A Typical But Lengthy Mass Entertainer
‘UA’ -2 Hr 53 Minutes
What Is the Film About?
Abhi (Atharva) is a wannabe filmmaker who wants to make it big. He chances upon the story of a real-life gangster Gaddalakonda Ganesh aka Gani (Varun Tej) and wants to make a movie out of it. Did he manage to do it and how his life gets intertwined with Gaddalakonda Ganesh is what the film is all about?
Varun Tej’s Performance?
Varun Tej continues to pick versatile characters. After playing an astronaut in his last solo outing, this time he plays a gangster. The choices can’t be any more drastic.
The makeover of Varun Tej is what gets our attention instantly. It is terrific, and half of the job is done with the look itself. Add decent dialogue delivery and some well-written words, it is a character that is very easy to lap up by the audience.
However, like many other parts, Varun Tej has done before, the depth is missing. It is not as if he is spoiling the character, but with no real edge to them, he is failing to make them memorable. The role of Gaddalakonda Ganesh appears very one-dimensional. The get-up and dialogues help up to an extent. But to take it to the next level, there has to be something more. That is what Varun Tej misses here.
Direction by Harish Shankar?
Harish Shankar has a knack of picking simple stories and narrating it with high doses of entertainment. Sometimes there are a few twists thrown in as well. However, the most common problem with him has been the second-half syndrome. Gaddalakonda Ganesh follows the same pattern.
Gaddlakonda Ganesh or Valmiki stars interestingly and progresses into an exciting setup. The gangster character of Gaddalakonda Ganesh played by Varun Tej comes as a surprise. It is devoid of the usual heroism of a Telugu star, and yet it engages.
Apart from the gangster, the people surrounding him provide enough scope to unleash the energy of Harish Shankar. The writing combined with the story and twists of the original makes the first half a breezy watch. The pre-interval and interval block especially create great enthusiasm for the post-intermission output.
The second half begins promisingly with the story taking a new turn. However, slowly, the original ideas of Harish Shankar start to get incorporated into the account. Some of the improvisations work out well. However, they overstay their welcome and gets repetitive very soon. It is mostly the comedy like the audition, for example.
We then get to the most significant change from the original in the remake. It involves a flashback. There is nothing to add on that except that it is alright. But, what it does is tamper with the soul. That is removed, and we get the typical hero elevating stuff, which here is the anti-hero. The shock factor of the original, where the role of the director (the hero) and the power of the cinema as a medium is shown, is gone.
The deviation makes the climax flat and routine. In fact, the whole tempo comes down slowly, scene after scene in the final half an hour. A sense of restlessness creeps in due to the predictability making one think ‘when would the movie get over’. It is here Gaddalakonda Ganesh loses the battle. The well-known second half syndrome of Harish Shankar is at work again, but this time it is towards the end.
Overall, Gaddalakonda Ganesh has enough from Varun Tej and Harish Shankar to check out the movie once. But, it is a strictly one time kind of deal, when it could have been a far better case.
Pooja Hegde and Others?
Atharva, a young actor from Tamil cinema, makes his debut in Telugu with Gaddalakonda Ganesh. He suits the part age-wise and acts well too. However, one can’t help but feel his voice could have been dubbed better. There is an odd feeling while watching the movie, where the “voice” feels much older than the physical presence.
Mrinalini Ravi and Pooja Hegde are the female leads in the movie. Both have done well. The former wins with her girl next door charm whereas the latter delivers adequate performance in a truncated supporting part.
The rest of the movie comprises of regular faces which we see in commercial Telugu movies. Sathya is decent as the sidekick of the hero. Brahmaji starts well but soon feels overdone. Tanikella Bharani gets a brief but touching part. Others are okay in their small roles.
Music and Other Departments?
Mickey J Mayer in his second outing with Harish Shankar has given a decent commercial album. The background score is far better though with excellent usage of “Waka Waka” song. The cinematography is superb. Its colour palette gives it a unique feel. When one combines this with the presence of several repetitive casts, give the movie a Gabbar Singh vibe. The editing should have been better. The flow is missing during the second half. The dialogues are an asset.
Varun Tej’s Makeover
Harish Shankar’s Energetic Writing
Routine Turn Of The Story
As many know Gaddalakonda Ganesh (Valmiki) is a remake of Tamil film Jigarthanda, we suggest giving the original a watch.
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Yes, but with reservations
Valmiki Review by KK US
The second half of Valmiki fizzles after a point. The comedy which begins well turns repetitive. Overall, Valmiki gets tiring by the time it’s complete, making it a strict average far. Watch out for our honest review coming very soon.
– Valmiki comes to an end with an over dramatic climax. Final report shortly.
– Gani’s movie titled ‘Seeti Mar’ is ready for the release. Everything looks so forced at this point. The movie is heading towards the climax.
– Gani wants to play the lead role in his film. After doing the auditions Director Atharva feels Gani needs to be trained. Trainer Muni (Brahmaji) enters the scene.
– Telugu girl Dimple Hayathi does a lot of skin show in the item number Jarra Jarra.
– It’s time for ‘Velluvachi Godaramma’ song. While Pooja Hegde spills the glamour show, Varun looks very heavy with the retro look!
– Gani and Sridevi’s (Pooja Hegde) love track begins in the flashback life story.
– Valmiki second half started. Gani realizes that Atharva cane to his village to make a feature film on him. Gani is impressed by the movie proposal and started sharing his life story to Atharva.
First Half Report:
Valmiki has a decent first half mostly due to Varun Tej and Harish Shankar’s energy via writing. A few comedy bits have worked out superbly. It could have been much more had Varun Tej brought something extra to the table, giving it an edge. The background score is good. It is now up to the second half to maintain the momentum.
– Gani finds the covert in his gang and kills him, he finds the voice tracker used by Atharva for his film in the covert shorty pocket. Gani vows to kill Atharva in 11 minutes. Interval.
– Gnani suspects that someone in his gang is cheating on him to kill him. He wants to nab the covert in his gang. Atharva gets to know who it is.
– Atharva started following Gani and his gang for his movie.
– Atharva decided to make a film on Gaddala Konda Ganesh (Varun Tej as Gani). The story shifts to Gaddala Konda.
– Atharva is aspiring film maker challenges a senior director that he will make a good film in an year. He started looking for a real life don for his crime plot.
– Valmiki show begins with a flash back episode.
‘Valmiki‘, the title itself has got many facets to it and that’s the reasons why Varun Tej’s bearded raw look gelled well with the title. The actor has lived up to the image of a gangster with his looks and from the little of what we have got to see in the teaser and the trailer, he is bang on it.
So, primarily, this is going to be a very crucial movie for not Varun Tej but his director Harish Shankar. After he disappointed with ‘Duvvada Jagannatham’, it took him two years to pick up this project, the remake of Tamil movie ‘Jigarthanda’, a 2014 movie.
From 2013 to 2019, the director has been taking two years gap for landing on his next. One of Harish Shankar’s previous films ‘Gabbar Singh’ with Pawan Kalyan was the remake of blockbuster Bollywood movie with the same title.
Harish was successful in adapting the story to the nativity of the Telugu audiences and made ‘Gabbar Singh’ look totally like a new movie.
Can he do it again and make ‘Valmiki’ seem different from its original that was watched by many as the Tamil movie also came as a Telugu dubbing movie?
Here, Harish Shankar’s adaptation of the story to Telugu will be crucial and other things will fall into place if the script he has worked out was good.
Now, it’s time to know if Harish Shankar pulled out another ‘Gabbar Singh’? Stay tuned for mirchi9 team’s ‘Valmiki’ review. We’ll be back soon, folks!