Indrakanti Mohanakrishna had bagged an award at the national level for his film sometime ago. It was like an experiment and this time he has chosen to do a commercial film. Apart from the commercial aspects, the director has continued to maintain the family values in this gentle love story. The film has several elements like love and sentiment. At the same time, it is quite youthful. The star cast is very fresh for the audiences and for such a tender and delicate love subject. As the subject has several twists like a snake and ladder game, he has given the title Ashta Chemma, a game popular in the north Andhra districts.
Lavanya (Swathi) is an orphan and was brought up by her maternal aunt Mandira (Jhansi). She wants to Lavanya to marry an NRI boy, but Lavanya is a big fan of Maheshbabu and wants to marry him. On learning that Maheshbabu has married Namrata, she is forced to choose an alternative boy. Of course, she demands that the boy whom she marries should have his name as Maheshbabu. He should have the looks of a Prince and roughness of Pokiri. Her neighbour, an NRI boy, Anand, agrees to help her in searching a boy named Mahesh. He finds one such boy named Mahesh (Naani) and introduces him to Lavanya and both of them like each other and fall in love in no time. However, when Lavanya reveals her weakness that she wanted to love and marry a person called Maheshbabu, the latter turns dumbstruck. He reveals to Anand that his real name is Rambabu and that he holds the stature of 'Pedarayudu'-kind in his village. At this juncture, Anand comes to know that Rambabu has a sister called Varalakshmi (Bhargavi). Anand loses his heart for her on seeing the photograph. While Rambabu is in love with Lavanya in the city, Anand goes to Lakkavaram and befriends Varalakshmi. So Rambabu returns to the village on a damage control exercise. In order to clear all the obstacles, Anand invites Lavanya to Lakkavaram. Now, Lavanya realizes that her Mahesh had lied to her and his real name is Rambabu. She decides to give up her love. Now, it is the turn of Anand to start damage control exercise and he invites Mandira to the village. Mandira finds Ammaji in the house of Rambabu. Mandira identifies Ammaji as Anasuya. With this, the actual story unwinds that Rambabu is none other than the son of Mandira's family friend Amrita, who was lost in the railway station. Everyone is very happy as Amritha got back her son after a gap of 25 years. Despite that, Lavanya refuses to love and marry Rambabu. Then Amritha shows the photograph of Rambabu when he was child, before he missed, where she wrote the name Maheshbabu. That means Rambabu's actual name is Mahesh. This clears the way and the film ends on a happy note.
The major plus point is the performance of almost all the artistes. It is the director who managed to extract the acting talents from every artiste with utmost precision. The storyline is quite delicate and mostly depends on the screenplay. In order to build one such love story, the artistes should not have any image. At the same time, they need to perform well. So, the director had chosen Swathi, who had good acting abilities, Naani, who was already popular as an RJ and had the ability to perform on the screen, Srinivas, a novice, who had the ability to deliver good performance and Bhargavi, a popular TV anchor who bagged Nandi award as a comedian for her performance earlier. The selection of these artistes have made his job very easy. The other major plus point in the film is the directorial ability of Indrakanti Mohanakrishna. Camera work by PG Vinda reflected the mind of the director. The movement of the story, especially in the second half with a lot of twists gave the audiences a real feel of watching a nice movie.
Music is a minus in the film. Except two tunes, none of the songs were melodious or foot tapping. Sirivennela Sitarama Shastry has been unable to do justice to all the songs. Another draw back in the film is that the director has chosen to allocate the entire first part for entertainment and the second half for twists and suspense. The sudden change of events and scenes confuse the audiences. Though they were clarified later, the director's choice to confuse the audiences has turned to be a drawback. Editing by Marthand K Venkatesh is just okay. The prolonged climax though appears boring for quite sometime, the positive change of events has given a positive end.
Though the story in the second half is a little confusing, the director did not lose grip on the subject at any point of time. The film would definitely go well with the audiences as it has all kinds of elements for the youth and normal audiences too. It is a good family entertainer and also has a comic touch with a pinch of sentiment.
Cast: Naani, Srinivas A, 'Colours' Swathi, Bhargavi, Tanikella Bharani, Sivannarayana, Ramakrishna, Vasu Inturi, Goparaju Ramana, Srinubabu, Jhansi, Hema, Ragini and others.
Credits: Dialogues – Mohanakrishna Indraganti, Camera – P.G. Vinda, Art – Ravinder, Choreography – Tara, Noble, Music – Kalyani Mallik, Lyrics – Sirivennela Sitaramasastry, Editing – Marthand K Venkatesh, Presents – D. Suresh Babu, G Geetha, Producer – P. Ram Mohan, Story, screenplay, direction – Mohanakrishna Indraganti.
Banner: Art Beat Capital (P) Ltd.
Released on: September 5, 2008