Rating: 6/10 (Bromance carries Soulless film)
Cast: Nani, Akkineni Nagarjuna, Rashmika Mandanna, Aakansha Singh, Murali Sharma, Naveen Chandra, Kunal Kapoor, Sharath Kumar, Rao Ramesh, "Kalakeya" Prabhakar
Story-Screenplay-Dialogues-Direction: Sriram Aditya T
Producer: Aswini Dutt
Banner: Vyjayanthi Movies
The much awaited multi-starrer is finally here. Taking the title from the classic love film, this 2018 Devadas film is a fun bromance film starring two of tthe top stars of past and present in Telugu with Nagarjina and Nani. With both actors coming off the biggest flops in their career, does Devadas have enough to bring them back into the game with a hit? Let's find out in today's review.
Plot: The local police are on manhunt for the dreaded gangster known as Deva (Nagarjuna) and he takes refuge after getting shot at a clinic run by Das, MMBS FRCS Gold Medalist (Nani). The rest of the story is all about the unlikely friendship that develops between these two people.
Performances: Nagarjuna's screen presence and charm is still in tact at 59 years of age and his fitness levels in the first song will amaze you. He looks a good 20 years younger than his age and he is superb as the dreaded Deva.
Nani is outstanding and makes a thumping comeback after Krishnarjuna Yuddham. The innocence and fear of Das's character is brilliantly portrayed by Nani and he along with Nag carry the film.
The female leads Rashmika Mandanna and Aakanksha Singh both look very pretty on screen but they don't have much of a role in the movie.
Rang De Basanti fame Kunal Kapoor as the main villain is just ok in his role. His dubbing by that god awful dubbing artist doesn't help his cause either.
Naveen Chandra makes his presence felt and Sharath Kumar is brief.
Naresh and Satya Krishnan are adquate as Das's relatives. Sathya gets come decent moments as Das's assistant in the medical clinic.
Rao Ramesh is good as usual. Kalakeya Prabhakar gets an entertaining role and makes the most of it as Deva's henchman. The rest of the cast is adequate.
Direction: This is director's Sriram Aditya's third film after Bhale Manchi Roju and Shamanthakamani. He can summed up as the line, good concept but bad execution every time. Most of his concepts sound very good on paper, but falter when it comes to the execution. Devadas is no different. Having two of the most popular and loved stars of contemporary Telugu cinema and Aditya literally makes a half-baked attempt in what could have been a firecracker of an entertainer. The performances and chemistry of Nagarjuna and Nani are so good and enjoyable that they literally cover up any of the loopholes in the script and make it watchable. The problem lies in the story which is essentially non-existent for the most part. There are two parallel tracks, one that is about the police hunt for Deva and the other about Das, a doctor in a medical clinic. While the police hunt is the main point for the narrative, after Das and Deva meet, the film just becomes about them hanging out the focal point of the narrative becomes diluted in the bromantic moments. By the time the film ends, you'd have almost even forgotten about the first subplot and the way the police hunt is carried out in the 2nd half makes no impact. The villains are even worse and serve as caricatures throughout the movie. The transformation and Deva's backstory are also poorly done. The transformation in the climax is very artificial and his backstory is never explained as to how he became a dreaded gangster which makes Sharath Kumar's death all the more confusing. The gang wars could have served as a very intriguing plot device but Aditya wastes this opportunity as well. And one would expect good comedy when Nani is in the cast but the comedy and entertainment overall are subpar and nothing rib tickling at all. Overall, Sriram Aditya criminally wastes an opportunity to makes a fantastic entertainer by writing a weak story with so many loopholes and is saved by his two star performers in the end. He needs to be careful going forward as his career won't be going anywhere if he keeps badly executing good concepts on the big screen.
Technicalities: Music and BGM by the evergreen Mani Sharma is fantastic. The BGM is also pretty good. The songs are also an integral part of the story and complement the narrative well in addition to being well shot too. Dialogues by Sriram Aditya are average. Cinematography by SHamdat Sainudeen is fantastic. The visuals are grand and vibrant throughout the movie. Fights are well done for the most part. Art direction by Sahi Suresh is good especially for the climax fight and Deva's hideout. Editing by Prawin Pudi is fine. Production Values by Vyjyanthi Movies are extravagant and excellent.
- Non Existent story
- Bad Villains
- Climax Portions
Final Take and Analysis: Before this movie came out, the combination of Nani and Nagarjuna in one film was exciting. But I had my doubts since Sriram Aditya was the director who had made two average films before this. And my doubts were right. Despite the presence of the star heroes, Devadas makes you think what could have been, not what it is in the end. And the fault lies with Sriram Aditya for the poor execution.
The film starts with the gang wars and introduces us albeit very briefly Deva's backstory which is never fully developed. Then Das is introduced and the fun moments start for a little while. At the same time the police hunt starts and once Deva meets Das, the real fun begins. The songs also do a fine job of helping the narrative and the chemistry between the leads is what carries the movie from start to finish.
The climax portions are very unconvincing and artificial and this works against the movie. The movie also has a "Plot" just for the namesake but in reality has a non-existent story.
But somehow Nani and Nag do the impossible and make it watchable due to their chemistry and performances. They are both so good and likable in this movie that is almost makes up for any weaknesses glaring through the narrative. But in the end you feel it's not enough and you;re left to ponder what could have been so much more in the end.
Overall, the bromance of actors Nani and Nagarjuna carry and power an otherwise soulless film in Devadas. It's a strict one time watch just for the two stars doing what they do best in their craft.