I was so hopefull that I would see subtitles at last on a Telugu film. I even waited for the 21st when the international subtitled release was supposed to happen. But no such luck, Minneapolis didn't get the subbed version. (Did anyone?) The movie is a visual treat so I found it well worth the price of the ticket.
In most ways it was a very typical Disney type film. There was a superbly wicked evil queen named Irendri played by Lakshmi Manchu. She had the best evil sounding dialog delivery and they saved the best effects for her awesome moving snake hair. I was so enthralled by her hair. I kept wishing I had hair like that. (Not scary snake hair but really cool soft and silky independently moving hair) It would be such a cool effect when I'm trying to get my students attention, to have my hair suddenly move on it's own.
The movie had a Hero named Yodha, played by Siddharth, tasked so save the people from the evil queen's spells. It was great to see Siddharth in an action role. He had a lot of cool sword fights and I loved the long hair, although sometimes it looked too much like a wig.
Yodha is a blind warrior sent to escort a little girlwith special healing powers, named Moksha, played by Harshita, to a village that had all the children stricken by Irendri's poison. During a flashback we find out how Yodha loses his sight. This is where he meets Priya, played by Shruti Hassan. She is a gypsy who he falls for and in the process beats up and humiliates a bad guy who had come to disrupt the gypsie fair. The bad guy returns to burn the fair and catches Yodha and blinds him. The last thing he sees is Priya surrounded by fire. I'm guessing he assumes she is dead at this point.
There are several fights scenes as Yodha escorts Harshita to the stricken village. Some of them were awesome. I really liked the Crowmen and the effect of the crows attacking. Other times I was abit let down. Once the suspense built up as Yodha and Moksha's pursuers were closing in. They were amongst the ruins of an ancient town and you could imagine the fight that was going to take place as they drew nearer. But then no fight, the bad guys just ran past, didn't even see them even though they weren't hidden very well and it was broad daylight. I really wanted there tobe a fight in that scene. The end fight was fabulous with Yodha flying through the air (I bet Siddharth had fun doing all that wire work for a change) and eventually Irendri's true self is revealed and she turns into a really scary snake monster. (Disney is expert at scaring the bejeezus out of really little kids.)
The movie ends with a typical happy ending. The children are cured, the village is rid of Irendri, Priya is saved and the Hero gets his sight back. Like I say it is pretty standard fair for a Disney film. Except for the standard Telugu comedy track. I mean you just won't see someone like Ali in drag, with a Carmen Miranda fruit hat and pinwheels over his nipples that spin like crazy everytime he sees the Hero in your typical Disney film.
The music and song picturizations was just OK. Nothing spectacular. My favorites were the Ninnu Chuudani
and Pralaya Kaalabheela Damshtra picturised on Lakshmi Manchu.
I have to say I liked everything that focused on Lakshmi Manchu the most. She definetly had the best part in the film. I am really looking forward to seeing her in more films.