The much awaited day has finally arrived. Allu Arjun is back after a 1.5 year gap with his latest movie Ala Vaikuntapuram Lo directed by Trivikram Srinivas. Starring Pooja Hegde as the heroine, the films songs Samajavaragamana and Raamulo Raamula have created immense buzz for the family entertainer. Does the film have more in store than just blockbuster songs? Let's find out in this review.
Plot: An incident between a millionaire (Jayaram) and his employee Valmiki (Murali Sharma) causes two newborn children to experience very different lives from opposite economic spectrums.
Performances: After a gap 1.5 years, Stylish Star Allu Arjun roars back onto the silver screen and delivers one of his career best performances. The character of Bantu is someone who is righteous and cares about his family more than anything and the various emotions of empathy, relief, lust, and love are all captured brilliantly. His performance in the emotional scenes is very good and of course the film allow him to shine in the dance departments. He is flawless and as graceful as ever in Butta Bomma and Raamulo Raamula. It's his show from start to finish and a feast for Allu Arjun after a long gap. Gap teesukoledu, vachindi anthe. Kaani timing lo mathram gap vundadu.
After Allu Arjun, it's Murali Sharma who gets a meaty role and is simply outstanding in his role as Valmiki. It's a very complex character to pull off with so many shades but the veterans actor pulls it off effortlessly. The funny body language to the protruding mouth and unique dialogue delivery, it's almost feels as if he's another hero of the movie. All his combination scenes with Allu Arjun are a delight to watch and this easily ranks as one of his career best performances as well.
Pooja Hedge as the heroine has a very limited role but looks so gorgeous as Amulya. Besides having her legs objectified the entire movie, she doesn't have much to do.
Tabu and Jayaram as the wealthy couple are adequate.
Sachin Khedhekar also gets a solid role after a long time and does well in the climax.
The movie has a massive star cast but quite frankly every single person is wasted starting with Sushanth all the way down to the ever reliable Rahul Ramakrishna. This includes Nivetha Pethuraj, Rajendra Prasad, Samuthirakani, Vennela Kishore, Sunil, Navdeep, Ajay, Harshavardhan, Brahmaji, Tanikella Bharani, Rohini, and Chammak Chandra.
Lastly, there's a special appearance by a very famous Telugu celebrity in Raamulo Raamulo in a blink and miss cameo.
Direction: After Aravinda Sametha, so called Maatalu Mantrikudu Trivikram Srinivas is back with Ala Vaikuntapuram Lo. It's safe to say he gets the job done and does what's required and expected of him. His movies usually feature large families with problems and a savior who comes to rescue them all and their internal demons and how all ends happy. Since Attarintiki Daredi, the director seems to be stuck in a time loop when he keeps remaking the same movie over and over again. Yet for his adequacy, that seems to be enough for the audience. He reuses the same template from Attarintiki for this film also and it's basically Allu Arjun's version of that film. The difference here is that the father son relationship and conflict is explored more in depth and the catalyst for the entire story and motives are revealed within the first 10 mins of the movie. He cut down on the punch praasa mightily and his classic philosophical touch is present throughout this movie. He falters in the story and comedy departments as the film rarely has any highs and doesn't have much rib tickling comedy. The romantic track is also repulsive as he objectifies a woman's legs the entire time and it's so illogically depicted Pooja falls for Bantu. However, the screenplay never lags and moves at a brisk pace which is pretty much the savior of this film. It's not a new story but Trivikram plays to his strengths in dialogues and human emotions and succeeds in making AVPL a breezy watch.
Technicalities: Music and BGM by Thaman S is OUTSTANDING. Starting from the musical album itself, all people could talk about was Thaman's work and how good all the songs were to listen. This ranks among his best works, if not his best and he completely reinvents himself in AVL and delivers a scintillating background score. His score and music are easily one of the backbones of the entire movie. Cinematography by PS Vinod is phenomenal. This movie is a visual feast and features many bright colors, grand houses, and beautiful locations and Vinod garu has captured everything in such a stunning fashion. Editing by Navin Nooli is fine. There is barely any lag in the film. Production Design by AS Prakash is WORLD CLASS. One of the most underrated technicians in TFI, the Production Designer's work for the Vaikuntapuram House set or Murali Sharma's house for Pooja's office is simply breathtaking. Butta Bomma's set in particular is a visual delight in every regard and full credit goes to him for making such a beautiful and appealing design that is pleasing to the eyes. Costumes are excellent. Fights by Ram Lakshman are questionable. They also worked on Sarileru yet the impact between the two is miles apart in my opinion. They're placed at the right intervals but the gravity defying aspect and unrealistic presentation ruined their impact. Lastly, Production Values by Haarika Hassine and Geetha Arts are magnificent. AVPL is probably the most visually rich movie in Allu Arjun's career. Each and every frame is dipped in bright colors.
+ Allu Arjun
+ Pooja Hegde
+ Production Values
- Routine and Predictable Story
- No High Moments
- Cringeworthy Romantic Track
Final Take and Analysis: Since Naa Peru Surya, Allu Arjun took a break. The break spiralled into a 1l5 gap where he was missing from the silver screen. Initially intending to remake Sonu Ke Titu Ke Sweety, he changed course and decided to go ahead with a lighthearted film Trivikram narrated to him and the result is Ala Vaikuntapuram Lo. And it's safe to say the decision paid off.
Simply put, Ala Vaikuntapuram Lo is a solid family entertainer from Trivikram and Allu Arjun that never bores you.
The film opens up with a pivotal sequence and and from that moment itself, you know how the rest will unfold and how it will end. Yet the saying goes that you can make the same story an unlimited number of times but it's the execution that matters at the end of the day. And the same can be said for AVL.
The first half of the film tries to build the story, whatever little is there and takes it's time introducing other characters and sequences that are reminiscent of many old Trivikram films such as the office warning scene from Attarintiki Daredi. You get a repeat here with Allu Arjun and Bhramaji. The interval bang is predictable and ends the half on a high to an extent.
The 2nd half is where the real fun begins and most of the logical loopholes are handled well by Trivikram for the majority of the 2nd half. Right when you feel there is some lag, there is an office meeting scene where Allu Arjun dances to all the other Telugu heroes songs. This is probably the only highlight scene of the movie. And it's a laugh riot with Allu Arjun in full form here. Raamulo Ramula follows shortly after and an action filled pre climax and highly emotional climax end the movie on a feel good note.
The films flaws are many such as how could Sachin Khedekar be Tabu's dad, and how in the world is such a romantic track that objectifies Pooja's legs supposed to be romantic. It's high time Telugu film makers stop making these dumbass romantic tracks and be a little more creative. It's not funny or believable whatsoever.
The biggest one however is that the film's story and direction doesn't allow for any high's in the movie.
The direction is very plain and the movie moves on a plain graph. Besides the office scene and possibly the pre climax fight, AVL doesn't have hilarious comedy or a pulsating narrative to take it to the next level.
But the pace of the film somehow works for it and besides this major flaw, it never bores you and entertains you for the most part which seems to be the key to its success.
Allu Arjun is clearly having fun and this is by far Trivikram's best movie since Attarintiki Daredi and these two factors push the movie over the finish line. And as mentioned before, that adequacy seems to be enough for the audience to enjoy the movie.
Overall, Ala Vaikuntapuram Lo is a breezy family entertainer that features one of Allu Arjun's best performances and has a brisk pace that never bores you. Allu Arjun, the music, cinematography, and decent entertainment are the plus points of the this family entertainer. It's been a long time since a star hero did a family movie and it's a feast for Allu Arjun fans. If you're looking for some good family fun, then definitely go and watch it.