Everything about Bhala Thandanana is so underwhelming, right from the storytelling to performances to the hazy premise
Last Updated: 06.38 PM, May 06, 2022
The son of a big-time gangster is kidnapped in Hyderabad and the latter is asked to pay a sum of Rs 10 crore if he seeks his son's return. Meanwhile, an investigative journalist Shashirekha comes across Chandu, an accountant working at an orphanage. The two meet in connection with an alleged raid at the orphanage and soon, sparks fly and they hit it off as a couple. However, Chandu knows some spine-chilling secrets behind a series of chilling murders in the city and strangely, he's kidnapped later too. Is there more to Chandu than what we know of? What connects Chandu, Shashirekha to the dreaded don Anand Bali?
If there's an award for the most pointless thriller of Telugu cinema in its eight-decade history, Bhala Thandanana is sure to find a place in the top 5-list. Nothing about the film thrills, excites or surprises you, from start to finish. The proceedings leave you so nauseatic and you never get a reason to care for any character, plot twist or action sequence. Everything about Bhala Thandanana is so mechanical and indifferent, that you don't even know the reason why the story is being told and what convinced the producers to back it in the first place.
An investigative journalist working for a vernacular daily speaks Telugu with a foreign accent; one can't believe who even gave her the job? The joke is, even the male lead tells her, 'You speak Telugu as if it's English.' The protagonists fall in love so easily, as if they were following the instructions of a machine. While talking about love, a friend tells the lead, 'a lover is like a city bus, if you miss one, you catch the other, but don't mess up with your liver' while cautioning him to get over a heartbreak.
In another 'epic' scene, Chandu asks his roommate the meaning of current affairs and guesses if it's the affairs of those working in a current office. (yes, that's the standard!) The male lead is so devoid of ideas to talk to his love interest that he has to search for new topics in a newspaper. Nothing about the dreaded antagonist in the film terrifies you (and this time they had to bring a Garuda Raam to do a woeful role), everyone is so busy double-crossing one another that you lose count of the twists.
Bhala Thandanana could've been also named 'kidnap-fest' and no one would've batted an eyelid. Right from the beginning, every second character keeps getting kidnapped for a reason and the director tries to use this as a tool to uncover the character's mysteries. The detailing of most aspects in the film is very casual, be it the functioning of an NGO or a media house or the segment about gang wars or the hawala money deals. The execution is subpar and none of the characters seems spirited enough to bring their role to life.
The subplot about the investigative journalist fighting for the custody of her niece is so random and unnecessary and it adds little value to the story. The attempt to keep the proceedings light-hearted in the first hour fails miserably and the writing is painfully bland - the entire thread around Satya and Sree Vishnu is a farce. Every dialogue appears to be derived from another film and the writing is lazy and convenient. The story fails to take off for a long time and it ends even before we know the motive of the male lead Chandu.
The makers have purposely come up with an open ending to leave space for a possible sequel, but as a narrative, it turns out to be a very bad idea. It's important to do one film well before aiming for the second instalment. If there's one sequence that remotely warrants your interest, it's the climax where Chandu employs a smart ploy and creates insecurity among the henchmen in the antagonist's camp.
Sree Vishnu lacks the charisma or the aura to pull off a role with grey shades and he's terribly miscast in Bhala Thandanana - it's exactly the problem that Nani faced with V too. It would've been more practical for the makers to cast Catherine as an English journalist over a Telugu one. Posani Krishna Murali needs to seriously reinvent himself if he aims for a longer run in the industry. Garuda Raam is strictly okay in a poorly written part. Aadarsh Balakrishna, Srikanth Iyengar and Ravi Varma don't get to do anything significant.
The lesser said about Mani Sharma's score, the better - it's evident that there was nothing in the film to inspire to compose even a single, memorable track. Chaitanya Dantuluri's storytelling lacks intelligence and isn't in sync with the times; the narration isn't arresting at any point. The producers who backed projects like Eega, Oohalu Gusagusalaade and Jyo Achyutananda can do a lot better than backing paltry outings like Bhala Thandanana.
There wasn't much buzz about Bhala Thandanana before the release; the content of the film ensures that there's a slim chance for it to make noise after release too. Sree Vishnu may have the knack for good scripts but it's high time he exercised some caution. Catherine Tresa's presence hardly adds value to the film and the same applies to Garuda Raam as well. Need we say the obvious? Here are the three magical words - Skip this yawnfest.