Thursday, August 5, 2010

Jalsa (2008) dir. Trivikram Srinivas

    I have now thoroughly crossed the subtitle barrier.  In the last month or two I have made a point of getting to my local theater to see the Telugu new releases, even though they do not have subtitles.  I have managed ok so far, because during the interval a get help from my very-surprised-to-find-me-there Telugu speaking neighbors.  Besides being super excited to see Tarak, Mahesh and Siddharth on the big screen for the first time in the coming months, I have found myself to be looking forward to Pawan Kalyan's next film Komaram Puli.
    Pawan Kalyan  aka Power Star, is very new to me. Infact I have only seen one of his films so far, the 2008 blockbuster Jalsa. (Directed by Trivikram Srinivas) I found Jalsa had all that was required for a perfect Tollywood Masala Experience.  First: It has a very appealing hero in Pawan Kalyan.  He plays a perpetual college student (forever young!) with a drinking problem (he's vulnerable!)  and, it turns out, a mysterious past (Oh! a bad boy!). Of course these things add up to him  being pursued by the lovely Bhagi, played by Ileana, after he rescues her and her friend from some rowdies. 

Second: The romance works and is fun to watch. Ileana does a great job playing the pursuer with the perfect combination of insecurity and determination.

Third: The comedy tracks work for the most part. Sunil, Brahmanandam and Ali show up in different capacities. Sunil's track works the best I think. He is Bhagi's advisor and helps her get her man. He does this by misunderstanding the "advice" he gets as he tries to help her. 
Additionally, there are those sweet little graphic touches that happens so frequently in Tollywood films. Little surprises that make you giggle and smile.
Ileana's about to slap that kiss away!
Is that a full moon or a fool moon?
Sunil's about to replay a conversation.

Fourth: There are some kick ass fights in this movie. The fights are really well choreographed with some nice super fantastic moments.  Like when Pawan grabs the Turban off the old man and uses it as a weapon.  And then in another fight he kicks a bunch of bamboo poles in the air and they all land like daggers around one of the bad guys.  I just love stuff like that! 

Fifth and Sixth: Jalsa has a decent cliffhanger with an emotional impact at the Interval. So all through the first half of the movie we think that Sanjay  is an alcoholic, career student living on a stipend.  But wait! At the interval we find out he grew up so poor and miserable that he became a Naxalite! I never saw that coming.  But now that I think about it there was some foreshadowing of Sanjay's revolutionary past.  A giant poster of Che Guevara shows up in one of the songs and a smaller version was on one of the walls of his house.
Seventh: This movie has Prakash Dad and Prakash Cop! Yep a two for one Prakash Raj -orama! Prakash plays Ileana's Dad who during the first half rejects Sanjay's request to marry his daughter.  Then after the interval we find out he is actually a cop who had been hunting down Sanjay back in his bad ol' Naxalite days.  I love how they had him hunting naxalites in the forest wearing a preppy white Izod polo shirt.

I guess it was too preppy so they had him remove it! Hee Hee!

Eighth:  Evil villains are very important for the all around Masala entertainer and Jalsa has a great one with Mukesh Rishi.  This villain is so bad he even manages to come and go from jail to do all kinds of evil stuff. Murders, kidnaping, showing up in court, then stopping to make some threats before returning to jail. All in a days work I guess.

You can tell he's the villain 'cuz he's filmed at an angle!

Ninth: Of course there has to be great songs too.  The music is by Devi Sri Prasad.  I don't think this movie had the greatest choreography so I'll wait untill I see Pawan in more movies to decide whether he can dance or not.  But Ileana was great as usual.  These are my two favorite songs.

All in all Jalsa has all the requiremnts for a great Masala entertainer. I am really looking forward to Power Star's next movie!


  1. Excellent post. I loved Prakash Raj's polo shirts and tennis outfits in this one. And to think, we've seen Prakash Raj w/out his shirt, but never Mahesh.

  2. LOLS Yes Liz, Mahesh is not into skin show like Prakash is, I know I've seen quite a bit of leg too when he's messing with his dhotis in other films. Hmmm...think I'll have to do a post on Prakash-ji's tendency to expose.

  3. To your questions on bw . In India , some states give chance to a naxalite. When a naxalite agress to come and join the mainstream , they are given the government assistance to rebuild their life. In telugu it is called "punaraa vaasam". Since he saved home minister it is easy for him to get that sort of assistance.

  4. Thank you Anon! I was wondering how he was able to maintain himself after growing up poor. Very Intersting though, so the Gov't of India forgives and rehabs them? I'm quite sure in the US they'd be charged with treason and locked up. I don't understand much about the naxalites, but if the majority are poor and desperate it seems India has the right take on dealing with the ones that want to re-enter society. I wish we would do the same for kids that get into gangs for the same reason here. But we allways want to punish first, which just makes their situation more desperate.

  5. Shirtless Prakash Raj! That just made my day!

  6. That is correct. They would forgive and rehabilitate for giving up the naxal route. Sometime it is for specific people who are prominent naxalites. Some time it is for not famous ones also, during a particular period of time (if and when government wants,generally when a new gov comes after the election, as part of their policy) . Ram gopal varma's next movie "Rakta Charitra" is based on "Paritala Ravi" ,palyed by vivek oberai, who was a naxalite before he joined politics.


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