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ISM Review : Too many Leaks in this!


ISM Review, ISM Movie Review

“Ism” is another crazy title from Puri Jagannadh which generated interest from the day of the shoot. Starring Kalyan Ram as an angry young man, Aditi Arya as his lady love and Jagapathi Babu, the film raised huge expectations as another solid film with the forceful writing of director Puri.

Story :

The plot is audacious to begin with. Sultan (Kalyan Ram) is a street fighter in a place which looks familiar like Bangkok who falls for a girl Alia Khan (Aditi Arya). It turns out Alia is the daughter of the dreaded Don Javed Ibrahim (like Dawood Ibrahim) who has a web of illegal empires apart from handling slush piles of politicians money in a self-run bank called Bank of Paradise. Sultan and Javed strike a rapport over things nostalgic like Kareem Beedi and develop a nascent friendship.Until it dawns that there is a romance building between Sultan and Alia. Jawed tries to nip it in the bud but the plot thickens here with explosive revelations about the cash nexus he has with politicians in India.

The man who blows the lid off is doing through a network of journalists and hackers getting into networks of big banks and their servers and then naming and shaming the culprits who steal the nation’s billions away from the people who need them.


A neat and audacious plot is wasted with unimaginative screenplay and a story that moves with false starts and abrupt scenes. Characterisations are weak and lack depth. Whether it is Kalyan Ram or Jagapathi Babu or Aditi Arya, there is inconsistency all over. Jagapathi Babu’s role begins as a polished Don but gets diluted as the reels progress and you figure out he doesn’t have a spine on many matters to tackle his adversaries better- a lot of his potential as a subtle villain gets wasted in first half making the story collapse like a house of cards in the second half. The burden of playing baddies then falls on the comic gang of Posani Krishna Murali who tries to salvage the film but he lacks the unusual punch last seen in “Temper”.  Aditi Arya is looking good but unlikely she will bag more roles.

Kalyan Ram is the hero who pulls some good punches in the second half in the courtroom scene.His dialogues inter-linking the widespread corruption in India to the issues of farmer suicides, poverty, rupee depreciation and the loot that is greater than what the British have taken out of India is well-reasoned and hits the bull’s eye. As a hero, he gets a new body language with additional attractions of a tanned body and a Schwarzenegger body with a misaligned mop of hairdo that makes him like a cross between Tom Cruise and Van Diesel. But his dialogue delivery, his puzzled expressions and his incompetent acting fail to uplift him higher,it looks he is not paying enough attention to establishing himself as a star who is bankable, exudes charisma and fire dialogues of varying lengths like most of his clan.His strengths are more on the minimalistic side but they are getting monotonous, as monotonous as the violent themes in most of his films except “Pataas”.If there is a deliberate strategy to distinguish himself in his career, it is a different story but the rate at which he produces himself, usually backs a new director (except this one) and risks on dangerous plots and new heroines looks quite a bold business model for any dynastic hero. On that count, Kalyan is different but this may not give success unless it is undesirable for him.

Music by Anup Rubens is good in few songs. BGM by Anup Rubens is better than many of his earlier films. The film doesn’t score high on entertainment or comedy the way Puri is noted for. Puri’s failure in this film must be a reminder that he needs to get back to his basic strengths of writing good dialogues and blending with dynamic screenplay that tells a story well with twists.

At a particular juncture, the multiple themes of wikileaks (Grand Leaks), money laundering, corruption, farmer apathy, multiple scams – all are allowed to run amok on the story where the director loses control of the cruise. And yes,title justification has to be granted because this “Ism” is all about “Journalism”.

In working out the film’s theme, Puri and his team of co-directors and writers have done no big research on how hacking is done or how Julian Assange and Edward Snowden operate.

Verdict :

Ism is an example for lazy writing and cliched treatment disguised as a clever and sensational plot.With its strengths such as hard hitting dialogues in climax,whether ISM can overcome its weaknesses to survive at boxoffice or not we need to wait and see.

Telugu360 rating 2.5/5

Release Date : October 21, 2016
Director : Puri Jagannadh
Music director: Anup Rubens
Producers: N. T. R. Arts
Cinematography : Mukesh G
Starring : Nandamuri Kalyan Ram, Aditi Arya, Jagapati Babu

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