Gopichand Malineni who always sticks with the commercial template has yet again treaded the same path with Winner. Apart from presenting Sai Dharam Tej in a stylish way, there's nothing noteworthy about the movie. It is just another mindless masala flick that Telugu cinema audience is already fed up with.
What is it about?
Siddharth (Sai Dharam Tej) hates his father (Jagapathi Babu) and horse racing as the latter neglects the former by getting busy with his business. Sid runs away from home and grows up to become a newspaper editor and publisher. He falls in love with Sitara (Rakul), an athlete. While Sitara father forces her to get married against her will, she comes up with a plan where Sid has take up the challenge of turning jockey for the sake of winning his love.
Sai Dharam Tej is presented in a stylish way unlike his previous films. His styling is good and he tries hard to deliver the best for his character. Rakul Preeth Singh is in there for the sake of glamour and she performs her duties with utmost sincerity. Jagapathi Babu's screen presence is good. Mukesh Rushi's villainy is too silly. Thakur looks like an old school villain, all brawn but no brain! Prudhvi, Ali and Vennela Kishore provide a bit of relief with their comedy. Rest of the cast doesn't have much to do except for mouthing the lines written for them.
Gopichand Malineni has proved his capabilities of handling a commercial film. He plays it safe yet again without trying anything new. Screenplay is too predictable and there is nothing that is exciting on the direction front. It is just a lazy job from the experienced director in the name of making a commercial entertainer.
Thaman's music is just ok. Background score lacks the punch. Dialogue is too bland and over the top. Cinematography is good and the production values are top notch. Editor does a decent job by keeping the run time short.
Sai Dharam Tej
Commercial entertainers usually don't offer much on the story front. Therefore, audience wouldn't expect anything special from a movie like Winner after looking at its promos and posters. However, they will expect to be entertained with an engaging screenplay. Sadly, Winner screenplay turned out to be its biggest drawback.
Director relies heavily upon the comedy scenes when he had no clue about how to pass the time. Prudhvi as Singam Sujatha and Ali as Peter Haynes did their bit in first half and second half respectively. Apart from a few comedy bits, Winner looks tired and super predictable in the remaining part.
We can predict every scene beforehand and director doesn't even make an attempt to surprise us by coming up with something unexpected. It is quite clear that hero comes out as winner right from the start of the film. When one has such a predictable and thin plot on hand, efforts should be put on presenting it an interesting way.
Mukesh Rushi's hatred towards his grandson is the main tool to run this screenplay. That itself looks tacky that Winner doesn't make sense at any point. At least the horse racing episodes should have been thrilling to make it a satisfying film. Unfortunately, Gopichand Malineni didn't have the vision to give it a nail-biting finish. All in all, Winner is a film that relies heavily upon the elements that please the B and C center audience. Its box office run will depend upon how they respond to it.
Verdict: Too weak to be a winner.