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Maharshi Telugu Movie Review
Mahesh Babu’s films can be generally categorized as commercial entertainers that are intended for the masses. In this process, some of his films worked big time while some sank without a trace. However, with films such as Srimanthudu and Bharat Ane Nenu, he seems to have cracked a success formula: Take a social issue and address it in the most commercially entertaining fashion possible and make it resonate with the audiences. He takes the same path in Maharshi, which follows the journey of a self-made man (Mahesh Babu as a billionaire) who rediscovers himself through farming.
Vamshi Paidipally’s Maharshi has traces of Swades and AR Murugadoss’s Kaththi as it follows Rishi (Mahesh Babu), a man who is so consumed by his own success that he gets lost trying to understand its significance. In his pursuit of success and fame, he distances himself from his family, loses his best friend and the love of his life. When he realizes what he’s lost, Rishi goes on a journey of self-discovery as he returns to India to make up for his mistakes.
Rishi (Mahesh Babu) is an extremely talented youngster who has big dreams about his career. In the final semester of M.Tech, Rishi gets selected for an MNC, moves to work in the USA. In a short span, he becomes the CEO of a company named ‘Origin’. At this point, Rishi comes to know about the situation of his college mate and close friend Ravi (Allari Naresh) who secretly sacrificed his career for Rishi in the past. Rishi wants to help Ravi, joins his fight against an Oil corporation giant in a rural Godavari region. Rest of the film is about how Rishi fights against the problems faced by the villagers.
Mahesh Babu is definitely the show stealer of the film. His energetic performance is undoubtedly one of the major plus points of the movie. Whether it is a college student or a CEO or a farmer, Mahesh Babu has gone under the skin of the character and has delivered his career-best performance in this movie.
Pooja Hegde looked absolutely stunning in this film, and her chemistry with Mahesh Babu is an eye feast to watch.
Allari Naresh breathes life into his character. He has delivered a memorable performance in this movie and will leave an impact on the audience.
Jayasudha and Prakash Raj acted as husband and wife again in this film and needless to mention that they have acted naturally.
Rao Ramesh delivered an honest performance. Ananya did an excellent job in essaying her role. Vennela Kishore and Mukesh Rishi performed well.
Meenakshi Dixit is a perfect pick for her character. The rest of the actors including Hemanth, Jhansi, Sameer, etc. made their presence felt.
Mahesh Babu, his performances in three different shades
Allari Naresh and Emotional second half
The background score and technical aspects
Grand Production Values
Devi Sri Prasad's background score
Climax episodes and Farmers issue
Rishi (Mahesh Babu) is a superman, his pursuit of success his kryptonite. Rishi solves impossible sums in a jiffy. He is crazy about being successful, although it is a little annoying for a stickler for grammar rules that they use the word ‘success’ as a verb rather than a noun.
Rishi joins IIET to do an M.Tech – he is there for the degree, he says, which he needs for success in life. He wants to create something that rivals Facebook and Google (when will our movie-makers get the details of the education industry, right? M.Tech really? Crore-rupee jobs?). In his campus selection interview, Rishi gives the interviewers a counter-offer, having created an operating system driven by artificial intelligence.
Engineers would raise their eyebrows a bit at the fact that the degree discussed is M.Tech, not MS, which feels weird for someone of Rishi’s persona and goals. Our filmmakers don’t exactly understand how education works, how colleges work and what exactly happens in campus recruitment interviews. Get over 3 Idiots already, please! This may seem like quibbling, but the lack of research is annoying.
When it comes to the corporate world, our films are decades behind, still trying to figure out how boardrooms work. Sample this – when Rishi announces in a meeting, as the CEO of a company called Origin, that he is taking personal leave, the whole room, full of white people (what’s with the white people fetish?) erupts and spirals into chaos, everyone protesting what he's just said. No, sir, no matter what Telugu filmmakers think about their heroes, that’s not how a CEO’s leave is discussed in a boardroom (#justsaying).
The first half of the movie is about Rishi chasing success, with his father (Prakash Raj) as his role model for what he shouldn’t be, a failure. At college, he befriends Ravi (Naresh) and Pooja (Pooja Hegde). Pooja Hegde’s role in this movie would have been a downright winner if award shows had a category called Let’s-do-nothing. She basically chases Rishi because he is the topper, falls in love with him. She orchestrates the genius strategy of introducing the guy she loves to her family of 50 people, who ask him all sorts of uncomfortable questions, and then when he, absolutely clueless, asks her what’s going on, tells him about her love for him. Most bizarrely creepy relationship-proposal ever.
While the first half is decently entertaining – if you are a Mahesh Babu fan – it is the second half where the story picks up steam. Somewhat. Rishi, a successful CEO and the darling of the media, learns about Ravi’s whereabouts, years later (thanks to a surprise party organized by one of Rishi’s subordinates, who gets all his classmates flown to the US. Why? Who knows? Did they forget to address that she had a crush because the movie already got too long?).
Ravi is fighting alone ideological battle in his village that’ll soon be demolished to lay an oil pipeline for a grand-project. (Pooja as the Tech lead of a gaming company is still doing nothing in the movie) What starts as trying to make up to his estranged best friend, turns into a revolution, pitting Rishi, Ravi and entire villages against Mittal (Jagapati Babu), who is helping the oil pipeline project, that would adversely affect innumerable lives. Rishi runs his office in the village under a peepul tree, meetings under a tree as press and the villagers watch on.
He wouldn’t be fired only in a Telugu movie, you know (at least, he could have been the owner of the company, so he could run the show the way he wanted. CEOs can’t get away with this, wake up already!). Imagine the CEO taking unplanned leave for months, conducting office meetings in a village, where other company officials have to fly down in choppers (which company would be fine with their CEO embroiled in controversies on national news, day after day, I know not!).
Anyway, the cat and mouse game between Rishi and Mittal allows Jayasudha, who plays Rishi’s mom, her two moments under the sun (in between Pooja Hegde comes and goes again without doing much). Exactly why she has to wait for so long to have a heart to heart with her son is left to anyone's guess. It feels tiresome by now when she repeats that her husband was a success and so was her son (too preachy, I say, if you try repeating what’s a success so many times).
Maharshi talks about a journey, a transformation, but that transformation is rarely felt – because the movie is so busy making love with Mahesh Babu’s image to allow audiences to see the character flaws. The idolization of Rishi even as a college student doesn’t let us believe he is going down the wrong path, which makes his newfound love for the country, his best friend, and the farmers, a little outlandish.
Right through the movie, Rishi is Odin Allfather, omniscient and omnipotent, who makes sure his best friend wins in life (Pooja is still not doing much, mind you). Maharshi’s climax takes an eternity to arrive and the clarion call to respect farmers and to save them, although well-received, almost makes you wonder if the makers accidentally mixed up two different movie stories.
And after preaching and educating India and its countrymen about the importance of farmers, the movie comes to a very swift and convenient end. All in all, Maharshi has plenty to keep the fans whistling. (Not that they'll mind Pooja not doing anything. Wonder if she asks the director, Vamsi Paidipally - Hey, am I here just for the songs? No role?) Naresh's character is well-written, and it is his role that offers the pivotal turning point in the movie. Which makes you wonder why he watches a big chunk of the climax from the sidelines, as if he were there only for emotion-capture, like the relative of a KBC contestant.
Music director Devi Sri Prasad and Sound recording team have done a fabulous job. Cinematography is another major asset.
Director and Editor should take the blame for running this film for three hours. Production values are of the top grade but the production cost may not be as much as hyped. The entire second half has been shot in a village set, under a tree! In the first half, except the CEO Life Style visuals, we won’t find many high budget required scenes.
Mahesh Babu's Maharshi is not about a business tycoon coming back to his motherland. He has a bigger purpose here. But the film is good only for Mahesh Babu fans. Watch it if you really like the star.
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