V (2020) Telugu Movie Review: Bullets Misfired

In films from southern India, especially Tamil and Telugu industry, the film revolves around the lead actor. So whenever a film is announced without a title, the film is generally referred by the name of the lead actor and the forthcoming number of his (as per his filmography). Actors pay an important attention to milestone films likes their 25th or 50th  and so on.

V is Nani’s XXV film.  Nani is an actor who goes by the moniker Natural Star, though I do not know what that means. Nani is an actor who has built his image as the boy next door so far. I was surprised to see him going on full on action mode, for this Ugadi release before the pandemic forced the makers to release this straight on Amazon Prime.

Telugu films are generally a product of star driven markets, so actors must experiment in small measures without going overboard or risk alienating their fan base. Even when they play characters with grey shades it is a tightrope walk be it Mahesh Babu in Pokiri or NTR Jr in Temper incidentally both are helmed by the same director (Puri Jagannadh) and we get a redemption factor or solid reasoning for their deeds.

V begins with a communal riots scene in Hyderabad, wherein super cop Adithya (Sudheer Babu) comes and rescues the victims from the rioters in true blue fashion with his shirt getting ripped away to show off his physique.

Things turn murkier for Adithya when an unknown caller challenges him to stop the murders he is going to commit. Thus, begins the cat and mouse game between the stwo. For those who are accustomed to watching Telugu film, we know there will be a Shankar Curse (Read flashback sequence) which will reveal why the Hero is on a killing spree. Now this template is known to most Telugu audience, that is why narration matters, but it totally fails.

Mohana Krishana Indraganti wants to make a cool film, but it ends up in a hot mess due to weak characterization.

Sudheer Babu as DCP Adithya is sincere, even though his role is one dimensional and does not have much scope to perform. Nivetha Thomas as his lady love, does not add much to proceedings, but at least has some pivotal part in taking the investigation forward.

Nani as Vishnu is exciting to watch, especially when this is a character which is straight contrast to his image. In the first half it is interesting to see how he scares people and the coldblooded murders which he commits, you want to know more about the character, but alas he is let down by a weak screenplay.

There are few good points in the film helmed by Mohana Krishana, 1) The character played by Nivetha Thomas is the usual Telugu heroine, but here she has a career of her own, she is not dumb and she helps her love interest with investigation 2) The way he gives tribute to K Raghvendra Rao, I thought it was interesting to make the most recognised romantic scene and turning into a grotesque murder scene, I loved the tributes to Game of Thrones and the Korean slasher I Saw The Devil, it is an interesting scene where he explores why people watch violence  3) In an interesting scene, he does not go the jingoistic way and say that Kashmiris are ungrateful, instead the character says this will only change if the internal wounds are healed. 4) In another scene when the Cop confronts and says there is corruption in the Army too, he accepts and says it is our duty to correct the flaws of every system, in a supercharged climate of India today, it takes courage to include such dialogues. 5) The romance set up for both Adithya and Vishnu are interesting, in case of Adithya it is the girl who takes the lead to start the romance, while in Vishnu’s case it is not age old stalking but a mutual interaction which blossoms into love for them.

Alas such moments are few and far not coherent enough to make this an engaging watch.

Spoilers Ahead

There are major issues with this film, like in order to make a character look cool or evil, we see Vishnu played by Nani smoking joints, but we are not told what is the reason for smoking the same, especially when this guy is an ex-armyman.

He wants to apply for leave as his wife is pregnant, as there is no one at home. I guess Army does not provide accommodation anymore to family even in Jammu, this guy seems to be stationed in Kashmir forever. Or the thought of hiring a housemaid does not enter his thoughts. And for a guy who is shown to be an able officer with empathy, his plan of going AWOL seems like treason to me.

The big reveal which comes after the extended climax reminds us of Ghajini and why the revelation is an epilogue is still a mystery to me.

Now coming to the other characte, DCP Adithya, he is portrayed as someone who is a super cop, yet he does not know who was involved in the riots. This is like a mystery to me. A cop with some intelligence should be aware of this or track the details.

Spoilers End

Overall V is a film which is letdown by weak writing and screen play and you can skip it unless you are still curious or have any other compelling reason to watch it. 

The film is streaming on Amazon Prime now.

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