ragada WPIMDbLB

Ragada is a 2010 Telugu film directed by Veeru Potla. It stars “King” Nagarjuna in the hero role, and the movie indeed repeatedly reminds the audience about who the king is. I actually started to watch the movie a couple of years ago but had to pause after 30 minutes and never remembered to continue. The plot has so many twists and turns that it would be hopeless to explain it all here, but basically it’s about the hero who likes money and doesn’t like the rich bad mafia guys who are threatening his mother and sister.

Previously I had seen two Veeru Potla’s films, Varsham (2004) and Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana (2005), which are both nice but in my opinion just around average level movies. Perhaps expectedly, so is Ragada. I haven’t seen too many of King Nagarjuna’s films but I’ve seen him quite a lot in Meelo Evaru Koteeswarudu, the Telugu version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Which is very helpful in learning Telugu as the questions are shown in both Telugu and English. Also, many questions and special guests are related to Telugu cinema.) Ragada isn’t as good as some other Nagarjuna’s films, like Manam. But Nagarjuna still manages to show that he’s the King, at least in Ragada’s universe. I don’t really think he’s doing anything that other Tollywood heroes wouldn’t be capable to do.

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The female lead roles are played by Anushka Shetty and Priyamani, “bullet” and “chocolate”. Both of them have important roles in the story but are unfortunately forgotten a little before the end of the film. Ragada also nicely counts towards my goal to watch all movies by Anushka. I see her as one of the strongest of the current Tollywood heroines as she somehow has managed to successfully act in main role multiple times without a male hero in such a male-centric film industry. I believe I’ve now seen 9 of 36, or 25%.

Pradeep Rawat is the typical Tollywood villain. He shouts much and kicks furniture around. He does exactly what is expected and required from a Tollywood villain. One of the minor villains is played by Dev Gill and he’s of course good at it. He actually was my main reason to watch Ragada when I first tried to watch it some years ago, as I had seen him in Magadheera and he has acted in surprisingly small number of movies.

There are present also some of the compulsory but entertaining Tollywood things, such as Naga Chaitanya’s (Nagarjuna’s son) Ye Maaya Chesave movie poster at the background and a street fight that gathers a huge audience and when the baddies eventually run away, the spectators just leave the scene silently precisely at the same time.

Brahmanandam’s comedy is above his average, or at least easier to understand through subtitles than his usually dialogue-heavy jokes. His introduction scene is one of the funniest I’ve seen from him so far. I don’t think the character is too important for the storyline but he has a lot of screentime as his main purpose is flirting with Anushka.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiNgEBTkuCY

The clip above doesn’t have subtitles but the dialogue at the end goes like: “You’ll be out tomorrow, unnecessarily tried to escape today.” – “Tomorrow? I didn’t know that.” – “Don’t tell anyone about this, may get suspended for getting scared of a soap.” – “You must do one thing to keep that secret. Get me a new bar of soap, I need to take a bath.”

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Story 2½
Star Power 3½
Songs 2
Fights 2½
Comedy 3½
Overall 3
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I don’t always write new blog posts when something cool happens, so maybe I should periodically summarize the most relevant unblogged things from a longer period of time into a single post. This is a brief summary of the most exciting film related things that have happened to me in March 2015.

  • The blog now has a new domain name and I even managed to write a new about page!
  • Even though I didn’t yet advertise it anywhere, I made a new high score system for the Magadheera-inspired Warrior Game that I made last year. (My record is now 353.) I hope to add support for touchscreen devices some day but right now I have no idea how to do that. Until that, it’s playable only with mouse or touchpad.
  • I started the Super Star Project which might have been my worst decision ever. My DVD shelf is already so full! I’m glad I’m not doing a Brahmanandam Project.
  • Now I’ve finally seen Student No.1 (Telugu, 2001) which completed my list of movies directed by S. S. Rajamouli, and Gangotri (Telugu, 2003) which was my last unseen movie of Allu Arjun as the hero.
  • Dhoom Dhoom 1+2+3
  • I’m quite a newbie to Hindi cinema since I’ve watched mostly South Indian films. While I’ve seen some random Hindi films before, I haven’t seen anything that good that would make me watch more Hindi films instead of Telugu or Tamil films. Still Hindi films are more popular than South Indian films, so maybe I’ve just watched the wrong movies? Now I started to explore Hindi cinema a little more systematically than before. I began by watching Sholay (1975) which was actually quite good. I was surprised how well the songs fitted in the story, as most Indian films that I’ve seen have at least a couple of songs that feel a little random and disconnected from everything else. I also got DVDs of some newer “super hits”, for example Dhoom and Krrish series, as well as some more or less questionable Hindi movies.
  • Bollywood for Beginners Bollywood for Beginners
  • Just when I started to wander around in the big and scary world of Hindi cinema, one of the greatest Indian cinema bloggers, Filmi Girl, published a book called Bollywood for Beginners. I’ve really enjoyed reading it so far.
  • I remember a day last summer when I traveled around my home town. I laughed silently in my head because I saw a man that I thought looked a little like Dhanush. Then I came home and read the unthinkable news that Dhanush was making his new film Shamitabh in Finland! I missed a screening of the movie in February but this year the Season Film Festival screened two Hindi films, Shamitabh and Raja Natwarlal, so I got another chance to see it. Both of the movies were worth watching even though I probably missed a lot of references to other Hindi films in Shamitabh. It’s funny that the first Bollywood song shot in Finland is a song about toilets. I also made a fool of myself by some very bad dancing when a Bollywood dance group made the audience to try some dance moves in the cinema hall before the show, but I forgot it as soon as an enormous image of Rajinikanth appeared on the screen in Eros International’s short video clip and said “Let’s begin!” which already was more than enough value for the ticket price.
  • At least three interesting soundtrack albums for upcoming movies were released recently: M. Ghibran’s Uttama Villain (Kamal Haasan), Devi Sri Prasad’s S/O Satyamurthy (Allu Arjun, UPENDRA), and Ilaiyaraaja’s Rudhramadevi (Anushka, Rana, Allu Arjun). I managed to watch the live stream only from Rudhramadevi’s audio launch event. It was held in two different cities on consecutive days so that they released three songs a day. Anushka made a grand entrance in a royal carriage and some of the dance performances were entertaining (while some others were embarrassing).
  • Aa Okkadu Aa Okkadu
  • I also have to mention that I got the DVD of Aa Okkadu (Telugu, 2009) which has AJAY in hero role! I hope to watch it as soon as it fits into the schedule of one of my friends who also is an Ajay fan.
  • And finally, I now have Yoddha (2014), the Bengali remake of Magadheera, on (unsubtitled) VCD, so now I’ll be able to make a screencap comparison between the two if I won’t have anything better to do.
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Superstar Project 2/174.

chandramukhi WPIMDbLB

To begin with, here is Rajinikanth’s title screen for the Superstar Project’s title card gallery. In 2005 it’s already quite shiny.

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Chandramukhi is a Tamil superstar starrer from 2005, directed by P. Vasu. It is a remake of the 2004 Kannada movie Apthamitra (also directed by P. Vasu). Besides the superstar, the cast also includes Prabhu, Jyothika, Nyantara, Vadivelu, “and others”.

Chandramukhi is a “hounted house” type of story. Sometime in history, a fatal love triangle had taken place in the mansion and as a result, one of the rooms is inhabited by a ghost of a dancer named Chandramukhi. Fortunately, we have Rajinikanth, an excellent psychiatrist, to save the day. The story is interesting and easy to sit through at least once, but it doesn’t have anything so special that I would re-watch it in the near future. (Watching the sequel two days later was already enough of the same story.)

I have nothing bad to say about the songs either, although I like the more recent Rajinikanth songs more. One funny thing was the song sequence where Rajinikanth is flying kites with his friends. The result can be seen in the following image.

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There are two fights in the movie. The first one is the compulsory Rajinikanth introduction fight which once again is very entertaining because of Rajinikanth’s Law of Gravity. The second one feels a bit pointless, but it’s an unwritten law of nature that whenever a character is played by Sonu Sood, he is a villain and therefore has to be defeated at some point.

Another noteworthy gravity moment is when Rajinikanth saves Prabhu’s character from drinking poisoned coffee.

Don't drink, the coffee is poisoned!


nagavalli WPIMDbLB

Chandramukhi has a 2010 Telugu sequel, Nagavalli, which is also by the director P. Vasu. It is a remake of the 2010 Kannada movie Aptharakshaka (again by the same director). In this movie, Chandramukhi returns and once again a psychiatrist’s help is needed to drive her away.

This film doesn’t feature Rajinikanth except in some flashbacks from Chandramukhi. Instead, the film stars Venkatesh as Rajinikanth’s assistant. I realized that somehow I hadn’t seen a Venkatesh film before, and he actually is quite good in this one. I also liked Anushka’s role as Chandramukhi. Rajinikanth’s authority is in danger as his assistant’s assistant is played by none other than Brahmanandam. M. S. Narayana is in a minor role and he dies almost immediately after his introduction which felt a little inappropriate when watched so shortly after the actor’s death in real life. In addition to those actors, the film also features Shraddha Das who is known for her roles in at least Arya 2 and the Malayalam horrific horror film Dracula 2012.

Though the actors’ performances are good, the movie doesn’t have much to add to the story of Chandramukhi. We get to see a little more of the history part. Also the climax scene is nice. (Now I need to add random thunderbolts to my rules of K/Tollywood drinking game.) I believe that Nagavalli can be watched without seeing Chandramukhi first, but I would still recommend Chandramukhi over this one.

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The official trailer of Rudhramadevi is finally here!

Rudhramadevi, directed by Gunasekhar, is currently the second most awaited Telugu film (at least for me). It has a huge budget and its star cast is full of big names like Anushka, Rana, Allu Arjun, Krishnam Raju, Prakash Raj, Cathrine Tresa and Nithya Menen (and Ajay!!!).

The trailer has some funny moments and the costumes look great. However, the visual effects are quite disappointing considering the high budget. (Just look at the sword’s glowing outline in the picture below.) The trailer somewhat reminds me of the 2014 Tamil animation film Kochadaiiyaan which was widely criticized for poor visual effects. Rudhramadevi still is a must-watch movie, but the story must be really extraordinary if it’s going to survive multiple watchings.

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Baahubali Valentines Day Contest

After the epic masterpieces Magadheera (2009) and Eega (2012), S. S. Rajamouli’s Baahubali is definitely the most awaited movie of 2015. This February the Baahubali team organized a Valentine’s Day Contest. The subject of the contest was a proposal to one of the main actors in the film (Prabhas, Anushka, Rana). The contest was announced on 11 February and the deadline was already on the 14th so there was quite a small amount of time to design and make the proposal.

My idea was to make a Lego brick animation using some of the characteristic scenes in South Indian cinema. Unfortunately I’m mainly a Castle Lego collector so I didn’t have the necessary cars to do the crazy car choreography for the arrival of the bad guys.

So, my entry to the contest was Brick Valentine, a 42 seconds long Lego brick action movie. It was the first Lego animation that I managed to complete. It was also a chance to finally learn to use a video editing software better. This time I used VSDC Free Video Editor. I’m quite satisfied with the final outcome when the short production time is taken into account. Of course there are still some things that could be improved (voice actors would have been nice) and I would have liked to make it longer, but because of the deadline I managed to finish the project even if it wasn’t perfect.

The City
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