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Skanda review: Boyapati Sreenu-Ram Pothineni’s film is an assault on the senses

It neither has good music, a meaty plot nor the highs you seek from a mass film

Skanda review: Boyapati Sreenu-Ram Pothineni’s film is an assault on the senses

Ram Pothineni and Sreeleela

Last Updated: 01.12 PM, Sep 28, 2023



A top entrepreneur Rama Krishna Raju is behind bars and his daughter’s life is in danger. Meanwhile, the daughter of Andhra Pradesh’s CM elopes with the son of Telangana’s CM. A ruffian, meanwhile, tries to get close to the daughter of the latter. In another twist, two other family members from the politicians’ families are kidnapped. Who’s behind the mess and what’s his motive?


Going by the popular Twitter trend, how do you say you’re watching a Boyapati Sreenu film without actually saying it? In a political science class, the male lead, discussing his strategy to turn a CM, says ‘Iyyale..koyyale..gattiga arusthe thoyyale..’ His classmate, who practices ‘art of living’ techniques, hopes to see a egalitarian world through politics and the two fall in love.

When you watch a Boyapati Sreenu film, it’s safe to be wary. There can only be two outcomes from the viewing ‘experience’ - you either leave the theatres with an unimaginable emotional high or end up staring at the exit board within the first 15 minutes - there’s no middle-ground. Skanda is the least impactful film in the director’s career; the sad part, he doesn’t even try hard.


The film ticks all the boxes of the Boyapati template (since Bhadra). A woman is in danger and a hyper-masculine villain(s) is hungry for revenge. There’s some distraction with the romance briefly, an interval twist followed by a melodramatic flashback. The hero takes charge of the situation and a religious ritual leads to a blood-bath of an ending. You go to the theatre quite aware of the plot points.

The story, even going by the low standards set by mass films lately, is ridiculous. Two egoistic CMs of the Telugu states are after the family of a credible entrepreneur, who refuses to cooperate in their attempt to turn black money into white. The hero, a nephew of the former, tries to teach the CMs a lesson by kidnapping their daughters and falls in love with one of them.

Skanda’s biggest weakness is the absence of a strong emotional core. The motive behind the protagonist’s revenge makes little sense. The confrontations are an excuse to stretch the runtime. The villains, ironically the CMs of Telugu states, keep shouting at the top of their voices and behave like street goons. They are at the mercy of a ‘powerful’ youngster who can supposedly brave all odds.

Despite the absurdity of the first hour, Boyapati packs the narrative with many events and doesn’t give much space for the viewers to think. All hell breaks loose post the intermission - the bloated, soapy melodrama and the 70s style antagonism relentlessly test your patience. The director’s outdated ideas look worse this time given the (relatively younger) age group of the protagonists.

The broad strokes are difficult to tolerate - Ramakrishna Raju, an entrepreneur, is hailed as a saviour to the society. The large-hearted protagonist is a Stanford University passout who returns to his village to take care of his parents. The cops are corrupt, the CMs are mindless - as usual, a ‘system’ doesn’t exist in Boyapati’s universe. The heads keep flying as if they’re toys, blood flows like water.

You don’t expect a Boyapati-style mass film to be progressive, but it’s sad how the filmmaker refuses to take stock of times - the ‘women’ continue to be viewed as the honour of the family, who need to pay a price for giant egos of the men, ultimately the decision makers and the protectors. Any good news? There’s an announcement for Skanda 2 within the film, but it’s unlikely to materialise.

It’s disappointing how someone with Ram Pothineni’s potential makes blunders with his script choices time and again. Sreeleela’s presence is best felt during the (paltry) songs - she’s the unintentional comedian. It’s surprisingly Srikanth, who looks more measured of the lot, and keeps the decibel levels in check at times. Raja Daggubati is less an on-screen father and more a PR to Ram Pothineni.

Sharath Lohitashwa is yet again reduced to a caricaturish villain and Prince Cecil's attempt at an image makeover doesn't make the cut. Seasoned artistes Indraja, Gautami appear like a piece of furniture in the backdrop. Nee Chuttu Chuttu and Gandarabai are the best of the lot in Thaman’s mediocre album while the background score is unimaginative too.


Skanda is a film that’ll even make Boyapati’s previous dud - Vinaya Vidheya Rama - seem infinitely better. There’s not much to say here, it’s just a bad day at work for the filmmaker. Ram Pothineni’s script selection woes continue and composer Thaman, who’s a natural with action entertainers, misses the bus by a wide margin.


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