September 10th, 2021
After a gap of 1 year, Natural Star Nani is finally back with his latest family action drama Tuck Jagadish. Tuck Jagadish is directed by Ninnu Kori and Majili fame Shiva Niravana fame and marks his 2nd collaboration with Nani. Featurig Ritu Verma and Aishwarya Rajesh as the heroines, Tuck Jagadish also marks the first combination between Nani and Thaman. Unfortunately due to the Covid circumstances, the makers decided to go ahead with an OTT release. Can this village entertainer live upto the hype and give Nani a huge blockbuster on Amazon Prime? Let's find out in this review.
Set in the village of Bhudevipuram somewhere in the Telugu lands, Tuck Jagadish tells the story of two warring families one belonging to Veerendra Naidu (Daniel Balaji) and Adisesha Naidu (Nasser). Jagadish Naidu is the youngest son of Adisesha Naidu and when an unfortunate incident happens in their family, Jagadish struggles to keep his family together. Whether he succeeds or not forms the rest of the story.
In the lead role, Nani is absolutely mesmerizing. He is scintillating in the film. His role starts off a little subdued but towards the pre interval and all the way to the end, it's his show all the show. This is Nani is the most oora mass avatar ever and everyone who longed to see him in a proper mass movie gets their wish in Tuck Jagadish. If Nenu Local and MCA were teasers for how Nani can be in a mass movie, then Tuck Jagadish is a feast for all his fans. His intensity in the action sequences and performances in the emotional scenes are a delight to watch throughout. Overall, he powers the entire narrative and stands out from the rest as expected in a commercial movie like this. He's proved himself in the past that he's capable of carrying a movie and showcases it once again here.
Jagapathi Babu is superb as a character with grey shades in Bose Naidu. His character arc tries to redeem him at the end and while it's not so convincing or hard hitting, the veteran actor does a sincere job as always.
As the female leads, Ritu Verma is decent and Aishwarya Rajesh has a crucial role to play in the overall story. She performs very well in all her scenes.
Rao Ramesh, Rohini, Naresh, Kishore Kumar Polisera, the little girl who plays Nani's niece, and the rest of the family members are all adequate. But it's Devadarshini who shines in all her scenes and does a great job. Nasser is adequate.
Parvathi T as Arjunamma is superb as the conflicted mother. Daniel Balaji as the villain is routine. It's a role he's played a 100 times before and offers nothing new. It's the same psycho characterization that he's become famous for but in the end the role fizzles out and he's no match for Nani. The guy who plays his brother steals the show in all the scenes he's in. His characterization makes you want to punch him in the face. While the performance might be over the top or weird at times, maybe that was the character.
Praveen is fine and Bhadram is brief.
Direction by Shiva Niravana is more good than bad. His film have become synonymous with hard hitting emotions. Thats why Ninnu Kori and Majili became hits. But both movies were both heavy romantic dramas with mature emotions. There's a genre change here and he attempts a full on mass masala movie in Tuck Jagadish. He succeeds for the most part but the bad here is that there's an overdose of emotion throughout the film. It's almost as if when he was writing every scene, he felt some emotion was missing and just added it in for the sake of it. As a result the emotions are really hit or miss depending on how strong the scene hits you. He said in an interview that family dramas are routine but the screenplay and taking is what differentiates every family drama from every other one out there. The screenplay is good for 75% of the film. The first half drags after a superbly paced first 20 minutes but by the time the movie hits the pre interval sequences, the movie takes off and remains an entertaining watch till the end. The action sequences are excellently executed. He extracts superb performances from his cast especially Nani and gets a solid output from his technical team and delivers an entertaining movie and in these Covid ravaged times, I think that's all we care about.
Songs by Thaman are good on screen and audio wise they're catchy as well. Due to creative differences, Shiva Nirvana replaced Thaman with Gopi Sundar for the Background Music and I have to say this is his career best work in terms of Background Score. The BGM eleveates so many scenes and even the most routine scene gives you unexpected goosebumps. The BGM in all the action sequences will give you goosebumps despite some minor complaints of instrumentation. Cinematography by Prasad Murella is extravagant. The movie is filmed all over Pollachi and East Godavari and the vibrant colors are pleasant to watch on screen. Production Design by Sahi Suresh is incredible. The various house sets and needed art work to make all the houses look authentic or worn out was amazing. Editing by Prawin Pudi is adequate. There is some lag in the film in the 1st half. Fights by Venkat are goosebumps inducing. Whether that was due to the direction, actual fight choreography, or BGM I couldn't tell but I enjoyed the hell out of each fight in the movie. My personal favorite were the Pollam fight and climax fight. Production Values by Shine Screens are grand. The producers have clearly spent a lot of money on the film and it shows.
+ Some Emotional Scenes
+ Interval Scene
- Lag in 1st half
- Overdose of Emotion
When Tuck Jagadish was first announced, fans naturally (no pun intended) got excited as Nani coming with another film with Shiva Niravana after Ninnu Kori. But Covid has proved to be the film's greatest enemy more than Daniel Balaji himself. The movie started production in 2019 and was shut down due to Covid and then finished filming in December 2020. The producers had announced an April 23rd, 2021 release date but due to the Covid 3rd wave in India, the movie was postponed once again.
Left with no other choice, the producers took a business decision accepting that in the current scenario with uncertainty regarding Covid and the new AP Government issued Government Order about ticket prices, the movie wouldn't be able to recover it's investment and sold the movie for AMazon Prime and opted for an OTT release. Every Telugu movie knows that watching movies is something that's in our blood and culture and it's not just watching a film, it's more like a festiavl every time. You miss the hungama and euphoria of the big screen experience. It was a tough pill to swallow but either way we get to watch the movie eventually.
The movie starts off very similar to Aravinda Sametha and establishes the conflict point between the families in Bhudevipuram and then focuses on various parts afterwards such as family drama, romance, and then by the interval it's full on action time and stays that way until the very end. The interval scene was oora mass and one of the best scenes in the movie maybe the best, Nani's performance is outstanding in this scene. As said before it's a oora mass movie for Nani and he provides a lot of enjoyable scenes throughout with his acting.
That being said the movie does have it's issues such as the boring 1st half and then the overdose of sentiment in every scene. Some emotions work and others don't. Sometimes you feel you're watching a Fast and Furious movie with how many times they say family. Everybody is either really sad or angry in the movie there's no in between. But these are minor complaints in an otherwise enjoyable movie.
Overall, Tuck Jagadish is an entertaining mass masala movie after a long gap and enjoyable for the most part. It's a typical Telugu masala movie with an invincible hero, blood thirsty villains, goosebump inducing action sequences, solid BGM, romance and loads of sentiment mixed in. If you can ignore the slightly slow first half and over the top emotions in literally every scene, you'll enjoy it. Would the movie have been successful in theaters in normal conditions with the content? I guess we'll never know. And I'll leave you with that.
Signing off -
Teja Rao - Die hard Telugu Cinema fan.