Rating: 7.5/10 (Ustaad iSmart Shankar Kiraak Mass)
Cast: Ram Pothineni, Nabha Natesh, Niddhi Agerwal, Satyadev, Ashish Vidyarthi, Sayaji Shinde, Getup Srinu
Story- Screenplay- Dialogues-Direction: Puri Jagannadh
Music: Mani Sharma
Producers: Puri Jagannadh & Charmme Kaur
Banner: Puri Jagannadh Touring Talkies & Puri Connects
Director Puri Jagannadh has been going through a rough streak for the last 4.5 years and has not tasted even a decent success within this time. He's back with his latest movie iSmart Shankar starring Ram Pothineni in the lead. Also with Nabha Natesh and Niddhi Agerwal as the female leads, does the film give both Puri and Ram the much needed comeback? Let's find out in today's review.
Plot: A small time criminal named Shankar (Ram) gets involved in a murder case featuring a big politician. A cop (Satyadev) is trying to find out the killer behind the murder. How Shankar and the cops paths cross and how they intertwine forms the rest of iSmart Shankar with a little sci-fi twist
Performances: This movie is about one man. Ram, Ram, and Ram. He is simply world class. The way he has surrendered himself and transformed himself into Shankar is simply spectacular. From the outrageous look to the Telangana dialect and accent, he simply kills it in the lead role. His dances throughout the movie make you question why he isn't in the discussion among the industries best dancers. This movie is a feast if you're a Ram fan and he carries the movie and delivers his career best performance. Lastly, his dialogue delivery make the dialogues stand out.
In her second film. Nabha Natesh is incredible with her performance. The mass and swagger that she brings to the role along with her glamour in the film complement Ram really well. Her accent is also spot on and she makes the most of her and leaves a standing impression on the view.
Niddhi Agerwal finally gets a decent role with some nice screen presence and takes center stage in the 2nd half. She does well within her limitations.
Getup Srinu provides some extra comic relief as Shankar's auto driving friend. The villain is played by a new guy and he is ok.
Longtime Puri movie mainstays Ashish Vidyarthi and Sayaji Shinde are adequate in their roles as well.
Lastly, Satyadev gets another solid role after Broche and does well as his role is crucial to the plot.
Direction: There is probably only one director in the world who can pull off an entire film without caring about the story and the other 23 crafts of filmmaking. He is Puri Jagannadh. The cult director, best known for classic movies like Pokiri, Bhadri, Businessman, Golimaar, Temper, and Bujjigadu is finally back with a bang. Puri's direction is simply superb. The character of Shankar is what carries the movie and he extracts a superb performance from Ram who literally powers the movie from the start all the way till the end with his hilarious antics and relentless energy. Storywise, there's nothing new. The sci-fi twist at the interval is cool and makes for a nice end to the 1st half. However, the 2nd half becomes too predictable and the climax feels dragged despite Ram's 6 pack appearance. besides that, the screenplay is extremely racy and you never feel bored. Puri Jagan knows his strengths very well and once again he creates a film that purely runs on the hero characterization which results in iSmart Shankar to be a highly engaging mass entertainer after a long gap and return to form for the star director.
Technicalities: Music and BGM by Mani Sharma is outstanding. The songs are well done on screen and the background score is simply phenomenal. Cinematography by Raj Thota is excellent. Puri Jagan movies always have a distinct style of chases and visuals and Raj captures them beautifully well. Editing is fine as there are really no complaints throughout the movie. Dialogues by Puri Jagan are too good. There are loads of curses throughout the movie and they're increasingly funny with the way Ram and Nabha deliver them with their Telangana slang. Fights by Real Satish are amazing. There are 6-7 fight sequences and Puri places them at the right intervals which results in a feast for action and mass movie lovers. Production Design especially for Dhimaak Kharab song and the lab set is fantastic. Costumes are fine. Lastly, Production values by Puri and Charmee are grand and top notch.
+ RAM, RAM, AND RAM
+ Music and BGM
- Predictable Story in 2nd half
- Dragged Climax
Analysis and Final Verdict: From the promos, iSmart Shankar seemed like a disaster. Over the top acting, loud dialogues, and unusual Telangana accent all made the film seem like the nail in the coffin for Puri Jagannadh. But the film paints a completely different picture.
Simply put, the film is a pleasant surprise. Not only is the film massively entertaining, it's also well made from the standpoint of the other crafts and results in a comeback for Puri Jagan and much needed break for Ram in his career as well.
The film starts off with a pulsating action episode and Ram is in full swing with his accent and dialogues. To be honest within the first 15 mins, Ram literally sucks you into the film and makes you watch in awe of his performance. He simply otherworldly in this movie.
The entire credit goes to Puri for writing such an entertaining character and bringing back those memories we enjoyed during the early. The film has a simple story but the screenplay makes up for the loopholes and you never feel bored. As mentioned before the interval twist is nice and sets up the 2nd half nicely. But the story turns too predictable and a dragged climax doesn't help.
But that's the least of the films concerns because you will probably be so entertained it won't even matter. iSmart Shankar knows what type of movie it wants to be and succeeds mightlity at that.
Overall, iSmart Shankar is a pulsating mass action entertainer after a long time that results in a Kiraak viewing experience. Ram's spellbinding performance and Puri's direction will keep you engaged for the entirety of the runtime and the rest is bonus. If you like Puri Jagan or want to watch a good action movie, then def check this movie out. You won't be disappointed.