Dictator Movie Review
Balakrishna’s date with Sankranti comes with a promising title “Dictator”. But the film is the much-publicized 99th film before his most ambitious film, the 100th film goes on the floors in some time. You needed a plot which doesn’t over-complicate like some of NBK’s recent films like “Lion” or go over the top like “Legend” with all the Hungary. You just needed a low-profile film which promises all the masala menu that Sankranti audiences and Balayya fans expect in as much no-frills fashion as possible
Balayya is a Manager in a retail supermarket chain called Dharma Food Stores. Already married, a girl Sonal Chauhan gatecrashes into his life who brings a set of woes that make Balakrishna fight the villains who torment her in search of her missing brother Rajiv Kanakala. A few imaginary duets with her and many gigs with colony mates later come a few fights that show the pent-up emotions of Balakrishna. Promptly comes the interval block which show that Balakrishna is not an employee of Dharma Food stores but something far bigger than that – a “Dictator” but a benevolent dictator who is a do-Goodyear to nice people but a scorcher for baddies. The second half is more serious but comes with a flashback that continues the preview of the dictator at interval time. A soulful romance with Anjali whom he marries is shown and how she changes Balayya and his business practices. There are no surprises in the movie except in the choice of the villains and a few good men. Kulbushan Karbhanda is the good man who inspires Balayya and Rati Agnihotri (the “Ek Duje Ke Liye” girl) is the main villain.
Balayya deliberately keeps a no-frills look with a heap of wiggy hair and costumes that look colorful. His face shows the age but he could have done better with the stubble that has kept company with him in the last decade. His dialogue delivery is the same but the choice of dialogues and the quality of dialogues is a bit different and fresh compared to the loudness it exudes usually. You find dialogues on Vastu shastra, the dignity of cinema artists, the Gross Domestic Product of the country and how it impacts the rest of the world, and on Good and Bad politicians. Of course, all the dialogues have to find a delineation with the dynasty of Nandamuri family and the subtle insinuations to the children of a lesser God. (Wonder if there is a new blood group discovered called “N” or “N positive”.) The two heroines Anjali and Sonal Chauhan fill in the glamor for the film alongwith the double-treat of two girls as item song dolls – Mumaith Khan and Shraddha Das. Thank God, there is no Hansika again which shows Balayya can mix variety with monotony. Comedy-wise, except Pridhviraj the rest of the artists don’t fire big time. Prudhvi is at the top of his form and he tries to salvage the sole comedy in the film in the first half but his lines are that appealing as written in “Loukyam”. Anjali in her original voice captures the hearts with some excellent lines which appeal to the middle-class troubles of urban India. Together, Balayya and Anjali sizzle.
Sriwaas is a director who has been turning some good hits of late – “Loukyam” which came in 2014 ringed in cash at the box office. He picks a story that is apt for doing minimum maintenance activity before the Balayya server hits peak traffic for Sankranti. The climax is not spectacular and somewhat weak but there are some good scenes shot in the backdrop of moving train (which is a staple object in Balayya’s films) and a couple of scenes showing Muslim reverence and worship.
The Final Word
In summary, the film is a leaf out of Balayya’s earlier films and not his best. But the think-tank clearly went according to a plan of keeping the momentum on before the 100th film comes up next. Balayya’s fans may just lap this up because it gives them the same thrills minus goosebumps you got for exceptional films like “Legend” or “Simha” series. Music by Thaman is catchy and the few melodious songs stand out in the first and second half. Background score puts a lot of effort but the emotion is not something that comes bursting at the seams – at many places the music and the emotions don’t feed each other which shows Thaman is not yet ready when it comes to giving outstanding BGMs like Mani Sarma and DSP. The missing mystery in the film that never gets settled is what happened to Rajiv Kanakala who shows up in the first scene and then haunts you throughout the first half. Check it out if you are a Balayya fan or await something better for Sankranti.