Telugu nativity missing
Santosh Sivan, a noted cinematographer, who worked with popular director Maniratnam for several films. He won nine National Film Awards for his cinematography. Besides holding the camera, he also became popular as a writer, director and producer. His success as a director began with his critically acclaimed The Terrorist in 1999 and he cemented his reputation with the release of Asoka in 2001. Some of his films had also bagged international awards. In fact, Pulitzer-prize winner and movie expert Roger Ebert have described The Terrorist as one of the 100 best films in the world. His latest Malayalam flick Anantabhadram has been dubbed into Telugu by Lakshmi Ganapathi Films as Sivapuram.
The film deals with how a sorcerer tried to grab an all-powerful Naga Manikyam. Gayatri (Revati), daughter of a priest, elopes with her lover to the US while she was about to be offered to Naga Devata. Gayatri narrates her story to her son Anand (Prithviraj), saying that there was a big sorcerer in her native village Sivapuram. During her childhood, that sorcerer tried to kidnap her but gets killed in the hands of her father. But that sorcerer, before dying transfers all his powers to his grandson called Digambar (Manoj K Jain) and tells him to take revenge against the priest's family and grab the Naga Manikyam. Anand returns to Sivapuram to fulfil her last wish to light 1,000 lamps in Naga Devata temple and perform her last rites by immersing her ashes in the temple koneru (tank). In Sivapuram, Anand happens to meet his sister-in-law Bala (Kavya) and falls in love with her. Anand thwarts all the attempts of Digambar to grab the Naga Manikyam. Finally Digambar gets killed in the hands of a blind martial arts expert Samba (Kalabhavan Mani), whose sister dies in the hands of Digambar.
Director Santosh Sivan tried his best to mould the story on the celluloid with a different screenplay. He chose the beautiful locales of his native State Kerala and of course the original film was made in Malayalam. His expertise in the cinematography is another plus point for the film and the technical values of the film are excellent. Prithviraj also tried to perform well as a person with split personality. Another plus point is the performance by villain Manoj K Jain.
Though the film is technically good to look at, with a different screenplay, it lacks the basic nativity. It may not be acceptable for the Telugu audiences. At the same time, use of black magic tricks, mantras were looked quite artificial. Telugu audiences, who were fascinated to watch films made on these lines earlier by Vithalacharya and other top directors could not accept the way the sorcerer's character was moulded. Even the love thread between the lead pair was not properly established. Moreover the film had several questions that were unanswered. Especially, the episodes related to Subhadra's body and the scenes where Digambar performs the black magic.
Sriramakrishna, who is well known for penning dialogues for dubbed films did a neat job and the dialogues are just okay. Background score by MG Radhakrishnan is average and a couple of songs were neatly choreographed. Some graphic shots could be done more effectively and they lacked the necessary punch. If you are interested to watch a technically brilliant film, it is okay, otherwise happily avoid watching it.
Prithviraj, Kavya Madhavan, Manoj K Jain, Kalabhavan Mani, Cochin Haneefa, Revati and others.
Dialogues - Sriramakrishna
Lyrics - Vanamali
Music - MG Radhakrishnan
Producers - Subrahmanyam B and Rupesh Y
Cinematography, story, screenplay and direction - Santosh Sivan
Banner - Lakshmi Ganapati Films
Released on - September 7, 2006.