Rating: 4.5/10 (Weakest Yuddham)
Cast: Nani, Anupama Parameshwaran, Rukshar Mir, Brahmaji, Nagineedu, Mahesh Vitta, Prabhas Sreenu, Shekar
Story-Screenplay-Dialogues-Direction: Merlapaka Gandhi
Producers: Harish Peddi, Sahu Garupati
Banner: Shine Screens
Natural Star Nani has been on a roll since Yevade Subramanyam and has established himself as the most bankable stars in the 2nd league tier of Telugu heroes. He has delivered 8 consecutive commercially viable films and has been invincible at the box office of late. He's back with his latest film Krishnarjuna Yuddham directed by Venkatadri Express fame Merlapaka Gandhi. Will this be the film that snap's Nani's streak? Let's find out
Plot: When their respective girlfriends are kidnapped by the same women trafficking gang in Hyderabad, a Chittoor youth Krishna (Nani) and a Telugu rockstar playboy Arjun (Nani) must race against time to save them from this gang. How their paths eventually cross forms the rest of the film.
Performances: Nani is a fabulous actor and he gives his best for each and every film. It's the character of Krishna that you will take home with you. He is simply excellent as the Chitoor youth and he nails the accent to perfection. His innocence and the methods he uses to get even one girl to like him are downright hilarious. It's one of the best characters in his career and he nails it. In fact, the Krishna character carries the movie.
In complete contrast, Nani as Arjun is perhaps the worst character he's ever played in his career. Nani's image doesn't suit a rock-star and rockstars in general don't connect well with the Telugu audience. The characterization of Arjun is poorly written and laughable and Nani is so unconvincing as a playboy rockstar which is painful to watch.
Anupama Pareshwaran is a proven actress and she looks beautiful. But she barely has 20 minutes of screentime. Rukshar Mir has an attractive screen presence and she does well in her debut.
Brahmaji as Arjun's assistant is hilarious and the scene where he has to teach Anupama's aunt how to sing is probably the funniest scene in the movie. Mahesh Vitta excels as Krishna's friend and his dialogues and accent provide good laughs.
The ever reliable Prabhas Sreenu fails to even invoke a minimum of 5 laughs in this film.
Hariteja's character is a waste of time and extremely stupid and not funny at all. The villain looks odd with a huge beard and only speaks Hindi. Nagineedu does a routine role and does fine.
Direction: KAY is director Merlapaka Gandhi's third film. He proved his mettle and talent in films such as Venkatadri Express and Express Raja. While the former was a hilarious entertatiner with solid comedy, the latter featured a screenplay inspired by Hollywood thriller "Vantage Point", where the same incident is retold through various viewpoints from different people. Unfortunately, Krishnarjuna Yuddham is his weakest film yet because he shifts to full action mode in the 2nd half of the film and it feels like watching a really bad version of Liam Neeson's classic action film Taken. Both films deal with women trafficking and Taken is one of the best action films of all time. The same cannot be said about KAY. Gandhi does well in the first half as the character of Krishna entertains you to no extent and you never feel bored with Nani's performance and the comedy generated. He tried to use a parallel screenplay method and narrate the stories of Arjun and Krishna at the same time but at times, it feels tedious. Mainly because the characterization of Arjun just doesn't work and it's terrible and the romantic tracks of the leads interrupt the flow of the film. Specfically, the romantic track between Arjun and Anupama is painful to watch as she keeps rejecting him no matter how hard he tries. His character redemption is also extremely poor and unconvincing. To be frank, you will probably cringe or your patience will be tested every time you are shown Arjun's story as it is just a massive waste of time. Bhramaji is the only saving grace during those episodes. The 2nd half proceeds into full action mode where Krishna turns into Liam Neeson and Arjun becomes a side-kick who is helpless in situations. The scenes are predictable and flat and only prolongs the run-time. The songs in the 2nd half are unbearable especially the song that comes in the pre-climax. There are a handful of illogical sequences throughout the film and Gandhi delivers his weakest film to date. While his ability in handling comedy is known, his inexperience shows when it comes to handling the action portions.
Technicalities: Music and BGM by Hip Hop Tamizha is ok. After a rocking debut in Dhruva, they do an average job in this film. While the audio album is excellent to listen to, the songs are picturized poorly on screen. Only I Wanna Fly and Dhaari Choodu make an impact on screen. Thaaney Vachindanaa that comes before the climax is unbearable and tests your patience. Cinematography by Karthik Ghattamaneni is flawless. The young cameraman-director is truly a talent to watch out for and one of the best up and coming cameramen in the industry. However one may feel that the visuals in Prague could have been a little better. The introduction sequences is poorly shot. Production Design is pretty ordinary. Editing is a huge minus in the 2nd half. The film feels way too long at 158 minutes. Dialogues by Gandhi are entertaining especially the ones written for the Chittoor episodes. Fights are good but a bit too unrealistic for an actor like Nani. Production Values by Shine Screens are outstanding. The film is rich and grand and the output clearly shows on screen.
+ Nani as Krishna
+ First Half
- Nani as Arjun
- 2nd half
- Romantic Tracks
- Songs on Screen
Final Take and Analysis: Nani has been on a scintillating run of form at the box office. He has done something not even star heroes could dream of. However all good things come to an end and I think Krishnarjuna Yuddham is his weakest film in recent times and is the film that halts his hit streak at the box office. Not only is the film boring at times, it's just not well made.
The audience or common movie goer knows the difference between an averagely made entertaining film and a badly made boring film. Krishnarjuna Yuddham unfortunately falls into the latter. One really wonders how Nani could accept such a poor script.
While the audience said the same thing about Nani's last film MCA, the film went onto become a blockbuster with holiday season advantage and decent word of mouth. The situation seems to be bleak for KAY because it is releasing in the midst of two biggies, Rangasthalam and Bharat Ane Nenu.
Back to the script, it's one of those things that sound good on paper but the execution completely misfires on screen. The film opens with a poorly shot sequence on a girl near the Charminar being drugged and kidnapped by the trafficking gang. Nani is then introduced as Krishna and the fun begins with his flawless comic timing and hilarious Chitoor accent. All the portions with Krishna in the first half are bearable and entertaining.
It's when the film moves to Prague, the trouble starts. As mentioned before, Nani is a sore sight in the role of Arjun and it's unbearable to watch. His romantic track with Anupama only adds to testing your limits. There are just a handful of illogical sequences such as Nani racing some Czech woman, him hooking up with a girl about to be married, and him sleeping with a female police officer to escape getting a traffic ticket from the Czech police. Arjun's romantic track with Anupama is outright stalking in every sense, as he finds out her job, follows her around the city, and just always happens to be wherever he is. The fact that she doesn't issue a restraining order on him is mind blowing. But hey, it's a Telugu movie.
Krishna's track with Rukshar seems more natural and is pleasant to watch besides the fact that she loves to travel the village at night. Krishna visiting her house at night with Mahesh Vitta is a hilarious scene but we've only seen it about 1000 times now in Telugu films.
The interval twist is where the film is where all the threads meet. But in expecting an exciting 2nd half, the film more or less treads the beaten path and follows the bland and predictable template similar to MCA's 2nd half. While it was bearable once, I don't believe the audience could handle it again a 2nd time. Gandhi's inexperience comes out in the 2nd half when it switches to full action mode and seems like a poor rip-off of Taken.
The fact that Krishna, an illiterate village youth can come to Hyderabad and track down a gang and save his girlfriend and fight and kill everyone is beyond logic. The guy can't read for Christs sake! Nani even gets to mouth Liam Neeson's famous dialogue in Telugu in his Chittoor accent but nothing beats the original. Add to the fact that the only way they can save Rukshar is to buy a yacht and Arjun buys it for 15 crores and the money transfers in a second is once again beyond logic. The entire 2nd half is bland and predictable and lacks any exciting moments which sinks the film. Add the poor editing and badly shot songs to the mix, and you get a distasteful experience in the end.
Had Gandhi just made the film with the character of Krishna and eliminated Arjun as a whole, this film would have been so much better. Also picking a serious subject like women trafficking is no joke. But to have it as an undercurrent theme instead of a main theme also hurts the movie. Had Gandhi made it the focal point of the film, it would have made a whole lot of difference as well.
Overall, Krishnarjuna Yuddham is the weakest film of Nani in recent times and a weak yuddham. Illogical sequences throughout, poor romantic tracks, Nani's unbearable Arjun act, tedious Prague episodes along with horrendous music sink what could have been another solid entertainer for Nani. But when a script has this many problems, there's hardly anything anyone can do. Nani as Krishna is the only saving grace for this movie.
Watch it only if you're a hardcore fan of Nani or just watch Taken instead for that film is far better than this poor man's take.