Long ago, I heard a line in Telugu that “It’s better for an artist to do what he is suitable for rather than doing what he likes”. I don’t remember who said this but it’s absolutely proven in the case of hero “Ram”. Realizing that he troubled his audiences with his previous films “Pandaga Chesko” and “Shivam”, he came up with “Nenu Sailaja” with Keerthi Suresh as the female lead beside him. “Kishore Tirumala” who got introduced with the film “Second Hand” directed this film while Sravanthi Ravikishore produced under his “Sri Sravanthi Movies” production house.
Hari (Ram) who gets rejected by every girl he loved, falls in love with his childhood friend Sailaja (Keerthi). How he conveyed his love and how he won her love form the rest plot.
If narrated in a single line, this is a normal plot. But the script work starting from characterizations to directing them by Kishore did everthing.
Getting a “U” rating from present day CBFC for a film that starred a commercial star like Ram was something different. There was nothing in Kishore’s presentation like vulgar scenes or dual meaning dialogues. Everything was neat and healthy. One more big feature of this film was it got independent narration. Kishore just concentrated on what he has to say in his story rather than pointing out other directors’ films or doing a parody for them. At that point I’ve fallen for “Nenu Sailaja”. Hari’s characterization reflected the present day’s youth which was handled by Ram in a controlled manner. Sailaja’s characterization had a middle class girl who lies an introvert and don’t know how to express her feelings. The cinematic liberty that director has taken is in designing Hari’s family. He has taken enough care in not making it indigestible.
I liked the way director portrayed the childhood friendship of Hari and Sailaja with the good child artists and the relation Sailaja shared with her father Srinivasa Rao (Satyaraj).
There are more good things in this film. The first half of this film was very fresh and connectible to the present youth. Besides this songs like “Crazy Feeling” which had a nice choreography, “Masti Masti” which had some sweet visuals among the lead pair. “Sailaja Sailaja” which attracted in a limited time after the album’s release came well on the screen. There was no song that takes the audience away from the narration and there was no costlier foreign location that features a duet between the lead pair. Everything was ensured to be in the boundaries of the narration for which Kishore should be appreciated once again.
Using a b(m)ad villain like “Pradeep Rawat” in a heartbroken lover “Maharshi” character was very good. To be frank, these kinds of film do not actually require a antagonist thread but our directors intentionally put one to engage the mass audience. Even Kishore did the same in this film but he differed himself from the others in making all the action sequences shorter and using them for his core narration.
Besides the first half which had no loop hole, I liked the following scenes in the second half,
- The videos that Hari play during “Sangeeth” of Sailaja’s marriage. This scene came at the point where the narration became dull and dragged and just took it off to the next level. Here the writer Kishore dominated director Kishore. The dialogue of Srinivasa Rao “Pelli chesi ammayini vere intiki pampali ani evadu raasado teliyadhu kaani khachchithanga vaadiki ammayi maathram putti undadu” touched the heart directly and the song “Naa Manasuna” written by Seetharama Sastry and gracefully sung by Chitra melted the heart more and made all the main characters more eminent.
- The scene between Sailaja and her dad in the pre-climax scene let the writer Kishore win once again with the support of Devi Sri Prasad’s background score.
Director Kishore appeared to damage the Hari’s character in the second half. But by the end he proved that he hadn’t changed it with a dialogue spoken by Ram in a single take that explains the entire film’s context and made the characterization alive.
When talked about the good things, we should also talk about the bad ones. Besides fresh and entertaining first half, there was a dull and dragging second half which entered the routine commercial film’s formula that hero enters heroine’s house and get closer to her family to impress them. Kishore should’ve given a thought about making the family members who never talked to anyone and lied introverts for many years, getting changed with a single line spoken by an unknown person Hari. Instead he should’ve made Hari create more situations that let the family love each other, with a visual narration rather than a verbal one. But the good thing here was, he didn’t introduce a new comedian and tortured his audience with his unrelated comedy. There was not much prominence for the characters played by Prince and Srimukhi too.
On the whole, “Nenu Sailaja” can be said as a good start for Tollywood in the year 2016 and I recommend this film to all the audiences who got bored with the routine crap produced in the December of 2015.
Coming to performances, Ram suited the character of Hari well and came up with a subtle performance within the character’s limits. Keerthi’s characterization is very natural and suited well for introvert Sailaja. Satya Raj was decent while Vijay Kumar, Naresh, Rohini and Pragathi were good for their roles. Pradeep Rawat entertained well as “Maharshi”. Prince, Srimukhi and Chaitanya Krishna were normal.
- Script Work and Direction. It appeared that Kishore was so passionate and he had good thoughts towards love and family relations. His research towards introverts and present day youth was good. The zero vulgarity narration and meaningful dialogues ensure that he has a bright future as a “Feel Good Film Maker”.
- Ram’s Performance. As said, his subtle performance compensated all his previous mistakes.
- Devi Sri Prasad’s Music. Songs were attractive from the moment they got released and Devi succeeded in elevating the film with his background score too. I liked the score composed using “Veena” (synthesized) in the family scenes involving Satya Raj.
- Lyrics. “Em Cheppanu” and “Naa Manasuna” written by Seetharama Sastry, “Crazy Feeling” by Ramajogayya Sastry and “Sailaja Sailaja” by Bhaskarabhatla suited aptly for the plot.
- Sameer Reddy’s Cinematography. All the visuals and locations in the movie were good. I liked the lighting Sameer employed for the song “Sailaja Sailaja”.
- Production Values. Sravanthi Movies banner is always known for good films (expect the ones like Shivam). Ravikishore had good production values for this film that’s of his taste.
- Dull, Dragged and some routine scenes in the second half.
– Yashwanth Aluru
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