GodFather is a ‘mega film’ for a ‘mega star’ with a ‘mega mission’ and if you are a fan of Chiranjeevi, which you must be if you have or are thinking of buying a ticket, then it is the perfect film to watch this weekend. GodFather is director Mohan Raja’s fanboy love letter to Cheeranjivi, just like the original Malayali film Lucifer was for Mohanlal.
Apart from Chiranjeevi, the only other person to get special treatment in terms of opening credits is ‘Bollywood mega star’ Salman Khan who pops up for a few seconds just before the intermission. Salman Khan fans fear not, he is back for a little more screen time in the second half and gets to shoot rockets from his motorbike, blow things up and use custom-made weapons in one-man-army action sequences that would make any Salman Khan fan happy, if not from the terrible visual effects that make the sequences somewhat cringeworthy.
But let’s not digress, if you know your Chiranjeevi films, then you know what you are in for — slow-motion entrances and fighting sequences, dust-rippling, leaves-scattering footsteps, panache in regular actions whether it is a sunglass handover or fixing a shirt and, of course, fight sequences where the mega star takes down 40-odd people single-handedly. But Chiranjeevi pulls off the stoic and sombre really well, as usual, and lends gravitas to the character of Brahma Teja, an illegitimate son of the state’s chief minister who has just died.
Chiranjeevi’s Brahma, who is not an all-white character, is one of the players in a cat and mouse game that ensues as factions of the party fight over who will become the next CM, which includes the home minister Narayana Verma (an absolutely delightful Murali Sharma) and the CM’s son-in-law Jaidev Das (Satyadev Kancharana). While the home minister is a greedy opportunist, Jaidev is as evil as can be and Satyadev revels in the role, almost running away with the film multiple times. Nayanthara as Sathyapriya Jaidev Das, the daughter of the dead CM, also turns in a believable performance, though her dubbed voice makes her sound more dead than grave.
It is not that GodFather doesn’t have its moments in terms of the plot, the cat and mouse games between the political factions and how they use media and the opposition present quite a few unexpected twists, even when some of them are beyond logic. Even fans of Chiranjeevi, who know the answer to the “sab ka baap kaun” question when it comes to the mega star being on the backfoot, will have fun with the twists. I can’t talk about the dialogues since I watched the dubbed version, but some of the impact of the dialogues might have been lost in dubbing.
Except for Salman Khan, but then he had barely five lines of dialogue. Salman plays Masoom Khan, an associate of Brahma, who comes to the aid of his “bade bhai” when things threaten to go out of control. And how does he do it? He blows up two trucks bearing drugs, shooting rockets from his bike and waves at the truck’s driver as the flaming truck somersaults over his head.
The next we see him he is leading a motorcycle gang into a heavily-fortified compound (which very evidently is a set) all rockets blazing. He spins round and round on his bike and mows down people with guns and when his bade bhai arrives on the scene, he pushes an overturned car with one shoulder to protect Chiranjeevi’s car, as he continues to shoot at the enemy. Oh and they share a moment even as guns are blazing and things exploding. The glee with which Salman cuts down people to make way for Chiranjeevi is all swag. As is the dance number that the two dish out at the end of the film.
If you, like me, are confused about the opening sequence and have forgotten it by intermission, worry not, remember “sab ka baap kaun”.