Maharshi movie review: A predictable star vehicle for Mahesh Babu with a workable emotional core
Director: Vamshi Paidipally
Cast: Mahesh Babu, Pooja Hegde, Allari Naresh, Jagapathi Babu, Rao Ramesh, Prakash Raj and Jayasudha
Mahesh Babu’s films can be generally categorised 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 for 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.
Maharshi has nothing new to offer in terms of story. It spends a lot of time on establishing the fact that Rishi wants to succeed because he’s afraid of losing. He wants to succeed because he doesn’t want to end up being a nobody like his father. A point that could have been easily made in lesser time is needlessly stretched for close to two hours and the pay-off isn’t event worth the time invested. The film finally takes off in the last hour and it’s this stretch, which is elevated by a strong emotional core, which makes the film work.
If it was giving back to the society in Srimanthudu and being a responsible citizen in Bharat Ane Nenu; Mahesh Babu fights for the honour of farmers in Maharshi. The sub-plot about farming and the miserable lives of farmers hits you hard and Mahesh makes this part even more gut-wrenching with his performance. Unlike Kaththi, Maharshi doesn’t dramatize things and that’s a big relief. Vamshi redeems himself strongly with a relevant and highly emotional farming stretch which is inarguably the film’s biggest saving grace.
Maharshi is a problematic film with big ideas but it tugs at heartstrings. Take out the farming sub-plot, Maharshi would’ve been a tiresome watch in which Rishi just won’t shut up with his sermons on success. Mahesh Babu, as a billionaire and a farmer is acceptable, but he somehow struggles to fit into the shoes of a college student. One can’t shake off 3 Idiots hangover in the college portion which barely works except for some scenes between Allari Naresh and Mahesh. Naresh plays Ravi, a hardworking son of a farmer with big dreams. Pooja Hegde has very little to do in a role that has absolutely no purpose.
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