Producers: Dil Raju, Anil Sunkara, and Mahesh Babu
Banner: Sri Venkateswara Creations-AK Entertainments- GMB Entertainments Pvt Ltd.
Runtime: 170 mins
The day has finally arrived. Superstar Mahesh Babu is back after a 10 year gap with a fill on commercial entertainer with no social service or any message. His fans have been craving him to stop subtle acting and get back to delivering energetic performances. Directed by Anil Ravipudi of F2 fame, does the director live upto the massive expectations riding on the film? Let's find out in this review.
Plot: Major Ajay Krishna (Mahesh Babu) comes to Kurnool to deliver a message and locks heads with the corrupt minister Nagendra (Prakash Raj). What happens after forms the rest of Sarileru Neekevvaru.
Performances: From start to finish, this movie is a MASS MAHESH BABU FEAST. What a performance and what an actor. After a gap of 10 years, it's almost happy tears for the fans. Be it his comic timing, expressions, action scenes, intensity, variations in dialogues, screen presence, or performance in emotional scenes, Mahesh Babu is back to his best in this movie and unleashes his full acting capabilities in Sarileru Neekevvaru. We know what he's capable of and why he's a superstar and director Anil Ravipudi has brought out the best oin him. He shows no restraint and be it comedy, action, and emotional scenes, Mahesh Babu is unleashed in this movie. If you're a fan of Mahesh Babu, this movie offers everything you'd expect and is a true joy to watch. The interval scene in particular is incredible and his intensity and acting is another level. And for all the movie who said he can't dance, they get a nice slap because his moves in Mind Block bring the house down. Overall, Mahesh Babu roars back with an all around performance for and delivers a nice slap to all the bacha gaalu and haters especially Gen Z who says he can't act.
After a 13 year gap, Vijayashanti garu is back and she is flawless. The veteran actress is responsible for most of the films most emotional moments and most of her scenes induce goosebumps. Very few actresses can make you say wow with just their screen presence and she is easily one of them. Her combination scenes with Mahesh Babu are a delight to watch and the two carry the film together.
Prakash Raj as the villain is the 3rd pillar of the movie. The versatile character actor delivers another hilarious yet ruthless performance as the corrupt minister Nagendra. He portrays the corrupt aspect so well yet he has this funny touch to his character which makes it all the more entertaining. As in the past, he and Mahesh make for a firecracker of a combo and they do not disappoint at all.
Rashmika Mandanna as the heroine is fine. Her characterization is highly irritating and reminds us of Mehreen from F2 but she's energetic and gives varied expressions most of the time generating some good laughs. She makes the most of the role and is at her glamorous best in Mind Block and rocks the dance floor with her moves alongside Mahesh. Rajendra Prasad gets a full length side kick role and delivers some laughs. He's good.
Sangeetha and Rao Ramesh also deliver some comedy during the much hyped train sequence which is really hit or miss. However, Bandla Ganesh is back and his cameo is simply hilarious and bring the house down with laughs. It's great to see him back.
Ajay gets a solid role and is responsible for some of the film's goosebumps inducing moments.
Satyadev Kancharla is responsible for the inciting incident of the story and his role is the emotional connect. He doesn't have much to do but the impact plot wise is massive. Vennela Kishore and Subbaraju are wasted in comedy roles. So are Posani Murali Krishna and Brahmaji.
The rest of the star cast is fine, but none of them make an impact in front of Mahesh Babu, Vijayashanti, and Prakash Raj.
Direction: All these days the energy Mahesh babu fans have been missing, director Anil Ravipudi has given full meals to the fans. This is Anil's 5th film as a director and easily his biggest. His directorial style is such that the movie will have a routine story yet the presentation with hilarious comedy and hooklines is what will make it work. The case is the same in Sarileru yet the only difference is he seems to have sacrificed his forte of hilarious comedy for more emotions and mass moments. This film is unlike anything Mahesh Babu has done in the past because he has done action movies, but even they were pretty class. This movie is full on mass. He is a director who understand the fans wishes as well as the audience pulse and delivers a supremely entertaining movie. The screenplay moves at a breakneck speed. The problem in all his films is that the first half is usually flawless and in the 2nd half, the pace dips and the movie becomes overly routine. For the most part he seems to have worked on that weakness and the 2nd half has a good blend of action and emotions. The story does meander here and there but never did I ever feel bored or have my patience tested. There is a message about patriotism which is nicely blended into the narrative and doesn't feel forced like other message oriented movies. The negatives are that the film isn't as funny as one would hope and lacks a strong conflict, but the positives outweigh the negatives fully and he has fully utilized Mahesh Babu's acting prowess and superstardom and has simply unleashed the actor in what a scintillatingly entertaining one man show. Anil Ravipudi, welcome to the big league.
Technicalities:Music and BGM by Devi Sri Prasad is outstanding. The BGM in particular elevates so many scenes and gives goosebumps. The songs are average to listen to but on screen they're a treat to watch especially Mind Block. He's been badly trolled for the last 1 year for bad music but he delivers a thumping score and roars back. Cinematography by Rathnavelu is WORLD CLASS. Randy garu is one of the best cinematographers in all of India and he has simply given an outstanding output. The visuals in Kashmir, during Mind Block, or highlighting the Kondareddy Buruju, his mark is all over the movie and Sarileru is easily one of the most visually stunning movies in Mahesh Babu's career. Editing by Tammiraju is good. No complaints about the runtime or lag really. Production Design by AS Prakash is WORLD CLASS. The Kondareddy Buruju fort ad surroundings actually look so real as if it were actually the Kurnool center. Be it Vijayashanthi's house or Prakash Raj's house or the train set that was designed, everything is magnificent and grand throughout the movie. Dialogues by Anil Ravipudi are amazing. There are so many goosebumps inducing dialogues and moments as a result of the punches. And of course his trademark hook lines which in this movie is Never Before, Ever After. Costumes are good. Special Mention to the choreography by Shekar master. Thank you sir for Mind Block which was Mahesh's career best dance and made him dance effortlessly and was a treat for the fans. Fights by Ram Lakshman are very good. The interval fight is the pick of the lot with unlimited goosebumps. The Nallamalla forest fight and villain house fight in 2nd half also stand out. Lastly, the Production Values by SVC, AK Entertainments, and GMB are extravagant and magnificent. This movie is loaded in colors and has grand visuals throughout making it a visual delight and probably the most rich movie in Mahesh's career.
+ Mahesh, Mahesh, and Mahesh
+ Interval Fight and all the other fights
+ Background Score
+ Fans Goosebumps Moments
- Overhyped Train Sequences
- Weak Hero-Villain conflict
- Divisive Climax
Final Take and Analysis: Since Srimanthudu, Mahesh Babu has been delivering subtle performances and message oriented movies. In the process, he received a lot of haters and a lot of criticism from people saying that he can't. And his fans got def up with it too and wanted to him back in an energetic role in a full on action movie. Since the day Sarileru Neekevvaru was announced, fans have been restless and wondered how Anil Ravipudi has showcased Mahesh Babu. It's safe to say he has shown him in the way fans have been dying to see him for the last 10 years and unleashes Mahesh Babu's mania on the audience.
Simply put, Sarileru Neekevvaru is one of the most entertaining movies in a long, long time and it is action packed with Mahesh's ferocious and energetic performance.
The first half of the film is very entertaining but the much hyped train sequence is underwhelming to be honest. The given hype doesn't match the output and to be frank, the comedy is really hit or miss. It is only Mahesh babu's comic timing and to an extent Rao Ramesh's performance that makes this part watchable.
Right when you might be getting restless due to the family comedy, the interval bang comes. And I have to be honest. I only have word for it. ARACHAAKAM. It is one of the best interval bangs ever in TFI history and the taking, emotional content, Mahesh's intensity, and dialogues will have you shaking and filled with goosebumps. This leaves the film on a high and ramps up the expectations for the 2nd half.
The 2nd half is equally as good with a little bit of lag in terms of the middle of the movie with the story meandering around with no purpose but the Mind Block song bring sit back on track and ends with what is surely a divisive climax. Depending on your tastes and tolerance, it will either be silly af or different and unique. Spoiler is that there is no typical climax fight or any action sequence at all.
There are honestly too many highlight scenes in this movie that it's hard to name them. The interval block, villain house fight in 2nd half, Nallamalla forest fight, first scene after the interval with dialogues about Alluri Seeta Rama Raju, Bandla Ganesh's scene. The list could honestly go on and on.
The flaws are that the film is not as funny as Ravipudi's other movies and the comedy is actually underwhelming so don't go in expecting a laugh riot like F2 otherwise you will be disappointed. The other thing would be that the film lacks a strong conflict point between the hero and villain like other commercial movies. The villain is shown as most powerful but I guess he has a shade of vulnerability and that is shown through the comic characterization.
And the fact the story is nothing new. But that's expected in Ravipudi's movies. He's not aiming to reinvent the wheel or make something pathbreaking here and he knows what type of films he's making and has full command over that.
Nonetheless, the main reason to watch this movie is Superstar Mahesh Babu. He roars back with an all around energetic performance and carries this movie from start to finish. There is not a single subtle moment in his performance and each and every scene allows him to be free and give varied expressions and different dialogue delivery.
Overall, Sarileru Neekevvaru is a Mass Mahesh Babu feast. Anil Ravipudi has fully utilized his opportunity to showcase Mahesh how his fans and the audience wants to see him as and deliver an excellent commercial entertainer. This movie is a slap to all the haters who said Mahesh cannot act or dance because it's literally his dandayaatra from start to finish.
This movie is a feast for fans but also is a worth for general audience to see the Superstar at his best. Ee Sankranthi ki Box Office mogudu vachadu. Bomma dadarillipoyindi. Go and Watch It!!