A different take on cinema is making inroads into Tollywood. Praveen Sattaru's Guntur Talkies is not just different but brings home the crass and crackling humor that was brought to celluloid by the likes of Delhi Belly. This also marks the director's way of breaking the shackles of Telugu cinema and giving us a platter that's a mix of Anurag Kashyap, caper-ish spin off and yores of native land.
Guntur Talkies is the story of two petty thieves, their back stories and the chance happenings that drop them into an uncanny mix of characters and events. Hari (Siddhu) and Giri (Naresh) make merry with looting people of small things when they are away from home and on a fateful night they lay their hands on cashbags. Later on, without each other's notice, they try to flee away. Then starts a visceral game of cat-and-mouse and comedy of errors. All in the quest of a box (A Hitchcock McGuffin or a Delhi Belly doll).
Though the film borders on the ridiculous, it's seemingly palatable. It takes you through the aura of a small town, the romances, the affairs, the debauchery and how still, in the age of internet, sexual literature holds value to the older lot. The rustic tinge of the proceedings wears a layer of crude humor, which may be jarring for few, but falls perfectly in place. The performances takes up the comic quotient by another notch.
Another defining factor of GT are its character. Albeit the characters of Hari and Giri are enough to put you in splits, we have the two policemen and bunch of goons to bring the house down. The former search for the money and the latter try to find the unknown box. In this milieu, we have two dons - A sex maniac 'Revolver Rani' played by Shradda Das and a comic villain embedding the word ch***** in every line. This one is done by Mahesh Manjrekar. Rashmi plays a girl who can run away with Hari in a jiffy. Her smoking hot avatar is to watch out for. Wait, there's also another white dhoti clad gang after the two protagonists. Manchu Lakshmi has a flash-in-the-pan moment with a sparkling cameo.
With an expletive thrown in every scene the movie is pretty engaging the first half. The startling revelations of the characters and their crooked intentions push the film far beyond the ordinary. As the cuss words make their way, Praveen employs a technique of a super-short back linking to add a bit of dynamism to the screenplay. The background music with jazzy overtures outbursts every scene to the maximum. However, the second half rides on a predictable terrain. When you know the location of the box miles ahead of the characters searching for it, the fun is almost lost.
By all means, Guntur Talkies slips smoothly into the pulp fiction segment and can be seen as an evolution of crass humor in the caper genre. But couple of pitfalls in the narration gives it a narrow miss from becoming a Delhi Belly of Telugu cinema.