Khaidi No 150 Critic Review By Pavan SurviJan 11, 2017 09:43 AM IST
Star-cast : Chiranjeevi, Kajal Aggarwal, Brahmanandam, Posani Krishna Murali, Prudhvi, Ram Charan, Allu Arjun, Raai Laxmi and Vinayak VV.
Director : V V Vinayak
Cinematography : R Rathnavelu
Music : Devi Sri Prasad
Producer : Ram Charan
Censor Certificate : U/A
Runtime : 147 Minutes
Offering another remake, both Chiranjeevi and his director V V Vinayak return after a long gap with Khaidi No 150, which is the official Telugu version of the Tamil hit Kaththi (2014) directed by A R Murugadoss. Now before commenting upon the film, I would like to mention that there are always two kinds of good films witnessed in south India in this genx marketing.
First are the movies with interesting point along with pucca commercial elements thrown in like romance, comedy, emotional drama and songs as usual. The second are the films with nice plot but are completely script based films not stooping to any commercial stuff for selling, turning out to be a filmic gem. Unfortunately almost all the Telugu remakes in the recent times have been films from the first kind only and Tollywood has rarely adapted any of those must watch Indian films from the second kind mentioned.
So following the same trend Khaidi No 150 also is a remake having a decent plot talking about some serious farmer issues. The topic of farmers suicide and state of agriculture in most of the Telugu states is indeed a topic every gulte needs to be aware of (In every 30 minutes a farmer dies in India). Having said that the kind of treatment it received for a major part of the story is abysmal. The over commercial elements like romance with Kajal Aggarwal, untimely songs, lengthy action and separate comedy tracks dampen the interest that the director is trying to generate with the rest of film’s screenplay.
Khaidi No 150 is a Tale of Two Cities story (Neerooru & Hyderabad) with Chiranjeevi in both the roles of Kathi Seenu and Shankar. Movie is all about a malefactor Kaththi Seenu, who takes the place of an identical social activist. Taking this as an opportunity he tries to pillage money using the Shankar’s name and a girl (Kajal Aggarwal) falls for a wrong guy for greater good. Its damn hard to watch a semi commercial film without sense of pessimism huddling on you. The villain Aggarwal (Tarun) aka. heartless corporates that they even change the heart of felon. The final transformation of careless romeo reviving ones faith on civil disobedience, in the pounding democratic impetus of tired society forms the rest of the storyline.
Performance wise, as expected Megastar Chiranjeevi maneuvered out in flying colors. The real hero of the film is Shankar, whose character was more like Chiru of Tagore – very pernicious and whose going to an extend of risking his life for the cause. This Chiranjeevi is completely ‘non-massy’ in every aspect, the way different from the typical Chiranjeevi what we have been seeing in his commercial potboilers. But Vinayak warrants Megastar fans with other Chiru character Kathi Seenu, with massy stuff as a genx avatar of auto Johnny. Especially in this emotionally charged moments which requires finesse of a hardened actor. Watch out for his marvel when he breaks down in that flashback after learning the villain’s first dissimulation to acquire the lands, where he literally dazes you by absorbing all the pathos that the character undergoes. Chiranjeevi also succeeded in imparting different body language and mannerisms to both the characters, Kaththi Seenu and Shankar. (I don’t know why but his characterization reminded me of Naayak and Adurs, where lead characters look same and have slightly different physical look and mental abilities). His dance moves are as fluid as it can get and he attempted doing extended version of cult veena step in Rathalu song, shoelace tying movement in Sundari in the track with good success (still needs to work on his body). Kajal Aggarwal is there only as an eye candy and she did what can be expected of a badly written role, by being cute and pretty and showcasing emotions. Bangalore actor Tarun Aurora, as the corporate lacked the scourge in a limitedly developed character. Comedians Brahmanandam, Ali, Raghubabu are too loud and their comedy work in parts. Surprise cameo by Ram Charan is nicely blended into ‘Ammadu Lets do Kummudu’ track the way the duo move on buckle step is a treat for fans.
Officially announced as the remake of Tamil film Kaththi (2014) starring Ilayathalapathy Vijay in the lead role, directed A R Murugadoss, Khaidi No 150 does take its entire storyline and most of the exact sequences from the original to put it straight. But then in reality, even Kaththi had its major plot from Veede (another massy film with water issues) with cursory identical twins point for a twist. Coming to Kaththi, it was a typical high energy, action packed, slow paced emotionally driven film with larger than life actor, who is Thannoru farmers messiah and also interested in going against the greed filled corporate world (who try to filch water from the farmers land).The film can be easily rated as an over the top commercial film, loudly executed project having everything routine along with a feel good factor with a cause used as its major triumph card claiming novelty. Yet despite being nothing exceptional, it works as a good action drama with many pumping moments to keep you engrossed, especially with an interesting action episode, tunnel sequence, media discussion, and enclosing social point very skillfully.
However when I watched Telugu version Khaidi No 150, made on an almost similar script and identical characterizations then I frankly couldn’t feel the same high paced emotions in its vibrant execution, which also fails to bring forward the noble issue as strongly as I was expecting. So in comparison terms, director V V Vinayak mellows down the pulsating Tamil action drama to make it more ‘fan friendly’ and at the same time also adds all usual ingredients of masala film to play it even safe (.. he missed the conviction of Murugadoss in handling this script). But woefully in this process, he actually dilutes the major impact of the good script and delivers a pretty casual film with the only strong of its farmer’s suicide point desperately asking for some praises and nothing else. For instance he adds Brahmanandam character for additional entertainment and brings down the suspense between the characters (by hinting everyone about Kathi Seenu and ‘No One’ thinks about what might have happened to Shankar) making it pretty ordinary and then simply ending the film quickly without leaving any major impact on the cinegoer. So comparatively, I would like to rate Kaththi as a better film with a message than its remake Khaidi No 150 (which works a Launchpad for Megastar’s return after a decade in Politics).
The major impact that worked in Kaththi was that of a Thief understanding the nobility of his Doppelganger, changing his attitude towards the people whom he tried to cheat. That factor worked like gold in the original and Vijay took the film’s message to another level. When you’ve Rajnikanth to deliver the same message you give him much more to do than what Vijay did but here lazy writers who said to have worked on scripting for 3 to 4 months just did not give any more thought or credit to the Megastardom that Chiranjeevi enjoys. Even before that is, a decade ago his last few films like Stalin (over did), Jai Chiranjeeva (under mined) and Shankar Dada Zindabad (lazy) just did not understand his charisma. With Tagore, VV Vinayak proved that he did but with Khaidi No.150 he made Tagore seem to be one off.
The diluted impact is evident in the aftermath sequence of Flashback itself. Even the additional characters were nothing but the same old characters that were part of Chiru’s films right from late 80‘s. Actor might have wanted few things it is the point of writers and director yo convince him how and why they would work and why not. The much hyped coin fight looked like an extended version of DVD of Kaththi and did not create the same impact. Even Music director DSP is the major culprit for this. His songs might have been okay but his back ground score lacked any finesse and did not match the euphoria. All in all, doing a remake might have been right or wrong decision had makers thought about improving on Kaththi rather than diluting it further. Original Jeevanadam had an impact and unconditionally thanked Katheeresan for his help but here it just seemed like a hunky dory fest of two friends. You may watch it for Chiranjeevi but even he had to shed few more kilos to rock the dance floor like he did before. In any case, you cannot fault him for entire movie that he so loved and gave his best of efforts to.