Just like any other Sankranthi, this year too saw multiple releases in Tollywood, with all of them featuring big stars – Nandamuri Balakrishna starrer NTR Kathanayakudu directed by Krish, Mega Powerstar Ramcharan starrer Vinaya Vidheya Rama, and Victory Venkatesh – Varun Tej starrer F2 Fun and Frustration.
NTR Kathanayakudu marked the return of Balaiya – Krish combo after the hit movie Gautamiputra Satakarni, which succeeded at the box office despite clashing with Khaidi no 150 starring Megastar Chiranjeevi, and Mega Powerstar Ramcharan had returned onscreen after his non Baahubali industry blockbuster Rangasthalam, teaming with Boyapati Srinu for the first time in Vinaya Vidheya Rama and considering the results of their last outings, both these movies were expected to score big at the box office, appealing to their respective target audience. However, much to the surprise of the film fraternity, dark horse F2 Fun and Frustration has emerged as the Sankranthi winner.
All the movies released with a day’s gap between them, and the fourth release, the dubbed version of Superstar Rajinikanth’s Petta also opened with lesser screens. Though NTR Kathanayakudu, which is the biopic of the legendary yesteryear Superstar and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister NTR played by NTR’s son Balakrishna himself received positive reviews, the reviews did not translate to revenues. On the other hand, Vinaya Vidheya Rama opened to extremely negative reviews for its cliched making and was subjected to trolls.
In such a scenario, it was advantage F2, though the movie had nothing in its favor – Venky had the last release as a full-fledged hero way back in 2016 with Guru, which wasn’t a commercial success, Varun Tej wasn’t in form either, as his last release Antariksham was a disaster, the lead ladies, Tamannaah and Mehreen hadn’t been a part of hit movies of late as well. The only positive aspect ahead of the release happened to be director Anil Ravipudi, who had delivered a hat-trick of hits, all of them with out of form heroes – Pataas with Kalyan Ram, Supreme with Sai Dharam Tej and Raja the great with Ravi Teja, and yet again has extended his winning streak with F2 Fun and Frustration.
Despite having a wafer-thin plot, F2 has become the Sankranthi winner, thanks to several highlights. Firstly, the return of the family-friendly hero – vintage Venky, as the movie is typically a one-man show of Venky, with his unmatched comic timing, hilarious dialogue delivery, and funny body language, reminding the audience of his Nuvvu Naaku Nachav, Malliswari days. Secondly, the glam girls Tamannaah and Mehreen Pirzada brightening the movie with their hot presence, especially with the milky Beauty Tamannaah, surprising audience with her sizzling hot appearance, oozing oomph like never before, and just as the trailer had promised of a glam feast with the bikini acts of girls, Anil Ravipudi packed commercial elements and built an entertaining screenplay, while ensuring that the movie had glamour and humor in right proportions. Irrespective of Varun Tej playing second fiddle and scoring occasionally with his Telangana dialect and Mehreen’s slightly annoying acts, Venky’s terrific humor and Tamannaah’s sizzling glamour ensured F2 was a winner.
On the other end, the downfall of NTR Kathanayakudu and Vinaya Vidheya Rama too hugely helped F2 greatly. NTR’s main issue was that, the makers let out almost every looks of Balakrishna and every vintage classic reference/ getup Balaiya would be sporting in the movie, and that itself reduced the interest on the movie considerably, besides, the screenplay dragging without conflicts and Balaiya’s decision to play young NTR by himself too had a huge impact, affecting the repeat/suggestion value of the movie. The movie missed everything that another biopic released last year, Mahanati had – engaging screenplay and the surprise factors like looks of the central character.etc.Vinaya Vidheya Rama’s case was different, as the movie was literally a mashup of Boyapati Srinu’s crazy ideas in the name of heroism, that completely went wrong, with the train episode, the head chopping and even Kiara’s extremely objectifying entry episode making the movie an instant feast for trolls and negative criticism. Petta on the other end has been running behind Viswasam even in TN box office, while it’s literally nonexistent in AP/TG.
F2 has been having a golden run at the box office both in AP/TG as well as US box office, as it has inched closer to the break-even value of 34 crores as it has already collected 32 crores, and had become Venky’s second million dollar movie at US box office after Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu. With F2 achieving unmatched and unexpected success, consistent hitmaker Anil Ravipudi has already announced that there’ll be a sequel to F2, F3 very soon, with the fun-loving husbands Venky and Varun and their controlling partners Tamannaah and Mehreen returning on screen. So until then, book your tickets and go meet the F2 family on screens, rejoice the humor and glamour filled family fun entertainment and enjoy the festival with families!
– Jeyya Siby Stephen