Cast: Nagarjuna, Anushka Shetty, Pragya Jaiswal, Saurabh Raj Jain, Rao Ramesh, Vimala Raman, Jagapathi Babu etc.
Direction: K Raghavendra Rao
Banner: AMR Sai Krupa Entertainments
Music: MM Keeravani
Cinematography: S Gopal Reddy
Release Date: Feb 10, 2016
Nagarjuna and K Raghavendra Rao combo created wonders in the past with devotional films. Om Namo Venkatesaya is fourth devotional film in their association after Annamayya, Sri Ramadasu and Shirdi Sai. Let’s see whether Om Namo Venkatesaya has potential to do well at box office…
Ram (Nagarjuna) is a great devotee of Lord Venkatesa performs ages of Tapas to get his direct darshan. When the god comes as a kid, Ram fails to find his identity and sends him back. Ram cancels marriage with his maradalu (Pragya Jaiswal), who is waiting for long time, to dedicate his whole life to god. After getting known from his guru (Sukumar) that the kid was god, he decides to visit Tirumala Temple. However, Rao Ramesh, a corrupt who takes care of the temple won’t allow Ram to enter the temple. With blatant deeksha, he gets support of locals and king (Sampath Raj). Ram lives along with Krishnamma (Anushka Shetty) and other devotees in an ashram. At last, Lord Venkatesaya gives his Nija Darshanam to Ram. While Ram calls Venkatesaya as Balaji, the lord gives his devotee the name of Hathi Ram Baba. They play dice regularly. Hathi Ram takes a strong decision, which disrupts even the god. What is it? Where do Baba goes in the end?
3. Few Episodes
1. Sluggish Narration
2. Story Is Far From Reality
3. Less Of Drama And Emotions
Director K Raghavendra Rao is expert in making devotional films. But, biggest challenge for him with Om Namo Venkatesaya was the godman Hathi Ram Baba whose life story is made as film is not-so-popular like Annamayya and Sri Ramadasu or is less known to public. Though his team of writers did lots of research work to pen the story, they added enough of fictional episodes. Movie starts with a kid asking his guru, how to get god’s darshan. KRR exhibited his capabilities by aptly dealing the episodes. Then, Pragya is introduces as Nag’s maradalu only to provide glamor feast. A romantic song picturized on them was charming. Then, the film turns complete devotional with Nag reaching Tirumala. The struggles he initially faces were shown efficiently. The way the devotee convinces locals and the king were portrayed persuasively. Brahmanandam and Rao Ramesh episodes appear speed-breaks for the film’s flow. The film turns interesting towards interval.
Film takes side track with Jagapathi Babu’s entry as Anushka’s aficionado. In fact, many sequences appear unreal from here on. God regularly comes and plays dice with his devotee (Nagarjuna). Then, a test for the devotee to prove his honesty and devoutness, which isn’t shown convincingly.
Nagarjuna has once again done his job flawlessly. He has essayed the role of Hathi Ram Baba quite proficiently. He was too good in sequences of worshiping god and playing dice with him. Though it is debut for Saurabh Raj Jain in Telugu, he with showcase of his immense talent and acting skills has appeared like a matured-artist. He fit the bill perfectly and played the role of Lord Balaji impeccably. Anushka looks heavy, though she was good as Krishnamma. Jagapathi Babi irks in a cameo role and a song made on him and Anushka was awful. Rao Ramesh and batch were torturous. Brahmanandam and other comedy batch test patience in the name of ‘comedy’. Other artists played their parts decently.
Bharavi is specialist in penning devotional stories. However, he was needed to include many fictional episodes since they gathered very less information about the godman Hathi Ram Baba. Except for thapas, god-devotee dice episodes, Sajeeva Samadhi, most of the episodes in the film are far away from reality. Even though they opted to pen imaginary sequences, they should have taken extra care to pen episodes credibly. Compared to previous devotional films, Om Namo Venkatesaya lacks with drama and emotions. Many episodes appear unreal, perhaps due to bad writing and taking. S Gopal Reddy’s cinematography and MM Keeravani’s background score were big assets of the film, whereas songs were not up to the mark of Annamayya or Sri Ramadasu. Production values are just decent for a star hero film.
Om Namo Venkatesaya is an okay film with less drama and emotions. Families may like the movie, if they watch it with fewer expectations. The movie has done exceptional pre-release business and seems like it is tough to recover the investments for distributors!
CineDhol Perspective :
Less Reality, More Fiction