Rating: 3/10 (Awful)
Mahesh Babu is officially now a superstar. After rewriting history with the record breaking film Pokiri, all eyes have turned to his next film. Sainikudu directed by Gunashekar, has finally hit the screens and the expectations are sky high on the movie. Did it live upto to them? Sadly not. Find out why in my review.
Story: Siddartha (Mahesh Babu) is a young man who always believes in helping people and rescues a village from a flood. He and his friends manage to save most of the people. On the other hand the CM (Kota) nominates Pappu Yadav(Irrfan Khan) to run for the assembly elections and he announces a sum of 5 crores for the flood victims. Siddharth, knowing that the announcement is a scam to hog more money and knowing that politicians can't be trusted, immediately shuts down Pappu's campaign. How Siddartha takes down Pappu Yadav and uses Varalakshmi (Trisha) as bait to defeat him forms the rest of this hackneyed film.
Performances: After delivering the best performance of his career, it's only natural for fans to expect a performance that will be even better from Mahesh Babu. Sadly, Siddartha is not the greatest character and doesn't give much scope for Mahesh to perform. Besides his character being righteous and giving, there's not much. Despite the ridiculous story and taking of the film, Mahesh Babu puts the film on his shoulders and tries his best to save the film from sinking. His ever reliable screen presence is on full display here and is the only reason to even think about watching this movie.
Trisha is annoying as Varalakshmi as her character lacks depth.
Irrfan Khan in his Telugu debut is a freaking joke as Pappu Yadav. This film once again shows how logic can be defied in every way possible. As a politician, can't he use his political power to crush a random college student? His characterization is poor and his acting isn't great either. Bad choice for the villain.
Prakash Raj as Mondi Nani has an interesting characterization and provides some comedy. He is pretty good.
Telangana Shakuntala is over the top as usual as the ACP. Kota is alright. Ajay is noticeable from the friend's group.
Technicalities: Music by Harris Jayaraj is ethereal. The music album to the movie is truly golden and is something to keep on your playlist for the rest of time. Orugalluke Pilla deserves a special mention. All of the songs are very good and picturized well. All of Mahesh Babu's movies have good songs and Sainikudu is no exception. Same cannot be said about the background score because the one that plays during some moments is a straight up ripoff of the Pirate of the Caribbean theme song. Cinematography by Balasubramaniem is excellent. Art by Anand Sai is awesome. The sets where Orugalluke Pilla was shot are amazing. Fights by Peter Heins are a joke. These are arguably some of the worst fights by the star stuntman. Editing by A.Sreekar Prasad is a nightmare. The film is way too long and doesn't really make sense. I feel bad that he had the responsibility of putting this mess together. Visual Effects by Rana Daggubati (Yes it's the same one-Venkatesh's nephew) are atrocious. Production Values by Ashwini Dutt are very good  but sadly the film isn't. Direction by Gunashekar is awful.
Analysis: After an industry hit like Pokiri, it's only natural that fans want to experience that feeling of euphoria and excitement again. Now that Mahesh Babu is officially a superstar, the expectations on his upcoming films will have the same pressure and sky high expectations that Sainikudu had coming in. Sadly, the film is not good enough to live upto the expectations and proves once again that one man alone cannot save a film.
Sainikudu starts off well with a village getting hit by a flood and Mahesh Babu's introduction, with him saving people left and right. He soon becomes a face for the media and then tackles's the CM and Pappu Yadav right away. While the story has a half decent chance of working, the way it is executed completely goes in the wrong direction. Full blame is on Gunashekar here. He knew that he had massive expectations to deliver after Pokiri but sadly, an awful script and terrible direction play the spoilsport to this movie.He clearly had no control over the script and his direction is terrible.
In Telugu films, logic usually goes for a toss but some films at least contain some logic and are entertaining, Sainikudu has neither any logic or entertainment to keep you interested and the end result is a sleep inducing film with a terrible output. The film seriously has no plot and wanders all over the place and the fact that Pappu Yadav can't do a single thing against Siddartha makes your brain hurt.
If the 1st half is bad, the 2nd half is even worse. The interval fight makes you laugh and the graphics here are a freaking joke. Like for real, would a guy seriously be able to escape a bridge that's blowing up?
The editing is even worse and doesn't help the proceedings at all. At 169 minutes, Sainikudu is too long to comprehend and tests your patience.
On a whole, Sainikudu is a huge disappointment after a record breaking film like Pokiri from Mahesh Babu and Gunashekar. Despite Mahesh Babu's performance and the amazing music and visuals, Sainkudu is too boring for the common fan to like and terrible direction, snail like screenplay and a dreadful story only make the experience worse.
 If you're a die hard fan of Mahesh Babu, you may watch it, but just be forewarned that you may fall asleep during some point in the movie. I'm going with 3/10.