‘Akhanda’ movie review: Routine roar at high volume

'Akhanda' review: Routine roar at high volume

Movie: Akhanda
Evaluation: 2.5 / 5
Dwaraka creations
Cast: Nandamuri Balakrishna, Pragya Jaiswal, Srikanth, Jagapathi Babu, Poorna, Kalakeya Prabhakar, Subbaraju og andre
Dialogues: M Rathnam
Music: Thaman
DoP: C Ram Prasad
Editor: Kotagiri Venkateshwara Rao, Tammiraju
Art: AS Prakash
Producer: Miryala Ravinder Reddy
History, manuscript and instruction: Boyapati Sreenu
Release Date: December 2, 2021

The combination of Nandamuri Balakrishna and director Boyapati Srinu is one of the most successful in the Telugu film industry. They have teamed up for the third time about this high-intensity action entertainer, Akhanda. In the midst of much hype, the film arrived in cinemas today.

Has the duo delivered a hat trick of success? Let’s find out.

Muralikrishna (Balakrishna) is a good-natured man in Ananthapuram who dedicates his life to people and does a lot of development work in the region.

Impressed by his character, the new collector Sarwani (Pragya Jaiswal) falls for him. They get married and are blessed with a girl.

Due to the local mining mafia leader Varadarajulu (Srikanth), Sarwani and Murali Krishna land in trouble. As Sarwani and her daughter are being chased by Varadarajulu’s men, she runs into a cave to hide. She is rescued by a Sadhu named Akhanda (Balakrishna).

Who is Akhanda? What is the connection with Muralikrishna’s family?

Artists’ performances:
Playing multiple roles is a cakewalk for Nandamuri Balakrishna. ‘Akhanda’ also shows two different shades of Balakrishna. He comes back with a riveting performance in the role of Akhanda. His lineup is amazing. Some of his dialogues are powerful, others sounded routine. The entire second half runs on Akhanda’s role.

Pragya Jaiswal is an IAS officer, but her character becomes regular after a few scenes. She is hardly impressive.

For the first time in his career, Srikanth has played the role of the villain convincingly. Jagapathi Babu as sadhu leaves his mark.

The actor who played the main villain is okay. It’s Poorna too.

Technical expertise:
M Ratnam has written dialogues that evoke mixed feelings. In Balakrishna’s roaring voice sounded some powerful.

C Ram Prasad’s camera work is top notch. Thaman’s songs are not worth talking about, but background score is a great strength. His high decibel score has lifted many episodes in the second half. He has designed a special theme for the ‘Akhanda’ character.

The majority of the film runs only on the action choreography. The battles are similar from start to finish. There is ample opportunity to design the matches in different styles and patterns. But that variation is not shown.

In return, the dance choreography is impressive and fresh. Some steps in the Jai Balayya song are worth going viral.

Balakrishna as Akhanda
Thamans background score

Acceptable first half
Overdose of mass sequences
Prolonged and tiring action stunts
The logic goes for a throw
Routine climax

Following the mass entertainers “Simha” and “Legend”, director Boyapati in his third collaboration with Balakrishna has written a story that touches on topics such as illegal mining, environmental protection, Hindu Dharma, etc. The topics may be new in Boyapati’s films, but the treatment is well known.

In fact, Boyapati has followed the template for the narrative he has shown in his earlier works as “Legend”: the hero in a double role, a character who does not appear in the first half, comes right at the interval point and takes responsibility. In ‘Legend’ it was the role of Jaidev, here it is ‘Akhanda’.

What is the other difference between “Legend” and “Akhanda”?

The former has a couple of murderous songs like “Nee Kanti Choopulonaa” and “Legend He’s Legend”, an engaging romantic number with two heroines and a menacing villain played by Jagapathi Babu. The latest “Akhanda” lacks all these elements.

There is a dialogue in the film: When I first decide on something, I meander like a bulldozer truck. True to the dialogue, director Boyapati Sreenu’s story goes crazy from one action scene after another in the second half. The fights are long and in the same way throughout. The match before the interval has a length of about 17 minutes.

Despite Balakrishna’s serious and sincere efforts to play an aging Sadhu, the film does not escape the routine.

While Balakrishna tries to play for the gallery and appeal to his fans, the film is mostly unimaginative. The first character of Balayya does not appear throughout the second half, except for a climactic sequence

We never expect to see the logic in Boyapati’s film. But when we see the female protagonist as a collector, we expect her character to reflect a certain reality. What Pragya does as a collector is silly and unrealistic. The same goes for an NIA investigation officer.

In one of the combat sequences, Akhanda yagnam ends up sitting calmly even with three axes stabbed in the back.

However, some scenes are exceptionally well done. Example: Akhanda – Poorna traces, and Balakrishna explains the true meaning of non-violence in Hinduism.

The film could have been gripping if the villain had been strong. The face-off sequences between Balakrishna and Srikanth are lukewarm. Srikanth does not have the menacing quality required for a villain. Nor is the main villain strong enough.

All in all, “Akhanda” is an out-and-out mass film, which is adorned with some interesting moments here and there, but which is very much the formula and template for Boyapati’s film. Dialogues and Balakrishna’s emergence as Akhanda give its fans goosebumps, but the long battles, lack of entertaining moments and disappointing climax make it a routine mass drama.

Bottom line: Only for Balayya fanatics

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