Salman Khan and Chiranjeevi’s partnership deserved much better than Godfather-Entertainment News , Firstpost

It is so sad and infuriating to see an actress of Nayanthara’s caliber—‘Lady Superstar’ no less— playing such a dumb woman in Godfather. Nayanthara is cast as Sathyapriya, the daughter and successor of the deceased Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, whose husband Satya Dev (seriously!) is involved in international drug trafficking. At home, he intermittently tries to make heavy sexual advances towards his sister-in-law, Nayanthara’s sister, who  doesn’t bother to tell her sister what Satya Dev is up to. If your brother-in-law is a potential CM, you had better keep your mouth shut.

Although two of the leading characters in Godfather, now streaming on Netflix , are named  after truth, there is a ferocious fund of falsifications in this mess of a movie, mined by mayhem and governed by an anarchy that seeps right into the  core of the plot. Not that anyone seems to have any idea what lies at  the  core of this bottomless pit of trashy nothingness.

There is a lot of obstreperousness carpeting the chaos. Director Mohan Raja has returned to Telugu cinema after twenty years. I wish we could call this a grand homecoming. The sheer vacuousness of  the proceedings sets your teeth on edge. How could an actor of Chiranjeevi’s stature allow himself to be hoodwinked into this self congratulatory melodrama about an  outsider making a resolute claim to the prime ministerial throne? Brahma is the good bad boy as compared with the other politicians who are bad badboys.

Chiranjeevi is characterized as some kind of  a maverick. He doesn’t speak much. He glowers  greatly, showering contempt on the corrupt. Clearly his actions are meant to speak louder than his words. But a large part of Chiranjeevi’s Brahma’s actions are so devoid of straightforward logic, you wonder what the writer-director Mohan Raja was thinking while writing the role. Perhaps, a mix of Mahatma Gandhi and Manmohan Singh?

It is pretty much spelt out in the silly, scattered script that adopting underhand methods in politics is okay ,no matter which side you are on. So a woman claiming to have been raped by Brahma is set up as decoy. No DNA tests, no probe: Brahma is sent to prison where his uniform announces he is prisoner number 786.

The holy number is the pre-interval plot-revelation about Chiranjeevi’s true identity. This is  where Salman Khan is introduced. He plays Masoom Bhai and calls Chiranjeevi’s Brahma   from Dubai.

“Bhai, anything I can do?” Salman drawls exactly the way he must have while offering his  services to Chiranjeevi for this film.

Brahma tells Masoom Bhai to await further orders. The cue for director Mohan Raja to tease  out some more screenplay from a frozen gelatinous plot.

In the initial footage of the second-half, Salman studio-rides a fancy mobike, studio-bombs a truck carrying illicit money. The entire action sequence reeks of phoney, juvenile special effects of the kind employed in Ekta Kapoor’s serials. The dance where Chiranjeevi and  Salman move to the grove is so limp, it feels like two superstars being bamboozled into  shaking a leg at a wedding.

How could two superstars of this stature be brought together for something so bereft of cinematic value? Godfather feels like a reluctant remake  of the Malayalam film Lucifer where Mohanlal and Prithviraj Sukumaran played Chiranjeevi and Salman’s parts with a lot more  agility and joy.

Nothing in  Godfather  works, least  of  all the language. While the  principle characters  speak  in Telugu, all the  hoodlums  and gangsters , including Salman, speak in Hindi. The politicians are  all eminently corruptible. I only wish the film had shown more honesty in its  presentation than the characters.

Subhash K Jha is a Patna-based film critic who has been writing about Bollywood for long enough to know the industry inside out. He tweets at @SubhashK_Jha.

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