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Badrinath : High production values, low emotional content


Director V.V.Vinayak is known for his action-oriented dramas and Badrinath has all the elements that his movies promise. There are richly choreographed fight sequences, dances, comedy scenes and stunning support from the art direction. So does Badrinath work? Not quite.
What’s it about : As the sacred temples in theNorth India are subjected to vandalism Bheeshma Narayan (Prakash Raj), a traditional guru of Takshasila, develops forces to ensure that the shrines are kept safe. Badrinath, is his favorite and the best disciple from his group, who is selected to keep the Badrinath templesafe. Alakananda (Tamannah), a non-believer in God, arrives to Badrinath along with hergrandfather. Her grandfather, is afraid of his own daughter, (Ashwini Kalsekar), who is trying to get her son married to her neice Alakananda. Badri readily offers the old man help, and it doesn’t take too long for the adamant girl to fall for Badri. But when Bheeshma Narayan asks Badri’s parents to gift their son to him, to take care of the shrine in his place, it means that Badri has to promise a life of bachelorhood for life! Knowing this Alakananda asks Badri to help her find her love. Unaware of what his Guru had sought, and unaware that he actually is Alakananda’s love, Badri also promises Alakananda to see that she wins her love. In the mean time, Ashwini Kalsekar pushes her rogue husband Sarkar (Kelly Dorjee) to bring her niece back to get her married to her son. Even though it is evident that Badri is an able fighter what will he choose between – Guru or a girl who loves him?
What is Good : Right from the start what catches your attention in Badrinath is the amazing production values. Allu Arjun shines in the setting - getting as athletic as he could for the fight and dance sequences. He gives some exercise to his vocal chords too, while in most cases it is his sword talking. Tamannah, inspite of having a strange character graph, tries to bring a lot honesty to her role – be it with her running (n number of times), or with her histrionics. Prakash Raj gets the best character, and with a strong make up, has only his eyes and dialogue to support himself. Yet he is good. The comedy bit that includes Brahmanandam and M.S.Narayana gets the biggest laughter, while it seems Aswhini Kalsekar, and Kelly Dorjee tried really hard at villainy.
Inspite of having a big cast, a decent story line, and an even bigger budget, it is the screenplay and its treatment that are disappointing.
What is bad: The reason why stunning visual effects filled sequences worked in films like Arundhati or Magadheera is the believability brought to them by the screenplay. Screenplay should make the audience go breathless, but there are many times in Badrinath you feel the emotions aren’t conveyed as well as they should have been. While the logical reasons as to why Badrinath wants to help Alakananda are established, Alakananda’s sudden love for Badri seems straight out of any Telugu commercial film. Her character is very poorly sketched, as to why a non-believer like her also turns into a believer! Many unnecessary scenes and songs ensure that the movie takes long to come to its central theme and address it. The climax lacks enough drama, and all comes to end quite conveniently. In all of it, Badrinath’s character becomes questionable, because he ends up with a girl just because his teacher instructed him to!
Technical Departments : It is surprising to say that inspite of an average screenplay the movie has best production values. The sets are incredible, and the cinematographer ensures that he covers them as much as he can. Along with the cinematographer, Peter Heins and Allu Arjun shoud be commended for creating some astounding stunt sequences. Music from Keeravani is a shadow of Magadheera or even Vedam, even though he makes his presence felt in some scenes. It seems too much was left for the VFX artists to take care of. As a result, the graphics are inconsistent, ranging from being good to being extremely poor. Commendable effort also went into dances, be it from the choreographer or Arjun or even Tamannah. It seems V.V.Vinayak was quite overwhelmed by the resources available to him, as a result missing his trade mark punch dialogues and good climax.
Bottomline : Badrinath is a perfect case where every single individual seems to have given their best, yet somehow the required emotions aren’t well portrayed. Watch it, knowing fully that Badrinath is far from a Magadheera and that we have watched better stuff from V.V.Vinayak.


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