From mind boggling action sequences to terrific dialogue baazi to catchy music and good performances, this one has it all
Last Updated: 12.27 PM, Jan 21, 2022
Twins, born in a revered family based in Anantapur, are separated at birth. The father doesn't let the world know that his wife had given birth to two boys. The boy raised by them, Murali Krishna, grows up to be a farmer and a do-gooder of great repute in the village. He falls in love with the district collector and eventually marries her. A mining mafia kingpin Varadarajulu wrecks havoc in the lives of the villagers and Murali Krishna stands up for them in the hour of need. When the conflict worsens, tragedy strikes Murali Krishna's household and an aghora Akhanda emerges an unlikely saviour for the family.
Akhanda, the third collaboration between director Boyapati Srinu and actor Nandamuri Balakrishna after Simhaa and Legend, is a no-holds-barred mass feast that exactly plays into the demands of audience. It comes from filmmaker, who thinks more like his target audiences and always has had a perfect grasp of Balakrishna's strengths as a performer. He capitalises on it big time in this story set in mythical, make-believe universe where law has no place.
Call it bloody, crude or crass, Akhanda gives you the high of a well-made mass film with terrifically mounted action pieces with the right emotional foundation, crisp dialogue and a screenplay that knows its elastic. The bloodbath in Boyapati's films is certainly not meant for the faint-hearted but the filmmaker finds an interesting reason to justify it with the presence of an aghora.
In Akhanda, dharma reigns supreme and violence is deemed necessary to destroy wrongdoers. An aghora gets the license to kill one person after the other and tells cops that he's beyond law. A fantastic monologue even conveys why an aghora deserves that privilege over a common man. If the first hour is entertaining and sets the tone for the entry of an aghora, the second hour is loaded with abundant action that doesn't give you much breathing space.
For a mainstream film, Akhanda remains very focused in its storytelling and there's great clarity in how the screenplay pans out. While the initial moments establish that the twins are separated at birth, the film quickly shifts to tell the story of Murali Krishna (one of the twins), his romantic escapades and jumps right into the conflict between him and a mafia baron. The rest is all about how Murali Krishna's brother saves his family and village from a crisis.
Unlike his earlier films, the director doesn't force any unnecessary humour or unwanted subplots in the story. The action sequences are slick, gory and even animalistic sans any suspicion but you know subtlety is not what you get from a typical Balakrishna fare. S Thaman's music score is the film's lifeline and you see the composer has complete conviction in the product and understands the tempo of the high-voltage sequences.
The trauma of a mother who can't unite with her son gives the necessary emotional heft in the second hour. Songs like Jai Balayya and the title track aptly show why Akhanda is a world that must be experienced on the big screen. You either get Akhanda or you don't, there's no middleground at all. One can sense that Balakrishna had great fun delivering the dialogues across both the roles and his on-screen composure as an aghora adds to the impact.
Srikanth gets a good role and has all the ammunition to make for a good villain in the times to come. Pragya Jaiswal and Purnaa know the limitations of their roles in a setup of this nature and do a reasonable job while they last. Jagapathi Babu springs a surprise in an impressive supporting role. It's a cakewalk for the likes of Viji Chandrasekhar, Avinash and Subba Raju in their brief but impactful characters. Nithin Mehta's menacing avatar is the icing on the cake.
Akhanda is undoubtedly the best film in the combination of Boyapati Srinu and Balakrishna. From mind boggling action sequences to terrific dialoguebaazi, catchy music and good performances, this one has it all. In the times of the OTT vs theatre debate, Akhanda reminds exactly the high that a big-screen experience must provide!