Rating: 6/10 (Friendship and Farmers)
Cast: Mahesh Babu, Pooja Hegde, Allari Naresh, Jagapathi Babu, Prakash Raj, Jayasudha, Rajeev Kanakala, Vennela Kishore, Kamal Kamaraju, Rao Ramesh, Jhansi, Meenakshi Dixit, Brahmaji, Vidyulekha Raman
Director: Vamshi Paidipally
Music: Devi Sri Prasad
Producer: Aswini Dutt- Dil Raju- Pearl V. Potluri & Param V Potluri
Banner: Vjayanthi Movies- Sri Venkateswara Creations- PVP Cinemas
After a gap of 1 year, Superstar Mahesh Babu is back with his prestigious 25h film in his career, Maharshi. Directed by Vamshi Paidipally and produced by three producers in Aswini Dutt, Dil Raju, and PVP, the movie is carrying huge expectations from the audience. Does it live up-to the hype? Let's find out in this week's review
Plot: Maharshi tells the story of K. Rishi Kumar (Mahesh Babu) and his journey of how he became a successful businessman starting with how he was an ambitious young man in college to the CEO of a Multi National Corporation called Origin. Along the way, Ravi (Allari Naresh) and Pooja (Pooja Hegde) play a crucial part in Rishi's journey. How Rishi fully discovers himself and how his journey concludes forms the rest of Maharshi
Performances: In his 25th film, Mahesh Babu gets to play 3 different shades. One as a CEO, one as a college student, and one as a common man aiming for social change. Mahesh Babu is excellent in all 3 roles. However it's the college student role which is an absolute feast for fans. From his look to his dialogues to his mannerisms, college student Rishi is easily the pick of the lot and you can see how much fun he's having on screen.
If not for Allari Naresh, the film would not be as good. Allari Naresh completely reinvents himself and is outstanding in the role of Ravi. This is his career best performance as he showcases his classic comic timing and gives a very emotional performance that will tug at your heartstrings throughout the movie. He shares a nice chemistry with Mahesh and the two actors essentially carry the film.
Pooja Hegde plays an important part in the story and does well but the romantic track is not properly written and looks silly at times. Jagapathi Babu as the villain Vivek Mittal is weak and poorly written but looks nice in the various suits that he wears.
The evergreen duo of Prakash Raj and Jayasudha play Mahesh's parents in this film and they are fantastic once again.
Rao Ramesh gets a nice role as a professor in Rishi's college. Kamal Kamraju makes a mark playing a egotistical guy who excels at studies in the college portions.
The rest of the cast in Mukesh Rishi, Meenakshi Dixit, Vennela Kishore, RJ Hemanth, Brahmaji, Vidyulekha Raman, and Rajeev Kanakala are all wasted in miniscule roles.
Direction: Maharshi is Vamshi Paidipally's 5th film in his career and in a span of 12 years he has made just 5 films. Say quality over quantity or what not, but the director is clearly taking his time and going at his pace. One can say the same when watching Maharshi. On paper, Maharshi is the story of a man who succeeds due to his friends sacrifice and how he tries to rectify his mistake due to that. And throughout, there are various themes of motivation, arrogance, jealousy, and innovation all playing a part. Vamshi seems to have written so much in the script and tried to balance so many themes that after a point, the film essentially feels like he's trying to hold it together without having any cracks seep through. The film goes at it's own pace and whether or not the length is justified will be different in each viewers perspective. The character of Rishi is beautifully written and one of the best for Mahesh Babu in recent times as he gets to portray various shades in each role. And Ravi is equally as good. The film is entertaining during the college portions but plays at its own pace for the remainder of the film. One feels that the father-son relationship could have been explored more and the concept of the farmers plight in the 2nd half should have come to the forefront sooner rather than latter as the majority of the first hour on the 2nd half is just filled with fluff and keeps the runtime going. The film has no bad moments but neither is it the best, which results in it being a decent product. But one feels Vamshi's direction and writing could have been a lot better which would have resulted in a much better output for the film. Nonetheless, Vamshi does his best for Maharshi and makes it a watchable film for the most part and utilizes Mahesh's screen presence to full effect throughout the film.
Technicalities: Music and BGM by Devi Sri Prasad is adequate. One feels DSP could have done a much better job despite the average album and the background score during fight sequences especially should be much better. Cinematography by KU Mohanan is outstanding. The veteran cinematographers' Telugu debut shows why he's one the best in the business and Maharshi looks stunning and visually rich in each and every frame. Editing by KL Praveen is questionable but more on that later. Dialogues by Vamshi Paidipally are excellent. Some of them will stay with you after you leave the theater. There's the perfect blend of emotional, mass, and motivational dialogues sprinkled throughout the film. Luckily, none of them are really preachy or that philosophical to test our patience. Fights by Ram Lakshman are very good. Special mention to the village fight during the night which is exceptionally taken with the right amount of emotions and intensity. Styling deserves a special mention as Mahesh Babu has never looked so stylish on screen. The costumes chosen are superb throughout the film. Production Design is excellent for the New York portions and the Ramavaram village set. Lastly, Production Values by Dil Raju, Aswini Dutt and PVP are magnificent. The producers left no stone untouched for Mahesh's 25th film and the film is one of the most rich and grand films in recent times. Each and every frame is loaded with richness.
+ Mahesh Babu
+ Allari Naresh
+ College Portions
+ 1st Half
+ Last 30 mins
- Too Idealistic
- Questionable Length
Final Take and Analysis: Post Bharat Ane Nanu, Mahesh Babu has become extremely selective with scripts and is essentially at a crossroads in his career. Maharshi is another socially relevant film from the actor and for it works for the majority of the narrative despite a few hiccups along the way. Vamshi Paidipally has written a script which is multi layered with many themes, but the execution seems below par for something like. Simply put, Maharshi should be a much better film, but remains adequate due to the execution.
The film starts off in New York and shows Rishi as a very successful guy and then his past as a college student as to how he got here. The college portion of the film is the most entertaining part as Mahesh Babu and Allari Naresh's comedy timing is on full display here. The subplot with Kamal Kamaraju's character seems a bit silly and forced but I guess Vamshi needed to create some sort of conflict during this period. The interval has a nice twist and the story moves to India again after this.
The second half is riddled with so many themes that Vamshi takes his own time. There are is only one conflict point, which is villagers fighting for their land and how farmers problems are not being showcased by the media. However, in my opinion, the conflict point isn't established till the 2 hr and 20 minute mark.
The first hour of the second half is is just basically filler until Vamshi delves into the real issue at hand. Had he delved into it right away, the film probably would have had a much better feel to it and not feel so lengthy. to be honest, the 2nd half of the film will dictate whether or not you liked the film. And while the issue of farmers is taken up, one feels that it's not that strongly represented in the end because of the filler scenes mentioned earlier.
The film is not trying to be Kathi or anything other film for that matter and Maharshi tackles the issue of farmers in its own unique way. In fact, it's probably the only movie that makes the attempt to respect farmers and not make people feel bad for them. However, for some the solutions presented to handle the issue in the movie may seem too idealistic for one to believe. This where the issue of the editing comes in. While some will justify the length due to the themes presented in the film, others will say the movie is too long for it's own good. Again each to their own. The romantic track is also not properly written and seems artificial.
Nonetheless, Maharshi still manages to work due to the excellent performances from Mahesh Babu and Allari Naresh who essentially carry the film and make it watchable despite it's flaws and the last 30 mins is also excellent.
Overall, Maharshi is a decent film based on friendship and farmers and makes Mahesh's 25th film a watchable outing. The film has it's fair share of issues and is not perfect which results in an OK experience. Watch the film if you're a die hard fan of Mahesh Babu or like socially relevant movies.