Onto the next release of the weekend and as the new releases are being churned out, we are working overtime in hope that you are enjoying our content. With that I finished watching the new Telugu film Dasara which is now available in a theatre near you. Owing to the limited screens with English subtitles for the Telugu version, I happened to catch the Hindi dubbed version of the film(something that I don’t prefer doing otherwise).
The mass masala entertainers from the Telugu Film Industry are another beast altogether. An industry known to celebrate larger than life cinema and the biggest superstars being treated like Demi-Gods, the entertainment factor is almost always assured. But when it did come to Dasara, I was skeptical given how closely it resembled Pushpa, atleast from the look of the protagonist and the trailer. Previously we had witnessed on what happens when an industry tries to emulate its previous success in the form of Kabzaa which had bombed at the box office in trying to emulate KGF. But then again Dasara did star Nani who is one of my favourite actors currently. Known to have a good eye in picking good scripts, my hopes were pinned on him as far as Dasara is concerned. And so I did venture into Dasara with hope and skepticsm, does it manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Set in the 1990s, Dasara follows the story of politics brewing in a village amidst the ban on alcohol. And that is all I can reveal about the plot as the story does have a couple of easter eggs up its sleeve. The story here is cliched but presented in the most unassuming way possible and kudos to the writers for the same. The screenplay standing at 150 odd minutes does make for a compelling watch which did not seem the case when I first started.
First things first, my skepticism was put to rest straight away. Dasara is not another Pushpa! The key to getting the mass masala entertainers right is to have its core emotions in place. And the writers do a marvellous job here keeping that in mind. I was amazed at the time spent in world building here that had many interesting characters and their dynamics to play with. What this period did was allow the viewers to be sucked into the drama. The leisurely pace ensured that the drama was textured and really well balanced. You are tactfully introduced to the politics of the area involving alcohol and the ban of it where the prime conflict was that of the caste. So to address the issue of caste here was refreshing in this fascinating world building.
The proceedings are engaging and engrossing particularly with respect to the character dynamics. So if the drama does have an undercurrent of the politics related with caste, there is a love triangle that is brewing amongst a few characters along with the essence of friendship. And that is the core emotion in play which is so well established. And once that is done right, the drama would generally have smooth sailing going forward. The tensions slowly escalate with every passing scene leading up to a fabulous interval block that will leave you shocked and dazed.
The second half is nicely setup and it does open with a huge twist and thus begins the transformation of the protagonist. So there is thought to the drama here and not just bare minimum fan service that we are used to otherwise. My small criticism related to the second hour would be that it does get repetitive in nature although it is extremely watchable. But on the plus side, the organic nature of the drama in tackling the dynamics between various characters was good to witness. The final act too where all hell breaks loose makes for a satisfactory watch although I really did want to witness a final showdown between the protagonist and the antagonist. But overall, the screenplay is well written with all the emotions intact.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are massy and create an absolute stir here. The music is rustic and goes well with the setting and vibe of the drama. The BGM is exhilarating and I really did enjoy the modern notes in this rustic drama that did add a fresh dimension to the proceedings. The cinematography and editing are on point. Director Srikanth Odela does a fabulous job in his debut vehicle by hitting all the right notes with respect to this mass masala entertainer. His ability to create a world and build the drama in it with the right kind of emotions was fascinating to watch.
The performances are first rate here. Dheekshith Shetty as Suri is earnest and sincere with a great presence onscreen. Keerthy Suresh as Vennala looks pretty and does a swell job. I really liked the kind of emotions that she was able to bring to the table in a commendable job done overall. Shine Tom Chacko as Chinna is exceptional and intimidating through his antics and expressions. This is another fine example on what a prolific actor he is! And Nani as Dharani is outstanding to the core. His mannerisms and dialogue delivery is spot on and he does full justice to his character. Also, I would like to take a moment and praise Sharad Kelkar for adding so much substance through his baritone voice while dubbing for Nani in the Hindi version. Exceptional!
Dasara is a pulsating mass masala entertainer with spectacular performances that makes for a great watch. Available in a theatre near you.