Hanuman (Telugu) blends masala entertainment with mythology

Teja Sajja as the superhero Hanumanthu in HanuMan. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

It’s all about superheroes—a wannabe and an accidental one. The wannabe ‘hero’ is Michael (Vinay Rai), who wants unlimited power and is based in Saurashtra. As the film is in Telugu and dubbed, it is presumably set in Andhra Pradesh in the fictional location of Anjanadri. So the Saurashtra connection (way back in 1998) baffles me.

The film is about Hanumanthu (Teja Sajja), a village youth in Anjanadri, a picturesque hamlet amidst mountains, valleys and streams, along with a gigantic carving of Lord Hanuman. Hanumanthu who does not do anything other than waste his time. His long-suffering sister, Anjamma (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar), is the only one who cares for him, though he keeps chiding her about various things, including her inability to get married because of her unreasonable demands (later explained touchingly) from would-be grooms.

Hanumanthu’s childhood flame is Meenakshi (Amritha Aiyer), but today, she considers him to be nothing more than a wastrel of sorts. His close buddy is Kaasi (Getup Srinu). A chain of circumstances lead to a clash with the village chief (Raj Deepak Shetty) due to which, finally, Hanumanthu lands underwater and finds a “Mani” (stone) that is formed from a drop of Lord Hanuman’s blood. When sunrays pass through the stone, Hanumanthu acquires the powers of Lord Hanuman.

It takes a while for Hanumanthu to understand his newfound power, which is thus restricted. But as the village starts admiring and respecting Hanumanthu’s newfound “superheroism”, and his sister and Meenakshi change their opinions about him, comes a challenge. Word of the miraculous stone reaches the ears of the power-hungry Michael and he lands up there with his helper, scientist Siri (Vennela Kishore) and his gang of hoods. The powers of both Hanumanthu and Lord Hanuman are put to the test.

HanuMan is all about masala entertainment with a slice of religious or mythological flavor and the addition of a villain who seems straight out of Western comics in which Superman, Bat-Man and the likes were the superheroes. Illogical aspects, Raj Dee seems an additional mantra, though if you ask me, the intensity of the violence seems more suitable for modern cinematic trends than wholesome children’s entertainment, which seems to be this film’s primary aim.

The VFX is erratic in standard, though the cinematography (Dasaradhi Sivendra) is generally of high caliber and the underwater sequences are especially stunning. The background score (Gowra Hari) is a shade too loud, and the songs functional at least in the Hindi version. The Hindi dialogues (missed the names in the rapidly rolling credits and could not locate them online) are alright. The Telugu script is concocted by 12 writers, including the director, and is more about entertainment than innovation and freshness. The ‘Written by’ credit thus reads the collective ‘Scriptsville’!

Prasanth Varma’s direction is generally okay but often clichéd towards the end, which could have been crisper by a good 20 minutes at least. A death shown in the film was also unnecessary but has been a staple ingredient of many a children’s stories as an added emotional device (remember Mr. India?).

Teja Sajja impresses as the happy-go-lucky youth, who is ardent in his own way. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar is brilliant as his sister. Amritha Aiyer as Meenakshi looks fetching and delivers a neat performance. Getup Srinu keeps the comic element in check without going overboard, and Raj Deepak Shetty shines more as the reformed version of the arrogant village chief. Vinay Rai hams, but that might appeal to children. The rest of the cast is average.

And so, in the final analysis, is the film, whose sequel, Jai Hanuman, is also announced at the end of the movie.

Primeshow Entertainment’s HanuMan  Produced by: Kandagatla Niranjan Reddy  Directed by: Prasanth Varma  Written by: Prasanth Varma with Scriptsville  Music: Anudeep Dev, Gowra Hari & Krishna Saurabh  Starring: Teja Sajja, Amritha Aiyer, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Vinay Rai, Raj Deepak Shetty, Vennela Kishore, Samuthirakani, Getup Srinu, Satya, Rohini, Ravi Teja (voice-over) & others







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