Sunday, May 21, 2006


Sriram (????)
Featuring: Shivraj Kumar, Ankita, Abirami, Sreenivasa Murthy, Jai Jagadish, Avinash and others.
Directed by: M.S.Ramesh

Shivu (Shivraj) is a handyman working for a power-player/bigwig somewhere in Hubli. He has been there for a few years now and is shown to be a part of the family despite the fact that he is a stranger to them. Kshetrapal (Avinash) is a Lokayukta officer who is going around mouthing powerful lines into the trembling faces of law-breakers. Unfortunately for Avinash this is as far as his role’s range really goes. His daughter Aishwarya (Ankita) is another ditsy PYT who falls for Shivu before even meeting the man. The haste in which they ‘fall in love’ is a clear indication as to how ‘vital’ that aspect of the story was to the overall plot.

A couple of snow-capped songs, a lethal gun fire that Avinash actually comes out of and a few single-handed fights later, Shivu decides to tie the knot with Aishwarya. On their wedding day arrives one more slim and pretty tall thing – Vasundhara (Abirami). She reveals to the awe-struck crowd that Shivu is not what he says he is and is in fact – Sriram. Everyone looks at Shivu demanding an explanation for this cover-up as Sriram/Shivu locks himself into the past.

Intermission. Pop corn. Soft drink.

Post intermission revels in Shivu’s past. The script slavishly follows Valmiki’s epic Ramayana in this phase which ends up making the narration rather lackluster. A father (S.Murthy) with two wives who are shown to be uncharacteristically well-adjusted. A couple of step-brothers and this family’s power-grip on the city’s population. A Manthara-like character in the form of the second wife’s brother (whose daughter is Vasundara) et al. Her demanding Sriram leave the house to ensure more limelight to her own kids (who for some reason do not say anything at all!). There is also a local villain for the town in the form of Jai Jagadish who goes around spitting fire at Shivraj and his group of do-gooders. Everything that makes the goings on predictable and mediocre. The inevitable good wins over evil message with Sriram doing a Sri Krishna-act eventually by wedding both the girls who aspire to be his bride. How convenient, eh?

Performances-wise Shivraj delivers a very controlled performance in bits and pieces. His depiction of Sriram in the second half is loud, melodramatic and repetitive. Sometimes it is hard to identify with such larger-than-life and larger-than-law characters since they seem unrealistic. Despite this he manages to pull off a decent one as always ensuring justice is done to the role. The leading ladies are strictly ok although Abirami has more emotionally challenging scenes (for what its worth) than Ankita who gets nothing much to do except bat an eye-lid here and there and gyrate to a couple of songs. Supporting actors lend apt support mouthing super-heavy and surreal lines which make this affair a completely fictional and commercially designed one.

Music is pleasing to the ears with Udit Narayan belting a few choice ones in ‘his Kannada’. Technically the movie is very well shot which also includes a well choreographed chase sequence involving a moving train. I thought despite all the over-the-top (literally!) stunts in that one it was definitely a treat to watch.

Overall Sriram manages to keep the viewer’s focus till the end despite it’s almost- predictable climax. I wish the director had experimented more with such a time-tested formula with some innovative scenes with Shivraj. But he chooses to stick to the usual commercial demand.

No comments: