‘Sridevi Soda Center’ hit the cinemas today (August 27). Let’s find out what works and what doesn’t for the movie.
The story is set in a feudalistic village in the East Godavari district. Lighting Sooribabu (Sudheer Babu) and Sodala Sridevi (Anandhi) are in love with each other. If Sridevi’s father (Senior Naresh) is miffed with his daughter’s choice, he is fleeced by Kasi (Pavel), a notorious feudal leader who lusts Sridevi. Predictably, Sooribabu and Kasi end up being at each other’s throats. But who will have the last laugh?
This is one of the few times that an actor of Sudheer Babu’s comport has done a rural film. He has not only flaunted his toned-up body but also brought out his emotional performative skills. As for Anandhi, the 28-year-old actress comes across as a genuine girl-next-door who is neck-deep in love with Sooribabu.
Pavel Navageethan plays the villainous role with conviction. VK Naresh as Sridevi’s father is adequate. Raghu Babu is good, while Satyam Rajesh is effective. Rocket Raghava, Saptagiri and others are also seen.
Mani Sharma’s music adds a texture of a certain kind to the dramatic movie. ‘Chukkala Melam’, ‘Naalone Unna’, ‘Naalo Innalluga’ are quite his kind of music, while ‘Mandhuloda’ plays to the gallery. Shamdat Sainuddin’s cinematography could have been more in step with the movie’s gritty mood. Production Design is by Ramakrishna Sabbani and Monika, who make up the ‘adda’ flocked by the characters with care.
The film comes from director Karuna Kumar, whose first movie ‘Palasa 1978’ was a sight to behold. He works with Nagendra Kasi’s story this time.
First things first. ‘SSC’ has an element that is related to caste-fanaticism at its core. However, it’s not an anti-caste film in the sense Pa.Ranjith’s movies are. The influence of the Madurai school of story-telling in the climax is there for all to see. It looks more a rip-off than an organic climax.
The film is not without its share of positives. The climax is bold for a commercial Telugu outing. The songs perk up the narrative prowess of the film. However, there is only so much that they can do to save the sagging narration.
Considering the nature of the denouement, the love story should have really been profound. The romantic track, instead, is eclipsed by weak comedy rather than a strong emotional core. More than its love story, the film milks the father-son and the father-daughter elements well. The villain is nearly absent from the scene for a good amount of screen time. The antagonist, as it is, proves to be one of the weakest links.
Had the length been shortened by nearly 10 minutes, the film would have been less of a harangue. It is at an over-indulgent 154 minutes.
The scenes in ‘Sridevi Soda Center’ go for a toss after a point. None of the elements, barring the climax, holds value.