Jai (Pawan Kalyan) is a gangster who is loyal to a don, Bhagawan (Jackie Shroff). He feels indebted to Bhagawan and wants to remain as a shadow to his master. The reason behind this loyalty is that Bhagawan lifted him from streets and helped him avenge the injustice done to him in childhood. But how long and how far does the loyalty of Jai continue? Will Jai continue to be a shadow of Bhagawan and also to his sadistic son Munna (Sesh Adivi)? Will Jai heed to his master’s wishes and bear the sadism and activities of Munna? To find the answers to these questions, catch PANJAA on the big screen.
First things first, PANJAA is Pawan Kalyan’s movie. It has his stamp all over the film and no one in Telugu cinema could pull this kind of a story other than Pawan. He looked different in a beard bringing more intensity to his looks. He looked stylish though there were comments among the commoners that he looked jaded. Pawan put his soul into the character and that bore fruits in some scenes. As usual, his stunts were highlights and his dances in Paparayudu song enthused the frontbenchers.
Other than Pawan, it was Sesh Adivi who gets to hog the limelight as the sadistic Munna. He brought in believability to his character as the pampered son of a don. There is some kind of a wild streak to Sesh and he justifies his casting. Senior actors, Jackie Shroff and Tanikella Bharani justify their billing. But the biggest disappointment of Panjaa happen to be the main heroine, Sarah Jane Diaz who pulls the audience interest away from the film. She does not look the part as the love interest of the hero. A disappointing debut for her.
Director Vishnuvardhan who takes the credit for the story and screenplay has to be posed a lot of questions. Why did he end the entire story in the first half itself? Why did he simply make the hero to be a passive person in the second half depriving him to do anything other than dance to the tunes of Brahmanandam? Why did he choose to compromise over commercial elements when he could have spent that time in establishing the real chemistry between Jai and Bhagawan? What was the necessity of killing Ali’s character? What did he want to tell to the audience by introducing some forest brigand into the movie when it does not have any relevance to the main plot? Well these are too many questions and all these questions of mine are formed after watching the second half.
I was spell bound with the extra-ordinary first half but the second half is riddled with such mediocrity that it suddenly reminds of the self-imposed restrictions that Telugu cinema is not able to come out of. The story has semblances of Road To Peridition (English), Takshak (Hindi) and our own Athadu (Telugu). PANJAA too could have joined the ranks of these classics but it lacks the originality those movies had.
The film is a technical wonder with Cinematography by PS Vinod standing out. The background score by Yuvan Shankar Raja deserves a special mention, so does the action sequences by Sham Kaushal. The dialogues by Abburi Ravi proved to be meaningful but sadly the effect was not felt adequately.
All in all PANJAA proved to be another telugu film which is neither there nor here. In the name of commercial elements, the director diluted the story part and dished out a fare which does not connect to the audience fully, even if it does it is just bits and pieces. PANJAA could have been a classic but remained an average fare. If only did the director remained truthful to his story, the experience would have been out of the world. Alas, some things never change.