HanuMan review: Teja’s superhero film kicks off Prasanth's cinematic universe - Hindustan Times

HanuMan review: Teja Sajja’s superhero film kicks off Prasanth Varma's cinematic universe

ByNeeshita Nyayapati
Jan 12, 2024 06:26 PM IST

HanuMan review: Teja Sajja shines in his second film with Prasanth Varma after Zombie Reddy.

HanuMan review: Prasanth Varma has made only three films before HanuMan, and he attempted something different each time. With Teja Sajja, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Amritha Aiyer and Vinay Rai-starrer HanuMan, he kicks off the Prasanth Varma Cinematic Universe (PVCU). This film was quite the underdog in the Sankranthi race, much like its titular character. But it might come out on the other side as a success story. (Also Read: HanuMan is culturally rooted, not religious: Director Prasanth Varma)

Teja Sajja's film HanuMan will be followed by Adhira and Jai Hanuman
Teja Sajja's film HanuMan will be followed by Adhira and Jai Hanuman

HanuMan story

Hanumanthu (Teja) is a small-time thief living an idyllic life with his sister Anjamma (Varalaxmi) in the fictional village of Anjanadri. The village seems underdeveloped, almost cut off from the world, with nature and a large statue of Hanuman surrounding it. When Hanumathu finds a totem that allows him to do much more with his life, it attracts the attention of Michael (Vijay) and his friend Siri (Vennela Kishore). A series of events puts Anjanadri and the world in trouble, and Hanumanthu must rise up to the challenge.

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HanuMan review

On paper when you look at HanuMan, it feels nothing more than your cookie cutter superhero origin story. There’s an underdog who’s often overlooked by everyone till he gains superpowers. There’s a hilarious sidekick (Getup Srinu) who refuses to believe his lanky friend can have superpowers till he proves it. It’s all fun and games till the stakes get higher and a great show of strength follows an ‘all is lost’ moment. But, Prasanth does it all so well, that you almost don’t mind.

What works

HanuMan takes its own sweet time to get into the thick of things. The film sees hilarious moments generated thanks to Srinu, Satya, a monkey called Koti (Ravi Teja), and others. Sunishith and Rakesh Master also have cameos referencing their histrionics on YouTube.

The film picks up pace when Hanumanthu discovers his superpowers and has fun with this knowledge. HanuMan also shows why it’s so hard to set up a superhero film in Telugu when the likes of Mahesh Babu, Pawan Kalyan, Allu Arjun and Balakrishna play everyday characters and make baddies fly in commercial cinema even without superpowers.

The heart of this film lies in nothing but the story of this underdog not realising his own strength, much like Lord Hanuman. And the relationship he shares with his sister, who gets a whistle-worthy moment when she stands up for him.

What doesn’t work

After a strong beginning that shows just how dangerous Michael can be, the film dabbles in a love story featuring Meenakshi (Amritha), and sets up another villain (Raj Deepak Shetty) - both of which almost lead to nowhere. It just makes you wish the film had spent more time dedicated to Michael, delving deeper into his need to have power at any cost.

When introduced to Anjanadri, HanuMan’s VFX work is top-notch with a drone-like shot that stays with you. On the other hand, some of the film’s key moments - especially an emotional sequence and the climax - are diluted a little because you can’t help but notice that the CGI is not as good as the ambition is. The helicopter shots also look amateurish.

The PVCU universe

Prasanth does a good job of drawing you into the universe of Anjanadri. Anudeep Dev, Gowra Hari and Krishna Saurabh’s music also helps with that, apart from Dasaradhi Sivendra’s cinematography. While the song Avakaya Anjaneya doesn’t add much to the story overall, it is fun to watch Hanumanthu come unto his own while beating up some dacoits as a folk song plays in the background.

More than anything, HanuMan has a little bit of everything families look for in a Sankranthi fare. The film keeps you entertained for 2 hours 38 minutes and seems like something children would love. With the sequel, Jai Hanuman and Adhira starring Kalyan Dasari, it remains to be seen how Prasanth carries the momentum forward.

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