Devadas Movie Review
Deva (Nagarjuna) returns to Hyderabad from exile after the murder of his mentor (Tamil actor Sarathkumar in a cameo). Being the most wanted don in India, he is hotly pursued by a top cop (played by Murali Sharma). In unusual circumstances, Deva develops a friendship with Dasu (Nani), an ethical doctor who runs a nondescript clinic in a slum. A violent incident involving Deva and a bad character has unforeseen consequences for the friendship between the gangster and the doctor.
The pre-climax and climax are about how Deva undergoes a transformation and what role Dasu has here. Throw in a news reader (Aakanksha Singh as Jahnavi) with whom Deva falls in love, and Pooja (Rashmika Mandanna), you have two romance tracks to boot.
The film throws up quite a few time-tested elements. Bromance, life-changing romance, a character who turns out to be a revelation just before the interval, some situational comedy involving a timid doctor and a domineering person, so on and so forth. Equipped with these elements, director Sriram Adittya delivers a fairly engaging screenplay in the first half.
Although 'DevaDas' is not a true-blue gangster flick, Nagarjuna is portrayed as someone who murders stylishly. The scene at the dhaba where a goon shivers with fear at the mere thought that Deva is around is mounted so well. The goon doesn't even dare to look at Deva, the mystery man.
The values that Deva and Dasu abide by are established early on. If Deva protects anyone who trusts him, Dasu takes pride in belonging to a profession that saves lives.
The screenplay is clever in the first 30 minutes. For example, Nani enters the screen and commits a gaffe without wasting a moment. Committing missteps with good intentions is what he is good at. Nagarjuna has a way of expressing his agony and the dialogue-writer brings it out well in the first scene with Avasarala Srinivas. 'Kalakeya' Prabhakar has a decent role and he doesn't fail.
The problems come with the second half. It's as if the police are ruthless and trigger-happy but have no mind of their own. India's most wanted don plays carroms at the house of a key character who is being shadowed. But the cops are ridiculously clueless. In one scene, Murali Sharma and his team start an operation to nab Deva. But the film forgets these characters completely and the focus inexplicably shifts in toto to a chase sequence, which is immediately followed by an emotional scene involving the two heroes. To hell with the cops?
While so much drama could have been built around the fact that nobody knows how this India's most wanted don looks like, the director is content with scratching the surface.
What's more important, when someone was in exile for 10 years, he or she is expected to come with so much emotional baggage. Call it pain or whatever, it must be there. In Nag's character, however, we see nothing of this sort.
Some well-made but simplistic scenes later, not only is the don a transformed man but he also tells a bloodthirsty character to befriend the cute Dasu who can change anyone with his love and innocence. Do even Maha Yogis command such transformative powers in real life?
It's the technical elements which make the proceedings visually pleasing along with the performances. Nag is measured and glamorous; he is utterly convincing and aces the act. Nani, with his glasses, is an epitome of innocence. He fits the bill. If Aakanksha is expressive, Rashmika is OK. Naresh, Sathya, Vennela Kishore, Venu, Raghu Karamanchi, Manobala, and others do their parts well. Kunal Kapoor as a baddie is impressive.
Mani Sharma's music is decent, and the RR is so cool. Sriram Adittya has a knack for extracting snazzy BGMs. Shamdat Sainudeen's cinematography is a splendour. Editing by Prawin Pudi is apt.