Sarileru Neekevvaru review: Mahesh Babu film is a commercial entertainer that plays to its strengths
Sarileru Neekevvaru review: Anil Ravipudi’s film lets Mahesh Babu try his hand at comedy after playing serious roles in his last few releases. It is a perfect festival entertainer.Updated: Jan 11, 2020 20:21 IST
Director: Anil Ravipudi
Cast: Mahesh Babu, Vijayashanti, Rashmika Mandanna, Rajendra Prasad and Prakash Raj
In director Anil Ravipudi, one can find traces of filmmaker Srinu Vaitla when he was in his prime. Both these filmmakers have so much in common and what is strikingly similar in their films is how they play to their strengths. Sarileru Neekevvaru is a very generic story of a soldier (played by Mahesh Babu), who comes to a small town to save a family from the clutches of a rowdy politician (played by Prakash Raj). But what is not generic about the film is its treatment, which Anil Ravipudi has mastered over the last few years and that’s what makes Sarileru Neekevvaru the perfect festival entertainer.
Sarileru Neekevvaru allows Mahesh Babu to reinvent himself after playing mostly serious roles in his last few films. Just when his roles were beginning to get repetitive, Mahesh picks a character that allows him to flaunt his machismo but at the same time try his hand at comedy after quite some time. It is a refreshing departure for both Mahesh and the audience to see him have fun on screen and not preach in the name of entertainment. It is equally refreshing to see Mahesh play a character that uses his machismo to elevate Vijayashanti’s character. It is not every day that we see a mainstream star be alright with the fact that his masculinity is used to make a character of opposite sex invincible. Anil Ravipudi deserves full credit here for bringing back Vijayashanti (after 13 years) in a role in which she stands tall and is not wasted.
Anil Ravipudi isn’t a filmmaker with many tricks up his sleeve. He is someone who understands the pulse of the masses way better than any of his contemporaries. Anil understands that comedy is his strength and it is one area where he has stood out in all his films so far. However, the comedy in his films is silly and that is putting it mildly. For instance, there’s a scene in Sarileru Neekevvaru where Rashmika Mandanna and her mother, along with other family members create a fake rape scene to trap Mahesh Babu into marrying Rashmika because she is smitten by him. The idea is cringeworthy but Anil handles the scene in such a way that it leaves the audience in splits. It takes a lot of talent to write trashy scenes and still make it work as comedy and Anil has aced that technique.
Sarileru Neekevvaru has a subplot about soldiers and all the sacrifices they make for the sake of the nation. Initially, this segment sticks out like a sore thumb and comes across as a stretch purely included to elevate Mahesh’s character. But by the end of the film, Anil gives a solid closure to the army subplot. Prakash Raj returns to play a villain and he pulls off his character with ease, proving once again his versatility when it comes to the role’s different dimensions. Rashmika Mandanna has to be the most energetic leading lady in Telugu cinema currently. Underneath all the silliness, her role is not an easy one to essay, but she breathes so much energy into her character. If there’s one area where the film falters, it’s the music as composer Devi Sri Prasad disappoints with easily forgettable songs.
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