Archive for the Telegu Cinema Category

God save us if India hosts the Olympics

Posted in Bachchan, Tamil Cinema, Telegu Cinema, Tiger Trail, Times Blogs, Times of India on July 27, 2012 by Sharmila

Link to my new blog on Times of India – http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tiger-trail/entry/god-save-us-if-india-hosts-the-olympics

Magadheera – A love tale of epic proportions…

Posted in Telegu Cinema with tags , on February 5, 2010 by Sharmila

Once upon a time, four hundred years ago in the Kingdom of Udhayagad lived Kala Bhairava, the chief protector of the Kingdom and a loyal subject. Bhairava is a brave warrior who excels in the mechanics of war fare and is an expert rider. He is the Gladiator and the Benhur of the Udhayagad Kingdom and a motif of courage and valor. Bhairava is a handsome young man whose chiseled face and penetrative eyes captivate the Princess of Udhayagad, Mitra. Princess Mitra an epitome of beauty,slim and slender, with long tresses and apple eyes of wonder and bewilderment. She is charming, a tease and Bhairava succumbs to her endearing charm. They need no cajoling to realize the intensity of their love for one another.

The threat to their love comes in the form of Randev, the commander in chief of the Kingdom of Udhayagad who is equally besotted by Mitra. Randev is cruel, vicious and a malicious warrior. He is a relative to Mitra and is intent on marrying her by obliterating ruthlessly any obstacle that may dare to cross his path. The one such obstacle is Kala Bhairava. His jealousy of the lover’s relationship reaches its pinnacle as he observes their ever growing bond. He painstakingly schemes a way of making Mitra his own.He challenges Bhairava in the Colosseum of Udhayagad to a race which is graced by the King and Princess Mitra. A race that would earn the rights to marry Mitra. A stupendous race takes place, across the rusty, desert terrains of the Kingdom where the riders furiously gallop towards their target. The target being the retrieval of a silk cloth of the Princess. Overcoming the dangers of sinking desert sand and fighting like a lion for his life, Bhairava victoriously snatches the silk cloth a few yards away from the finish line at the Colosseum with a final knock down of Randev from his horse. Mitra is overjoyed and wishes that Randev is banished forever.Bhairava had sealed his fate in marrying Mitra, or so he thought. But, the aged King pleads with Bhairava to proclaim that he won the race as a show of the subject’s endearing loyalty to the Kingdom and not for marrying Mitra. The King’s desperation stemmed from an advise which he was heeding to for the welfare of Bhairava. In the Bhairava’s ancestral background, no male lived more than thirty years and all of them died while protecting the kingdom. The King wished for Bhairava not to marry the Princess for this reason.Bhairava, a man of honor will only but make the King’s words his. Mitra is heart-broken and laments Bhairava’s sudden rejection but her heart continues to burn for him.

The King orders a grand religious ceremony to be performed to Lord Shiva in order to appease the God’s and for the welfare of his kingdom. Bhairava escorts the Princess as per his call of duty to the high mountain ranges of the Kingdom where arrangements are being made for the important ceremony. Mitra tries to reason with Bhairava but it falls on deaf ears albeit she is intuitively confident of his love.

Meanwhile, Randev continues to seethe¬†with rage. He joins forces with Sher Khan, an invader from Persia who wishes to acquire Udhayagad. The invading army attacks Udhayagad, Randev kills the King and Sher Khan seizes control of the kingdom. They then march on to the high peaks where the ceremony is being conducted under the auspices of the sages. Sher Khan’s army surround the peaks and Bhairava is out numbered. Sher Khan mockingly commands Bhairava to kill at least a hundred of his soldiers single handedly. Bhairava in all his majestic valor and splendor slits through a hundred men, stroke after stroke with his bloody sword despite his bleeding body and anguished state. Sher Khan is aghast yet amazed at Bhairava’s show of strength. In all the time that Sher Khan had spent invading various parts of the country, plundering and looting, he had not encountered the strength of a hundred elephants in one man. Bhairava was one such and Sher Khan bows down to Bhairava’s valor and honor.Randev is furious with the turn of events and compels Sher Khan to keep his word. Sher Khan had promised that the Princess and the Kingdom will be handed to Randev. Sher Khan succumbs to Randev’s pleas reluctantly. Randev now wishes to capture Mitra but the bleeding Bhairava wards him off in a decisive battle. Randev knowing he is on the verge of losing the battle wishes that Mitra can never become Bhairava’s and hence stabs her. Bhairava, is enraged and chops off Randev’s head in one swift stroke. The bleeding, dying Mitra on the edge of the cliff rolls over and plunges to her death. Bhairava leaps after Mitra, desperately trying to hold her hand, one last time in their falling, dying few moments. Their hands never touched.

Bhairava is reborn as Harsha and Mitra as Indu, who fall in love with each other and there is Randheer who is trying to wreck the relationship and Sher Khan playing Cupid in his rebirth. The characters from four hundred years ago are reborn to make their wishes come true amidst high dramatization of events. Places from the past are revisited in the current scenario and climaxes from the past are reenacted. This time, fate is sealed and Bhairava and Mitra are reunited.

I have been struck by this majestic movie that was made with a budget 45 crores and grossed in excess of 130 crores in 2009. The highest grosser of all times in Telegu movies. The role of Bhairava has been wonderfully played by Ram Charan Teja, son of the mega star Chiranjeevi. Ram Charan has given a stupendous performance witnessed rarely in the making of any epic Indian movie. His dialogue delivery, his voice modulation, his chiseled face, his screen presence and above all his acting is par excellence. He can be called a veteran despite this movie being only his second. He is better as Bhairava than Harsha and has done full justice to the role. There is a scene on the mountain peaks where he plays the drums when the prayers are conducted for Lord Shiva, every sinew of his toned body reverberated with the matching beat of the drums, and the intensity with which he performs this action is nothing short of breathtaking. Ram Charan is also a brilliant dancer and this young man is set, (if not already) to take the Telegu industry by storm. Kajal Agarwal who plays Mitra is dainty and pretty and meets the role’s requirements. The villainous character of Randev is played by Dev Gill who has done a marvelous job.Cinematography has been redefined with this movie and the artworks in the movie are splendid along with the visual effects.

Rebirths and reincarnations are risky subjects to deal with when it comes to movie making. With the exception of Karz and another hit Telegu movie Arundathi, this subject seldom becomes very effective when the final product is revealed. Magadheera is one such movie which makes the cut. It has dealt very deftly with this subject without getting into too many histrionics or making it sound too far fetched. The transitions between the past life and the present flows melodiously. The Director should be very proud with the entire package with the exception of some silly stunts in the final climax scene. But, Magadheera’s beauty ultimately rests in Ram Charan’s performance as Kala Bhairava.

Director: SS Rajamouli
Cast: Ram Charan Teja, Kajal Agarwal, Srihari, Dev Gill, Saratbabu
Rating: 4 / 5