Review: iSmart Shankar(Ram Pothineni, Nabha Natesh, Nidhhi Agerwal)
'iSmart Shankar', starring Ram Pothineni in the role of a street rowdy, released on July 18. Written and directed by Puri Jagannadh, this one has surprisingly generated very good openings. Youngsters among the audience seem to have fallen for the second trailer of this mass entertainer. Does the film work? What all does it get right and what all goes wrong? Here we tell you.
Shankar (Ram Pothineni) escapes from the Cherlapally Central Jail a year after shooting down former Chief Minister Kashi Viswanath (Joy Badlani). He wants to know the truth about who trapped him in the murder case.
Sara (Nidhhi Agerwal) is a talented neuro-scientist who has invented a breakthrough in RNA and neurons. She can transfer the memories of one person to another and totally create a new person at the mental level.
Arun (Satyadev) is investigating the former CM's murder and has found out the culprit. But there comes an obstacle and, by a quirk of fate, Shankar bumps into Sara.
What follows next is science-fiction. A top cop (played by Sayaji Shinde) uses Shankar to crack the murder of the former CM. Shankar too has his self-interest. Can he discover the actual culprit and save himself?
The film belongs to Ram Pothineni all the way. Puri Jagannadh has surely unveiled a new Ram, who comes packed with energy and verve. His irreverent body language and dialogues are the film's biggest highlight.
As for Nabha Natesh and Nidhhi Agerwal, they are largely limited to looking glamorous in songs. Deepak Shetty, Tulasi and Asish Vidyarthi go over-board with their acting. Sayaji Shinde is OK and 'Get-up' Srinu of 'Jabardasth' fame doesn't elicit laughs.
As expected, Mani Sharma's music turns out to be a big asset. The 'Bonalu' song may be intrusive and untimely but the energy of the number is enjoyable. Same goes with 'Dhimaak Kharab' and the inspired 'Undipo'. Raj Thota's cinematography adds to the charm of the songs. The camera work in the action scenes is fairly good. The art direction, the sound design and the editing pass muster.
The characterization of Shankar as a gutsy guy who doesn't give a damn for anybody.
The dialogues between Ram and the two heroines are rib-tickling here and there.
The situational humour in the second half. This is one of the few movies of Puri in which there is no comedian (barring Get-Up Srinu, who is short-lived).
The energy levels of Ram are matched by the gusto of the dialogues.
Predictability is the biggest demerit. Who got the former chief minister killed can be predicted by anyone in the first half itself. So, what is the surprise in the second half?
The climax is too simplistic. It should have been larger-than-life. But it is vastly unrealistic.
Tropes like using a secret camera to put the villain in trouble are hardly intelligent.
The cops are clueless but the hero is fearless even though he has no resources. Sayaji Shinde and others are reduced to irrelevance by the screenplay. What is the point? How come the murder of a former CM is reduced to such a joke?
The love track involving Ram and Nidhhi is bizarre to an extent.
'iSmart Shankar' has been touted to be a comeback film for Puri. We have to see how far it can manage to entertain the youths out there. Given the genre and the many gun battles and action scenes in the movie, the family audience have nothing much to expect from the film. The film is definitely better than 'ISM', 'Rogue' and 'Mehbooba'. But is it enough?