Devotional movies in Tamil have been marked by small budgets, lame stories,
poor acting and cheesy special effects. They have a niche audience, which ensures
a profit for the producer and as a result, no attempts have been made to
improve the quality of these offerings. But Telugu movies treat the topic
with a lot more respect. Instead of a purely devotional movie, the divine
aspects are incorporated into regular movies, which makes them more entertaining.
Paappaa was one such movie that made it
to Tamil and now Murari, a huge hit, has also been dubbed into Tamil.
Murari(Mahesh Babu) is the apple of all his family members' eyes. In fact, he
has been named after his grandfather and so the others, including his
grandmother(Sukumari), address him with respect while he calls them by name!
Due to an act by one of his ancestors, his family has been cursed by a
Goddess and as a result, one of the family members dies every 48 years.
It is now 48 years since the last death and his grandmother learns with
horror that it is Murari who has been marked for death this time around.
Paappaa struggled to hold our interest with an insipid romance before
making things interesting with divine intervention. But the situation is reversed
here. The fun arising from the big families, the affection Mahesh's family members
shower on him
and the romance between Mahesh and Sonali are by far the most interesting portions of
the movie. Barring a few minor incidents where Mahesh's life is threatened without
his knowledge, the divine aspects are introduced much later and once introduced,
fail to maintain our interest.
The opening sequence where the king(Prakashraj in a cameo) and the British
officers earn the Goddess' ire raises our hopes of better things to come. The
scene is well executed with some nice special effects. But the director pushes
this issue to the background once Mahesh is introduced. Fortunately this turns out to
be a good thing. The large family leads to a lot of fun and Mahesh's romance
with Sonali is cute. Instead of the usual love-at-first-sight and subsequent wooing,
the romance consists of the pair teasing each other and putting the other down
and this raises the fun quotient. Mahesh bringing up the issue of his romance
with his brothers is also funny.
The close calls that Mahesh has, such as the coconuts falling from the
tree, are handled well but once the movie switches to the divine track completely,
it fails to live upto the earlier expectations. There are a couple of surprises
in the proceedings but the climax seems lame and takes an easy way out.
Mahesh Babu, son of yesteryear Telugu actor Krishna, seems to be the Prashanth of
Telugu films. He is chocolate-faced, is talented whether dancing or fighting and emotes
capably too. Sonali Bendre looks pretty and has little to do other than that.
Among the few familiar faces, Lakshmi is her usual self. Almost all the songs
are very catchy and interestingly picturised.