No easy job this. Writing about Shankar Dada Zindabad (SDZ) is about as tough a job as Prabhudeva had remaking Lage Raho Munnabhai. Reproducing the flavor and feel of the original movie is never easy, putting in words the euphoria of watching a Chiranjeevi movie first day first show is also never easy. Me and my friends managed to catch the first day first show of the movie thanks to some connections to the film industry. One of the heros of the younger generation who acted in a small role in the movie sent us tickets for the movie as we were friends with his brother. Thank you Rohit, you were great in the movie by the way!
The movie was everything a Chiranjeevi fan could ask for. Agreed, the flavor of the original was in no way reproduced here, but afterall the original came without any baggage. It was a movie that no one of us had any clue about, or any expectations from and the feeling of pleasant surprise was overwhelming enough for us to overlook what minor flaws it had. Here, I knew what the story was, how it would proceed and everything else, yet SDZ managed to keep me engaged. The first half was decent entertainment. All the three songs were a riot. The second song in particular, with a number of stars making guest appearances, made the audience go berserk. The movie progressed at a fair clip and it was intermission time before any one of us could complain. Now came the tricky second part wherein it was obvious that the proceedings would get heavy. This needed good handling and Prabhudeva proved himself upto the task to a large extent. He did manage to put in the right elements that the crowd would expect, the last song with Yana Gupta being a masterstroke. Just when the movie got dialogue heavy, he put in a song, one with enough verve to get the best out of Chiranjeevi. Chiranjeevi, the master dancer almost seemed to be competing with Yana Gupta for honors in this particular song and the climax with yet another guest appearance rightly rounded off the proceedings.
Chiranjeevi as usual excelled in all departments. It was definitely great to see the energy back in his dances. Srikanth was able as his sidekick, able and nothing else. One major negative point was the heroine Karishma Kotak. How one wished they would have taken a more identifiable face, instead of a dolled up face which was covered in so many layers of make up that the expressions were hardly discernible! Another thing missing was the lovable villian that Boman Irani played to perfection in Lage Raho. Sayaji Shinde was ok, but the dimension that Boman added to his role was simply outstanding. The rest of the cast did well enough for themselves. Worth mentioning is Devi Sri Prasad's music. He has yet again proved that he can rock young and old alike with his tunes. Good Morning and Aakalesthe will stay in memory for a long time...
Technically though, the movie looked like it was shot ages ago. Old cameras, older camera angles, inconsistent cinematography and the worst thing was the couple of scenes that were a direct lift from the original. Could he not have reshot them? The amount of money spent on a Chiranjeevi movie is huge and the least that a producer can ensure is a technically superior product that adds gloss to the proceedings. Time Chiranjeevi tried out a new set of technicians instead of sticking to the old and tested ones.
A couple of months will herald Chiranjeevi's son into the big bad world. Maybe it is time for the Megastar to reinvent himself! He still has a few years to go before he can graduate to the Big B kind of roles, but he will have to make his choices carefully now!