Jio Rockers Panjaa – stylish, but misses the mark
Inspite of his recent ones Pawan Kalyan’s movies are huge crowd pullers. With stylish filmmaker Vishnu Vardhan at the helm, Pawan’s latest, Panjaa, creates even more furor amongst his fans. So does Panjaa Pawan Kalyan work? It almost does, almost being the key word here.
What’s it about:
Bhagawan (Jackie Shroff) is a mafia don in Kolkata, who shines with the help of his key associates Guru (Thanikella Bharani), Sabhapathi (Paruchuri Venkateshwarar Rao), and Jai (Pawan Kalyan). Jai not only acts a body guard to Bhagawan, but also keeps his boss one up against his arch rivals. Everything seems fine in Bhagawan’s camp until the return of Bhagawan’s son, Munna (Adivi Sesh), whose sadistic treatment of Sabhapathi creates a rift in the gang. Obviously it becomes Jai’s job to sort out everything. Unfortunately Jai’s association with Jahnavi (Anjali Lavania), a club dancer, too creates further rift between Jai and Munna, resulting in Jai killing Munna. Bhagawan is outraged. Being too loyal to kill his boss, Jai leaves Kolkata, going after his love Sandhya (Sarah Jane Dias). But does that mean he is out of Bhagawan’s reach?
Pawan Kalyan gives a terrific performance, underplays a lot, and lets his body mannerism speak more than his dialogue in key sequences. He thrives in action scenes, most of which have been slickly shot. While it is his movie on the whole, he is ably supported by the ever dependable Thanikella Bharani, villainish Jackie Shroff and Atul Kulkarni. Adivi Sesh, inspite of the length of his character, makes his presence felt as a semi-sadistic son of a villain. Anjali Lavania gets a short role on her debut, but she does enough as a club dancer who likes Pawan Kalyan. However, it is the debut of Sarah Jane Dias that becomes more noticeable, as this ex Miss India not only looks cute but also emotes well as the love interest of Pawan Kalyan.
Together all these actors make the first half extremely gripping. Infact the way the director leads all his characters to create a conflict point at the end of first half is outstanding. But these goodies aren’t enough for Panjaa, as the story runs into the second half.
While the stylish treatment of the first half covers it well, the second half of the movie cannot hide the fact that the story of Panjaa is a tad too clichéd. Another glaring mistake, or so it seems, is the fact that our hero solves most of his problems before the first half, leaving very little to be done in the second half. As a result, the second half seems dragged and forceful, and even Brahmanandam’s comedy cannot save it. Lack of memorable punch lines and lengthy song sequences will disappoint fans, who won’t mind swaying to Yuvan Shankar’s music than seeing a film that is more often than not serious! Interestingly, in spite of the seriousness, the drama in the film is never too melodramatic, mostly because Pawan’s under doing it. As a result, most of the audiences feel disconnected, and this ‘disconnectedness’ could become a hugely deciding factor of this film’s fate.
Director Vishnu Vardhan earns full marks for the way he treats his characters, his staging and the way he raises the heat with apt usage of the medium. Personally I liked the way he kept the energy up while keeping the drama down. He has been ably helped by cinematographer Vinod, who doesn’t just rely on low shots to create the hype around the protagonist. Yuvan Shankar Raja’s background score is terrific too, and most often than not, it is he who keeps the intensity of individual scenes together. Editing has been slick, but the editor could have saved the movie by placing few scenes in the second half. But, obviously that is the director’s call! Only three songs have been shot completely – an item number, a romantic song and a true mass number, and they do manage to entertain, but it is the fight scenes that are more entertaining. There are very few ‘wired’ fights, and lot more gun fights, yet they are as good as they can be. Altogether, it seems almost every department of the film has done its job decently.
Panjaa is definitely a very interesting case study, which raises the ever going debate about what’s more important for a film – is it style or story, and is it the protagonist or the screenplay. For those who won’t mind these questions, Panjaa will be an interesting film, but for those who would try answering this question the film supports neither, and there in lies Panjaa failure! Finally, it could have been any actor’s film, but it needed to do something more to be ‘worthy’ of an actor as capable of Pawan Kalyan.
123telugu.com Rating : 3/5
Legend: 5 – Flawless
4 – Must Watch
3 – One Time Watch
2 – Wait for the DVD
1 – Stay Away