I mentioned this before in my Kanthaswamy review but I agree with Rolling Stone magazine and their rating system.
And I quote: "Back when I used to read Rolling Stone magazine, I would pay special attention to the music reviews. They had – or maybe still have – a star rating system that I feel makes a lot of sense. The ‘3 star’ rating was for albums that were good - and here is the important part - if you already liked that genre of music."
As Kanthaswamy is a solid three star film for people who enjoy nonsensical and epic Southern-style masala, Ek Niranjan is a solid three star film for people who enjoy Prabhas-style masala - i.e. me.
I actually began my evening with Bunny, which stars Allu Arjun. I had ordered it blind, never seeing an Allu Arjun before but curious about his style. The first half hour of Bunny was not to my taste. I find Indian college films (Bolly, Tolly, or otherwise) very hit or miss and this was definitely a miss for me. While I completely understand that some people enjoy the light-hearted antics that must remind them of their college days, for me, a college film must have something more than simple boy meets girl and wants to marry her despite her overprotective father. Something like Prabhas - the reason I loved Adavi Ramudu.
So, after half an hour of Bunny, I flicked it off and decided to test out my DVD of Ek Niranjan on my new DVD player. Starring Kangana Ranaut, Prabhas, and Sonu Sood, Ek Niranjan was highly anticipated by me before it came out but interest in it dwindled after it flopped. I should know better, right? Ek Niranjan is a solid entertainer - a bit small in scope, perhaps, but how many films can be epic on the scale of Varsham or Magadheera?
I knew I had made the right choice in switching films when we are introduced to the titular Ek Niranjan - which loosely translate to "loner" if my subtitles are correct - as a baby, tragically kidnapped out of his parents' house, renamed Chhotu, and forced to work begging for money for a callous master. Things change for Chhotu when the police come looking for the master and instead of keeping silent, he points out the evil master's hiding place and gets a coin for his trouble - the start of a nice career as a bounty hunter!
We catch up with Chhotu years later when he has turned into a dishoom-dishooming Prabhas, who has no family and no cares. But since this is a masala film, our Hero must be reintegrated into society and reintegrated he is! A tangled web of relations revolving around gangster Jani-bhai (Sonu Sood) lead Chhotu to both his real family and to luscious guitar teacher Sameera (Kangana Ranaut). You can guess how the film ends up, the fun is in the journey to get there!
Prabhas is, as usual, utterly charming as Chhotu. There is something a bit rough-around-the-edges about Prabhas that I find irresistible. He has an openness and guilelessness in his face and his mannerisms that enables him to play the underdog despite the fact that he is 6 feet tall, gorgeous, and extremely talented. He's not doing anything we haven't seen before in Ek Niranjan but that doesn't make it unenjoyable!
Kangana Ranaut, as the heroine, seems a bit overwhelmed at times but does a nice job nonetheless. It's a shame that she hasn't had more offers in Southern films because I think she definitely has potential. Her character is quick tempered and slow to warm up to Chhotu but once she does, they share some very sweet moments. While it's not an epic love story, I did care enough about their relationship to want them to end up together at the end - something that is not true for many films I see.
Sonu Sood is a real scene stealer as Jani-bhai. In one of his first scenes, he asks one of his lackeys, "Do you think I'm a sadist?" Yeah. He also spends a lot of time lounging around without a shirt on and watching old movies. See, Jani-bhai considers himself to be the Hero of the film and Sonu Sood plays him with just the right amount of camp sensibility.
The first half of the film purrs along like the piece of well-oiled masala that it is and most of the second half does, as well, adding an inspired comedy track that has two rival mystics working spells on one very confused lady. It's the last half hour or so that keeps the movie from finishing the deal - an extended chase sequence in Bangkok intercut with a severely misguided tribute to Michael Jackson (!) - but at that point I was caught up enough in the story to want to see it through. Besides, the prospect of a Sonu Sood and Prabhas showdown is enough to power even impatient me through a running, jumping, men dressed up like the Joker for no reason tour of Bangkok.
So, is Ek Niranjan a great movie? No, but it is an entertaining one and I can certainly recommend it with no reservations to anybody who is a fan of Prabhas.
(Director Puri Jagannadh also did Bujjigadu, which I was less than impressed with.)
Note from Filmi Girl:
I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.
If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.
xoxo Filmi Girl