Director K Raghavendra Rao has had just one commercial success to his name in the past decade (leaving aside his devotional films). With new age directors and sensibilities taking over telugu films he finds it increasingly hard to deliver a success and be updated with the time and technology. In jhummandi nadam he directs Manchu manoj for the first time and re unites with Mohan babu after a long time. Will he be able to get a success this time around, will he appeal to the modern day audience and their tastes? Well lets just find it out.
Jhummandi naadam tells the story of balu (manoj), an aspiring singer who wants to become as popular as his namesake Sp Balu. He comes to Hyderabad leaving his home town bhadrachalam challenging them that he would come back to home only as a great singer. What happens to his challenge did he win it did he become a singer forms the story. Now how would be a film complete without heroine and a love angle to it so we have a shravya (Taapsee) an NRI coming to India to shoot a documentary on the lost traditional values of modern day people and the music lost along with the traditions. So balu assists her to complete her documentary and during the course falls in love with her. In between all these happenings we have Captain Rao(Mohan babu) who can’t stand balu and his modern day behaviour/attitude.
What could have been made in a very contemporary fashion is made in the very stale and dated 90’s style. This is where the film falters and falters big time. Everything looked so dated and passé. Add to them we have lot of lectures on how good and bad the value systems are and were. However few of those mundane scenes are lifted up by the father and son duo as they perfectly fit there characters but even then the number of such scenes are far too many for them, to be able to save it entirely. There is a visible on screen chemistry between the duo and they make full use of it. Manoj does well in his role though he gets on nerves at times but Mohan babu is left with poor characterization hence not able to make the required impact that one would expect from him. He is used more as a comedian. He lets his son steal the show. Heroine is used at her best in glamour department and has very less to perform. The entire film primarily revolves around these three characters with Bhrahmanandam coming in between to provide laughs, which again are stale. Ali, Raghu babu, Suman, Ahuti Prasad, Tanikella bharanai etc forms the rest of the cast and the moment you see them on screen you know what they are going to do next its that predictable. Also people who are bored completely can once again play “spot the movie” game in this film too.
Music by Keervani reminds us of his 90’s tunes and the picturization is not upto the mark. Even in today’s time director uses fruits, now even bigger in size and double meaning postures in his songs which are so so outdated. Add to them the childish special effects, it makes things worse. For those who wish to see heroine and her “glamour” alone there is lots on offer though. “Nigraham” “yem sakkagunnav ro” and “sannayi mogindi” being the one’s to look out for. Editing is jarring at times. Choreography is as said above very old fashioned. Now finally when it comes to direction we have to say that inspite of the many shortcomings, this movie is director’s best effort in the last decade in a commercial outing after gangothri. That doesn’t make this film good but just shows how poor his other films have been. And K Raghavendra Rao too suffers from the same preaching complex that Gunashekhar suffers from.
Bottomline: watch it only if you have nothing else to do or if you like heroine dancing inside/outside/carrying/flying in a coconut.
Rating – 2.75/5