‘Maha Samudram’ hit the cinemas today (October 14). In this section, we are going to find out its hits and misses.
Arjun (Sharwanand) and Vijay (Siddharth) appear to be all-weather friends. The latter is an orphan, while the former has a doting mother. Vijay is in love with a dance teacher named Maha (Aditi Rao Hydari) and is an aspiring Sub-Inspector of Police. He wants to make money through unscrupulous means after becoming an SI. Arjun is slowly falling in love with Smitha (Anu Emmanuel). This is when something unforeseen happens involving Dhanunjay (Ramachandra Raju), a notorious don in Vizag. What follows next is an unexpected drama involving Arjun, Vijay, Maha, Chunchu Mama (Jagapathi Babu as Arjun’s trusted buddy) and Gooni Babji (Rao Ramesh as Dhanunjay’s elder brother).
Sharwanand’s performances in ‘Jannu’ and ‘Sreekaram’ were muted. Even in ‘Ranarangam’, where he was supposedly rough, the actor was measured. In ‘Maha Samudram’, he delivers a fleshed-out performance. The actor is endearing throughout. Siddharth, who has made a comeback in Tollywood after eight years, strikes decent chemistry with Aditi Rao Hydari, whose performance is better than that in ‘V’. Sid, as a hot-headed character, is refreshing.
Anu Emmanuel has a not-so-significant character. Jagapathi Babu’s bonhomie with Sharwanand could have been way better. Rao Ramesh’s villainy is instantly amusing. After being seen in atypical roles in ‘Narappa’ and ‘Tuck Jagadish’ and in a typical role in ‘Seetimaarr’, he is different here. Saranya, as Arjun’s mother, is at her usual self. Sandalwood actor Ramachandra Raju is routine.
The songs ‘Hey Thikamaka Modale’ and ‘Cheppake Cheppake’ are driven by the story but they don’t add heft to the proceedings. The massy song ‘Hey Rambha Rambha’ seems to have been there just to play to the gallery. Chaitan Bharadwaj’s background music is adequate in the last 30 minutes. Raj Thota, after ‘Arjun Reddy’ and ‘iSmart Shankar’, has given his best deal as the cinematographer. KL Praveen’s editing is average.
Ajay Bhupathi in 2018 debuted with the semi-spectacular movie ‘RX 100’, which had a terrific storyline. The casting was perfect in the film. His second outing, ‘Maha Samudram’, has a good enough storyline. However, the film is crippled by bland narration for the most part.
What works the best for the story is that the characters are not straightforward. Arjun comes of age, so also Vijay. While the two friends come across as predictable and routine characters in the beginning, as the story progresses, they acquire unique characterizations.
The female characters, too, are fairly strong (with the sole exception of Anu Emmanuel’s Smitha). The way Arjun’s mother drives what should happen in her son’s life is healthy. Maha may be a semi-mute character, but she is a well-etched character as well.
The plus points are limited. The film is riddled with too many minus points. The characterizations of the overtly negative characters are hackneyed. The conversations don’t pack a punch. The songs feel run-of-the-mill despite the lyrics being informed by the story. The climax is convenient.
At 155 minutes, the run-time is somewhat longish. The splicing of the run-time into first and second halves is not smart. The first half is lengthier than it should be. The second half, despite being not so laborious, feels like a drag.
‘Maha Samudram’ doesn’t live up to the superlative hype that its makers would have loved. The film has a decent storyline, the characterizations are interesting enough. But the narration is bland.