Kalyan) who joins his father's company as a normal employee to find out who killed his father and why.
Performances: Pawan Kalyan is absolutely horrendous in this film. At least films like Sardaar Gabbar Singh and Katamarayudu had a certain intensity to them. In this film, Pawan Kalyan looks and acts like a child. He complains to his assistants crying like a little boy, rides a bike around an office and whips the higher ranking employees, and spends his free times chasing two girls in the most absurd and asinine manner. He should also stop with feminine expressions and at times homosexual acting as well. For a man who has built a fan base around some energetic and emotional performances, it's truly shocking to see he would stoop so low and agree to the director's wishes of him acting like that. This is probably the worst performance from a star hero in a long time and just an absolutely awful showing from the Powerstar. The only part he scores marks in is styling as the costumes chosen are excellent.
Keerthy Suresh and Anu Emmanuel look their glamorous best but they are arguably the worst part of the film and their roles are written so poorly and are performed with the utmost stupidity. Keerthy Suresh is lucky this film came before Mahanati. Anu Emmanuel on the other hand once again proves she can't act at all.
Khusboo has a vital role and she performs well. Murali Sharma and Rao Ramesh's comedy is in the worst taste. Raghu Babu's comedy is even worse. There is nothing funny about sexual harassment in the workplace.
Boman Irani is wasted and so is Indraja. Aadhi Pinisetty is ok as the villain and Parag Tyagi has a good screen presence but cannot act.
The rest of the cast make no impression whatsoever and are just there to fill in the run-time.
Direction: Oh my god Trivikram, yemi cinema teesavu raa nayana (What type of movie have you made)? Trivikram is a director known for his philosophical dialogues, rhyming punches, and flair for situational comedy. He has also proven to adept at balancing action. While he succeeded in making a entertaining family film in Attarintiki Daredi, the quality of content in his films has only been reducing with each film. S/O of Satyamurthy was god awful and A Aa was passable despite a tripe 2nd half and it being a freemake of both Attarintiki Daredi and yesteryear film Meena. Trivikram failed to acknowledge that he adapted Meena and in Agnyaathavasi, plagiarism has a new meaning. Trivikram has ripped off a French action film called Largo Winch for this film it's about a heir coming out of exile and avenging his father's death. While it sounds exciting on paper, the execution is gruesome. While the action sequences are handled well, nothing else works in the film. Usually in a film you have one scene that lifts the spirits and makes you say wow or has some meaning. Unfortunately, Agnyaathavasi has none of those. Every single scene is tiresome and tedious and tests your patience. Instead of making a racy screenplay, Trivikram wrote a non-existent one with idiotic scenes, illogical sequences, and terrible comedy. A plot like this in Telugu could have handled very well and been action packed but unfortunately, the action isn't exciting nor is the story itself. Largo Winch also has a 50% on RottenTomatoes so it's questionable as to why Trivikram chose to plagiarize this film. This film from start to finish is a colossal failure and Trivikram should take full responsibility for making such a insipid film in the first place. To add to your woes, there are terribly placed and picturized songs and a feminine Pawan Kalyan throughout the film. Trivikram, there's nowhere for you to hide so called Maatala Mantrikudu. Perhaps Sollu Darsakudu (Nonsense Director) would be a more apt name after this film.
Technicalities: Music and BGM by ANirudh Ravichander in his Telugu debut is fantastic. However, the songs are brutally picturized and choreographed in the film, essentially rendering their impact from useful to useless in seconds. Cinematography by renowned cameraman V.Manikandan is outstanding. The film is visually rich and the shots are spectacular in certain instances. Production Design by AS Prakash is very good for the office set. Editing by Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao is an absolute joke. I actually feel bad that this man had to put this nonsense together. At 158 minutes, Agnyaathavasi feels like never ending torture. Fights by Ravi Verma are excellent but their impact is low considering the flow of the film. Dialogues by Trivikram have no impact this time around. Instead they test your patience with useless idioms, comparisons, and pitta kathalu (short stories). Production Values by S. Radhakrishna are extraordinary but he wasted it on the wrong film. Also, Haarika Hassine Creations had a disastrous pre-release and marketing campaign and tested the patience of Pawan Kalyan fans severely and the end result is a film like this. Proper planning and buzz is required for a big film like this and the production house failed on both accounts in every way possible.
+ Production Values and Music
- EVERYTHING ELSE
Final Take and Analysis: Agnyaathavasi was billed as the ultimate grand send-off for Pawan Kalyan as he ventures into politics full time. After reuniting with Trivikram, the man who gave him two of the biggest hits in his career, fans and the general audience expected fireworks. Sadly, there are no fireworks and not even the slightest trace of a match or flickering light. Agnyaathavasi from start to finish is a colossal failure in every respect. This is a prime example of how to not make a film.
The film opens up with Boman Irani and a sequence that keeps you interested. Immediately Pawan Kalyan's introduction follows and you have a nice song in Dhaga Dhaga Maney. From there everything goes downhill. Pawan kidnapping Vennela Kishore and using his identoty, a man entering a place as a common man where he is actually rich, a murder mystery being investigated by the cops, and the villains looking for the remaining son, all these things have been seen n number of times before.
Pawan looks to take revenge on Rao Ramesh and Murali Sharma so he hatches a plan to trap both of their daughters and make them fall in love with the. To do so, he sits on stools in bathroom, visits dance ashrams, and spends his free time stalking them and doing idiotic things in between. This is all going on as the "entertainment" portion of the main story. In totality, nothing works.
The interval bang is nice and well shot but post interval the film goes downhill once again.
Sample of illogical sequences in the film:
1) Pawan Kalyan enters the ladies bathroom and he sees Anu Emmanuel. He goes to the LADIES bathroom again and he sees Keerthy Suresh. Ok, first of all why did he go to the ladies bathroom in the first place? And why were the girls ok with a man being in the ladies bathroom? Does Trivikram not know that the ladies bathroom is essentially a forbidden place for men?
2) Pawan Kalyan decides torture Rao Ramesh and Murali Sharma. He thinks it will be fun to ride a bike around in the office and chase them. This sequences for about a good 5-7 minutes and he holds a belt in his mouth and rides around. He also plays around with his hair and the people in the office enjoy it. Also Raghu Babu slaps the asses of several women in the workplace and he finds it to be enjoyable. Why wouldn't anybody in the workplace file a case against him for sexual harassment? Really Trivikram? Really?
3) The ACP (Sampath Raj) tells the flashback story of Vinda by looking at a picture of him. The two never even met yet he knows his whole life story! Amazing! Trivikram hats off brother
4) Anu Emmaniel and Keerthy Suresh are talking and they proceed to slap each other in the face and have a catfight and this is supposed to be entertaining or comedy.
If you can bear to stand witness to the aforementioned sequences, then watch Agnyaathaavasi by all means. This film is so bad that is makes disaster contemporaries Sardaar Gabbar Singh, Brahmotsavam, and Spyder look like classics. Each and every scene is bad and not even Pawan Kalyan is likable in this film. At least Sardaar Gabbar Singh and Katamrayudu had some mass worthy moments. This film has none.
Overall, Agnyaathavasi puts anybody who watches the film in exile. Horrendous performances, insipid direction, illogical sequences and terrible music are the highlights of this film. It's a rare case of a film where not even a single scene works or makes an impact. It ranks among the worst Telugu films ever made and is definitely the worst star hero Telugu film ever made. Even if you are a die hard fan of the Powerstar, skip this one as you might question your sanity after it's over.