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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Chiru's Mega-Endorsement of Gandhigiri : Shankar Dada

Friday, July 27, 2007 was a big day for Megastar Chiranjeevi's fans - his latest movie, Shankar Dada Zindabad was released. It has been a long (almost a two year) wait for Chiru fans since his last film, Stalin. It was also festive night for Telugus in several cities across the US. I went to see the movie on the first night, 2nd show. It was a sold out show. The theatre was filled with little children, teenagers, IT youngsters, elders and seniors. As with all Chiru movies, fans were ecstatic -screaming and whistling. It took 10-20 minutes for everyone to settle down into a relative calm.

It looks like director Prabhu Deva knew what spectators would expect in the first 10 minutes, and he presented Chiru to his fans in most delightful way.

He made it clear that this movie was going to be about Chiranjeevi and his mega-fans. Chiranjeevi showed that he is a great entertainer - his dances, dialogues, histrionics with a subtle touch of comedy remain unmatched in the Telugu film industry at the current time. Srikanth as ATM also did a fantastic job.

There are so many number of surprise special guest appearances by industry tops. The new heroine, Karishma Kotak was a good {physical) match to pair with Chiranjeevi, but she is green in the acting department. The visuals are great - thanks to Chota K. Naidu' s cinematography. The most exhilarating part of the movie is Devi Sri Prasad's music. Parachuri Brothers did a good job with dialogues, but not a great job. The original Hindi version had dialogues were written in pakka urban (Mumbai) ghetto slang that matched the main character. Parachuris failed to bring such a linguistic rendering for the main character. Their word play failed to produce the equivalent of "Bheja me chemical locha ...." and the impact that had on the central theme of the plot.

Most of you know that this is a remake of Rajkumar Hirani's "Lago Raho Munna Bhai" - a Hindi blockbuster in 2006. I had seen it in Hindi and I fell in love with the movie. It was not only a big commercial hit, but it also had profound impact on common man in India. We continue to read stories on how common citizens in India are successfully employing the tricks of Gandhigiri (shown in the movie) to tackle problems created by bureaucracy and the powerful. Recently, a school teacher/founder in Bangalore ended the illegal occupation of her school premises by sending flowers to the offenders everyday.

Chiranjeevi did an excellent job in Shankar Dada MBBS - the first movie in the Hirani's sequel. And he did a much more entertaining job in Shankar Dada Zinganad. His mesa-presence on the screen was enhanced by Devi Sri Prasad's music and Prabhu Deva's dialogue. However, Prabhu Deva missed one thing by surrounding Chiranjeevi with scantly clad women in the first and the last (item) songs - that megastar continues to have a big fan-following among 5-10 year olds. The movie is a great opportunity for these kids to learn about Mahatama Gandhi while they watch their matinee idol. Some parents may find this excessive exposure offensive and may not take their little kids to the movie.

I am sure it will be a big commercial success and I hope it will rekindle a renewed interest in Gandhi and Gandhigiri as much as the original did.

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