A Neat, Slick, But Flat Thriller
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What Is the Film About?
Arun (Nithiin) is a blind piano player. When his piano is broken, he finds a job at a posh hotel. Arun charms the audience with his natural gift. One among them is a yesteryear star, Mohan (Naresh).
A highly impressed Mohan invites Arun to his house to surprise his wife Simran (Tamannaah). What happens at the surprise birthday party? How it leads Arun into a far bigger mess that threatens his life is the overall plot.
Nithiin goes for a change with Maestro. It is not his lovey-dovey act. Instead, he plays a blind guy with a twist. Nithiin has played the part with conviction and sincerity. It is where he impresses. His ‘acting’ chops are tested in the second half, and he is okay. That he doesn’t spoil it is what makes him a winner.
Merlapaka Gandhi directs Maestro. It is a remake of the National Award winning Hindi movie, Andhadhun. What we get here is a fairly straightforward adaptation in Telugu.
The first thing to notice is that Maestro is set in Goa backdrop. It is to lend credibility to the ‘Anglo Indian’ styled setting of the original and also the central piano conceit. However, when it comes to Telugu remake, it creates an artificial ambience.
Within the first few minutes, we have a ‘comedy’ scene that isn’t seen in the Hindi version. It is a superficial addition for a low-key laugh but does nothing to pump up the narrative. The minute additions we see are of this type.
The core proceedings and the story are the same, and there is no difference in them. The movie takes off from the moment Arun enters Simran’s flat to give a surprise performance. There are small twists at every turn since then that catch the viewer’s off guard.
However, when it comes to having the impact, the intensity differs. Maestro is let down by a critical casting which brings down the overall appeal. It is that of Tamannaah. The entire pre-interval and interval sequence is a fine example of the same. The gripping narrative is missing even though we do get a feel of it.
The second half takes a crime comedy turn with the introduction of the doctor angle. The lack of organic setting and characters in the setup is a minor distraction, but that is alright.
The small turns, which were a mainstay in the first half, aren’t at the same level in the second half. There are a couple towards the end, and they are alright. The organ donation angle added to the narrative is good as it gives a neat closure to the story, unlike the ambiguity in Hindi.
Overall, Maestro is a decent remake and a passable watch. The entire narrative is the same minus some simple additions. If only the casting were good, Maestro would have delivered bigger and with more intensity. What we have here is a slick but flat recreation.
Tamannaah & Others?
Nabha Natesh playing the heroine is alright. It is not a typical heroine part and goes missing in the story for a relatively large portion. It has a crucial role to play, still, and that is a job well done.
The real deal when it comes to character and performance is that of Tamannaah. She reprises the role made memorable by Tabu in the original. Tamannaah tries her best, but, unfortunately, she is no match for the original act. The birthday sequence and the interval block have less intensity and missing gripping quality due to the same. The ‘fear’ and raw edge the character possesses is not recreated in Maestro. It is essential to create a threat and thereby lift the proceedings from a decent level.
Jissu Sengupta is a good choice, but the dubbing could have been better. It adds to the already artificial setup and makes some scenes look like watching a dubbed movie. Srinivas Reddy is wasted. Senior actor Naresh is an inspiring choice, but the same can’t be said about the police inspector’s wife. Mangli does her role confidently, and Harshavardhan is adequate as usual.
Music and Other Departments?
The music is an integral part of the narrative. Mahathi Swara Sagar is entrusted with that responsibility. He has done a good job with the piano bits, but the actual songs lack the spark and energy. The background score is alright. The cinematography by J Yuvaraj is neat. The editing could have been better. The proceedings have an on and off quality, which doesn’t let a positive building of momentum. The writing is fine.
A Couple Of Key Casting Choices
Editing In Parts
Artificial Vibes At Times
Someone more aged than Tamannah, but not old, who could look dominating and powerful (momentarily) would have elevated the same stuff seen in Maestro.
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Maestro Telugu Movie Review by Siddartha Toleti