| | 2014-02-28

Raja Gautham, Alisha Baig, Sayaji Shinde and others

Director - Chaitanya Dantuluri
Producer - Chaitanya Dantuluri
Banner - Start Camera Pictures
Music - Mani Sharma

Brahmanandam's son Raja Gautham is back to test his luck again as hero. His previous films didn't fare well and Gautham has been desperately waiting for a break. Did Chaitanya Dantuluri, the director of Banam, deliver the goods for him?

What is it about?

Arjun (Raja Gautham) is a typical boy next door, who doesn't have many dreams about his life. He is a college student who falls in love with Roshini (Alisha Baig) in the first sight. Roshini has no feelings for him and is on her way to London for higher studies. Arjun's college is suddenly attacked by terrorists and they hold eighty odd students as hostages and let out their demands. Arjun learns that Roshini along with his friends is caught inside. What does he do to save her and others?

Raja Gautham hasn't yet evolved as an actor, but certainly showed some maturity. He did well in few scenes and there is scope for improvement. Alisha is just okay as the female lead. She is not so attractive for someone to fall so deep in love in the first sight. Sayaji Shinde is good in this film. Tanikella Bharani is believable. Other actors did their part.

Chaitanya Dantuluri proved that he doesn't like to do run of the mill movies. His debut film Banam is a fine example of his caliber. We expect Basanthi to be something special going by the publicity material. But what Chaitanya offers is a half baked film with poorly etched characters. There are far too many flaws in the script and they are so glaring that we can't overlook them and rate this film high.

However the film is technically sound. Mani Sharma's music is an asset. His songs and background music will impress and will stay with you. Cinematography is very good too. Editing is crisp. The film's length is close to two hours, which is apt for this genre. All the other departments complemented well to make this film look slick.

Basanti starts off with a bang with a bomb exploding in a park. Later it transforms into a simple love story, where the boy chases the girl. We know that both these aspects will cross paths at one point. Director did well until that point. Although there aren't any great moments in the first half of the film Basanti moves ahead at a slow pace with some neatly sprinkled college romance. Interval bang is predictable but effective.

The real test begins for the director in dealing the second half of the film. The story is confined one single location in the second half with terrorists holding deadly weapons taking the control of the situation. Director needs to deal with this as cleverly as possible. But he lets everyone down by taking the 'cinematic' route. He shows the ordinary protagonist as a hero in that extremely out of control situation. This is not expected from someone like Chaitanya who has shown so much promise in his debut film itself.
The characters are under developed and that weakness has been elevated in the second half during key moments. Take for example the death scene of Ranadhir. He is in love with his friend, but he couldn't convey that to her till his end. Sadly, that is not even conveyed to the audience until then and therefore we don't feel much pain in his death. Gautham doesn't move an inch when he knows that his best friends are caught hostages by the terrorists. He runs inside when he gets to know that his love is caught inside.

Emotions didn't work out anywhere in the film. We hardly feel a pinch while the terrorists kill innocent students. Protagonist taking on armed terrorists and beating them to death is far from reality. Basanthi is surely a different attempt from the regular masala films, but is lacks that special moments and appeal to stand out as a great film. Basanthi could have ended up as a decent fare if the director used some brains while scripting it. He made it too simple and that in turn made this film ineffective. Watch it if you are craving for different cinema and don't expect too much out of it.

Verdict: Basanti  is a half hearted attempt!