Guntur Karam review: Mahesh Babu is the saving grace of this dull film: Trivikram Srinivas' film starring Mahesh Babu and Sreeleela seems perfect for Sankranthi on paper only.
Minutes after wreaking havoc in a luxurious house, Venkat Ramana Reddy (Mahesh Babu) walks in, sits on a garden bench, and has a moment of reckoning. He says that the trash his mother Vasundhara (Ramya Krishna) wanted to clean up in minutes was not the expensive crockery or the chandelier she broke, but her unwanted son. In an earlier scene, he says that he will wait until he finds out whether the mother-son love is one-sided or whether she too yearns for him. His question has been answered. This scene hits a raw nerve and is one of the few moments that stand out in the otherwise stale story of writer-director Trivikram Srinivas's Guntur Karam, his third film with Mahesh Babu after years of Athadu and Khalija .Guntur Karam aims to be an emotional family entertainer and a mass/masala film. Several Telugu films – including Trivikram's Atharintiki Daredi and Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo – have walked this path before and taken it further. Seasoned with the fiery red chilies of Guntur, this film seems like a mild mix of both, hopefully, fans of the leading man will like it.
Director: Trivikram Srinivas
Cast: Mahesh Babu, Sreeleela, Ramya Krishna, Meenakshi Choudhary
Story: A son is asked to sign papers stating that he is to have nothing to do with his mother, her property, or political power. But he wants answers to the unhealed wounds.
To be fair, Mahesh Babu, who gave an unrestrained performance in his last film Sarkaru Vaari Paata, has kept the momentum going here too. Be it an action sequence matching steps with Sreeleela or yearning for his mother, he tries his best. However, as the story unravels, it becomes boring and tiresome.
Trivikram has roped in some of the best actors for this film, with whom he has worked before, but has not given any of them interesting characters to portray. Jagapathi Babu, Sunil, Rao Ramesh, Rahul Ravindran, and others come across characters that leave no impact. Everything that matters to the main drama gets lost in the melee. Take, for example, Satyam (Jayaram), who resigned to destiny after separation from his wife Vasundhara, looks out the window and finds solace in old songs played on the gramophone. He does not get the scope to register his compassion. While part of the play is about the mother and son, where does this leave him, the father?
Even Ramya Krishna has nothing to do except think quietly and maintain an enigmatic demeanor most of the time. The scenes between her and Mahesh carry the story to some extent and Easwari Rao gets a proper end to her guilt and grief in the form of an aunt. In their brief parts, Murali Sharma and Vennela Kishore make their presence felt.
The two leading ladies are attached to the most forgettable roles. Sreeleela is once again cast in a decorative role and apart from wearing her dancing shoes (Thaman's score sometimes livens things up) and forcing Mahesh to admit on screen that he has never danced so vigorously in his career, he has nothing else to do. Oh wait, she makes Reels for Instagram. Meenakshi Choudhary is wasted in a character who serves food, soda, water, or whatever the men want for their evening drinks. A passing scene shows him with some books. Perhaps she is preparing for higher studies while she is not taking care of the men in the house. Who knows?
Telugu cinema and the characters played by Mahesh Babu and Prakash Raj have a spicy history going back to the days of Okkadu. Their face-off in Guntur Karam should have been the least entertaining as the latter's one-note character was predictable. The narrative also contains age-inappropriate lines that take a dig at the 80-year-old man. One can argue that Prakash Raj has a bad character, but even before the grandson gets to know the whole picture, the scolding starts.
Like many of Mahesh's earlier films, this film also has dialogues referring to his fair skin color. Now is the time for writers to pay attention to this aspect; There are better ways to appreciate a star's personality and looks.