It is still a Tuesday but I thought of ticking another Pongal release of the week. And with that I finished watching the new Telugu film Waltair Veerayya which was another one of the Pongal releases. Contrary to the general belief, Year 2022 hasn’t been the best for the Telugu film industry. With the onset of OTT, the over the top nature of their cinema did find little takers unless the film was helmed by SS Rajamouli. The global success of RRR had confirmed that people will not have a problem with the over the top action sequences, provided they are executed really well and have a strong emotional connect as an undercurrent. Needless to say that they would need to be entertaining!
I was skeptical going into Waltair Veerayya given that the earlier Pongal release, the Tamil film Varisu starring Thalapathy Vijay had not impressed me one bit. And knowing Chiranjeevi and his brand of cinema(hell I haven’t even got to NBK yet), I was worried given that his earlier film Godfather had tanked without a trace. So then does Waltair Veerayya worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Waltair Veerayya is the story of a notorious smuggler who is tasked to kidnap a drug mafia leader. Does he manage to succeed? The story is another example of an old wine in a new bottle but momentarily it was entertaining in the first hour. But resorting only to the formulaic template, the film does crash ostensibly making me face palm towards the end. The screenplay standing at 160 minutes is again daunting, but unlike Varisu, there is some skeleton to the film.
The drama starts off on an interesting note with the cops bringing in, a drug mafia who apparently is wanted and dangerous. What did seem like a usual arrest turns out to be fatal. In a spectacular opening, the cops are gunned down by masked men only leaving behind one cop. Elsewhere, the protagonist is introduced in grand fashion where he is seen beating up a handful of smugglers. Soon, the task of bringing in the drug dealers follows in his lap!
The drama definitely has its moments in the first half which are moderately engaging and entertaining. The setup especially was more than what I had expected, something that definitely did have my interest. If I were to put a part of the logic aside, I did enjoy the first 40 odd minutes of the film. In between, the ‘love-hate relationship’ between Telugu films(not all) and the portrayal of a forced romantic track was witnessed. The portrayal was just so cringe worthy and problematic that it did get me triggered. Also, the tone of the film was a comedy when the situation was quite serious, something that did not gel well. The playful nature of the protagonist was more of him playing to the masses more than anything else! The sequences of events are passable leading to a promising interval block that again caught my attention.
But the issue begins in the second hour and how! The film crashes and crashes so badly that it was almost unbelievable. Almost the entire half is dedicated to a flashback which is so stereotypical and cliched that I was found face-palming myself more often than not. Yes, the half did get to see two superstars playing at loggerheads with one another but the sequences with formulaic and half-baked. The drama does proceed on a predictable note barring a couple of twists but the emotions in the story were just not there. The loudness of the drama was unwarranted wherein even the gravity defying action sequences were rather unimpressive and another prime example of bare minimum fan service. This, while a lame attempt is made at linking this track to the main plot.
But the final act does take the cake! It is so bad and REALLY SO BAD that the events were unintentionally funny. The sequences goes by the protagonist rescuing the antagonist from a bunch of goons that includes a vertigo induced laughable helicopter sequence, only to behead the antagonist in court after he pleads guilty. Let that sink in! Oh my word, what were the makers even thinking. I felt contaminated after the film was over and really wished to wash myself off this bullsh*t. So overall, the screenplay is stale and just ridiculous here that made me go ‘Maltab Kuch Bhi’.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are cringe worthy and really bad, neither funny nor inducing any kind of emotions. The music isn’t great either and the songs appear out of nowhere, even in the middle of a tense situation. Next level bad! The BGM is loud and uninventive. The cinematography is alright. Director Bolly Kolli misses the mark especially in the second hour when his direction becomes laughable! It wasn’t bad, the direction was very bad.
The performances aren’t great too. Bobby Simha as Soloman is good, Prakash Raj as Kaala does impress. But one thing is for sure. You should never be an actress in a Telugu film industry. Both Shruti Haasan and Catherine Tresa are used are mere props here who can cry and fight a bit here and there. But both of them have no significance in the screenplay apart from being meek love interests(with huge age differences may I add). Ravi Teja as Vikram is decent and sincere but his character is pretty one-dimensional. Chiranjeevi as Waltair Veerayya is loud, clearly catering to his fan base. But again my question would be, why the bare minimum fan service? Would you not opt for scripts catering to actors his age like Amitabh Bachchan and Mammootty? Time to return to the drawing board!
Waltair Veerayya is a stale rendition of the 90s that often made me go ‘Matlab Kuch Bhi’. Available in a theatre near you.