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a brief essay about one of our best

  • Rohit Penumatsa

    Rohit Penumatsa (50 DM Points)

    Desimartini | Updated - March 15, 2014 1:49 PM IST
    3.6DM (1933 ratings)

    Verdict - tight and funny if not urbane and artistic

    SahasamWatch trailerRelease date : July 12, 2013

    Let's start at the start. 2003 is a very important year for a Telugu audience hungry for serious cinema. Now, we are not talking about films that address social issues head on with very little aesthetic. What the educated audience was looking for was (is) cinema that doesn't adhere to given hopeless state of 'this is the only way you can ever make money of a film'.

    AITHE was that rare independent film that kept the narrative flowing, the laughs coming (and in the strangest places), for once a director with an eye for that minimalistic photography, a score that is a film score and not inter changeable songs and Pawan Malhotra playing a gangster to die for (I can hear him right now). And the follow up is to me the best Telugu film in the past decade - Anukokunda Oka Roju. At the end of this film was that strange feeling that made me stand up and clap, I'm a shy guy and yet I clapped for a while. It was possibly the first occurrence of a local director overwhelming you with his art.

    You know, I've often thought that the gangster and the artist are the same in the eyes of the masses. They are admired and hero-worshipped, but there is always present underlying wish to see them destroyed at the peak of their glory.

    -The Killing (1956)

    Wish it hadn't happened that soon but by the third film he was an artist torn between his core and the need for his films to make profits. So, Okkadunnadu (2005) was not here not there, the commercial habits he tried to adapt and his calm humour were, let's just say not a great mix. Two years later was Prayanam, but, by this time he wasn't hitting the sweet spot anymore even though the plot was novel and ambitious.

    It's 2013 and this year he made his most expensive film collaborating with Gopi Chand for the second time.


    A group of archaeologists are looking for the lost treasures of a Kanishka king somewhere in Pakistan and just when they think they found something, in comes Sultan (Shakti Kapoor), some kind of terrorist/local clan head and tells them to surrender any found treasures to him and not to the government.

    All the way in the Indian Hyderabad is Gautham (wish they hadn't done the Google Earth thing). Gautham comes from a middle class family, works for a security agency and dreams of being super rich one day. He apprehends a bunch of bank thieves, but, the event backfires and he hits a low of having to guard the city dump. Then, a rainy day ruins his roof and falls out of it an old bag with a diary, a will about his inheritance of diamonds and a strange looking locket. So, you understand how Gautham and Sultan are going to lock horns eventually. How does he get there? That's where Sri Nidhi comes in. Nidhi is a very religious girl and an active devotee. She is looking for company to go to an 800 year old temple in Peshawar. She thinks the world is going to end soon, hence the pilgrimage, cramped detail, doesn't matter.

    He belongs in the city

    Before the film travelled to Pakistan and before too many landscape shots dominated, the cinematography of the city was a lot of fun. This is where Yeleti was more fun even though the later parts had a lot of scope, visually. I really think he belongs in the city, amongst buildings. In other news, making a comeback is the composer Sri, but, it was not to be. The songs and the BGM were not helping the film, the best song was playing at the end credits, that's a loss.

    In spite of being a large budgeted affair Yeleti made sure the imposition of a romance was kept to a minimum. The awkward moments of a regular Joe on a treasure hunt was the humour of the climax and unlike most of our directors who suffer with boring, extended climaxes, our man is at his strongest towards the end.

    Not completely his kind of a film, but, managed to keep it tight and funny if not urbane and artistic.

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