Damp squib debut by Nagarjuna's son?
When Nagarjuna and Amala Akkineni's son Akhil debuts, one expects a giant wave. But the movie Akhil, directed by V Vinayak, is not even a ripple in a puddle. The insipid storyline has left Nagarjuna fans aghast. The tale of an orphan street-fighter who falls in love with a veterinary science student, who then proceeds to guide a surgery on her rabbit to woo her, is just the start of a migraine-inducing flick.
The larger story is of course one of Akhil saving the world by rescuing a precious, round, metal-like object named Jua from the hands of some villains. This Jua is guarded by an African tribe and evidently protects the world from destruction. If one must elaborate, the sun's rays after an eclipse must fall on the Jua and only then are all the volcanic mountains, raging seas and heaving earthquakes kept in check. A Russian ganglord is trying to steal it and some African mafia men are also involved. Akhil comes into the picture because his lady love Sayeesha's dad played by Mahesh Manjrekar is trying to get the Jua for the czar.
See? I told you, it is a recipe for a migraine.
For starters, we see Akhil winning a street fight near the Charminar. Now wouldn't the Hyderabad police have a thing or two to say about that? Of course, he graduates to bigger things such as saving the globe when he stumbles on the Jua plot on following Sayeesha to Spain. The thing about Akhil is this, he has a baby face but his role is all macho. And be it a fight scene or a dance sequence, his expressions remain like that of a guy intently focused on unscrewing the stubborn cap of a jam bottle. But to give the young actor credit, he does move quite fluidly.
Relief comes in the form of comedy scenes featuring veteran Rajendra Prasad while Brahmanandam seems as lost as the characters in the African jungle. He mutters one line though which tells the viewer this about Akhil's character, "You may not like him at all when you meet him, but once you do, you just cannot stop liking him." This has obvious references to Nagarjuna's early career when he had a series of flops. His looks and acting skills were dismissed by critics. But he then went on to become the darling of Telugu movie lovers.
Music by Anup Reubens and S Thaman is repetitive or maybe it is the manner in which the songs are shot. They all look and feel the same. The use of green mat technology is quite patchy. For example, in some chase and dance scenes, one gets the feel that it has all been shot in a studio and blended later on.
There were rumours before the movie's release that Nagarjuna was unhappy and wanted several scenes reshot. Gossip vine had it that Akhil was furious with his dad and sulked considerably. Nagarjuna sought to clear the air by saying that the Akkineni family was a happy one and not a stupid one. He gave his son five stars for his debut. Which brings us back to Akhil again. The one song that is worth watching is Akkineni in which Nagarjuna makes a much-needed appearance.
We're just friends
At the premiere of Kamal Haasan-starrer Cheekati Rajyam in Hyderabad, the cynosure of all eyes was Trisha who bumped into "good friend" Daggubati Rana and proceeded to chat him up. The two were supposedly a couple for a while and then had a public spat on Twitter without naming names. Trisha then got engaged to businessman Varun Manian but broke it allegedly as he wanted her to quit acting. Trisha and Rana were spotted partying after the success of Baahubali and this time it was Rana's turn to lend her support during Cheekati Rajyam's release.
?Should I love her or not?
Another movie that is also making news is Kumari 21F directed by Sukumar of Arya fame. The movie revolves around a young man (Raj Tarun) who falls for a small-time model (Hebah Patel) but is unable to digest her free-spirited nature. Nannu love cheyadaniki nee lo maturity ledu (You are not mature enough to love me), Kumari tells Siddhu mirroring the conflicting emotions of many Indian youth who love their carefree girlfriends but feel queasy about their past relationships.
Devi Sri Prasad's music is a winner and the song Love cheyyala vadda (To love or not to) is a winner. The lyrics go thus: Bar ki veltundhi, beer kodtundhi, pub ki veltundhi, dance chesthundi, love cheyyala vadda (She goes to bars, drinks beer, she goes to pubs and dances) WhatsApp lo 8 o clock ki goodnight andhi, kaani last seen 12 30 am today ani undhi (She says goodnight at 8 pm on WhatsApp but her last seen is 12.30 am, should I love her or not?)
?The future of journalism?
During a recent visit to the Maulana Abul Kalam National Urdu University, one had the opportunity to interact with students of the Mass Communications Department. The young boys and girls in MANUU come from all states in India and often look to make a career in journalism, primarily print, in Hindi and Urdu. For many of these students, the main concern is whether print as a medium will survive and whether they will get jobs in newspapers. What is heartening to note among these students is the eagerness to absorb the intricacies of modern media such as social platforms as well as TV, and news websites.
While post-graduate courses in journalism in many such varsities at times feel outdated, the Mass communications department in MANUU is keen to expose its students to "practical journalism". Some of the queries the students pose are:
- Why is it that TV channel reporters are insensitive in times of tragedy?
- ?W?hat exactly is the word count with which once can sustain a reader's attention in a newspaper and magazine article?
- How safe is it for young women from small towns to work in the media?
- Is the trivialization of news a reflection of our culture?
- How do magazines manage to stay relevant in this fast-paced digital age?
- Are sex surveys necessary in a news magazine?
Lot of food to chew for a debate.
However, one thing is evident. They are mentally equipped to face a brave new world out there and all of them feel they can make a difference.
As if echoing the spirit of the students, a calendar of MANNU has some lines by eminent Urdu poet Auj Yaqubi who was born in Hyderabad. The poem goes thus:
Chalna hai chal pado nikal aayenge raaste,
aandhi kisike nakshe kadam dekhti nahin.
Everyone can do with a bit of poetry in their lives.