I had almost abandoned plans of writing my take on this film but when I heard that Puri Jagannath and Mahesh Babu are probably all set to go on to make a sequel to Businessman going by the buoyant opening collections, I suddenly woke up and started writing this. I know that this write-up will neither have any impact on the decision regarding the sequel nor will it change the mindset of the Telugu audience at large, but at least I can sleep peacefully tonite .In the year 2006 Puri Jagannath and Mahesh Babu created magic with Pokiri, a film that created history in the annals of Telugu Cinema. So tremendous was the impact created by Pokiri that till now ( before Businessman ) Puri hasn’t managed to get a bigger success and even Mahesh Babu had to struggle before delivering a blockbuster recently-Dookudu.
Puri Jagannath has recently changed his style of working a little and this is apt illustrated by the fact that he completed Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap in just a few months, from conception to finish. So while he announced that Businessman would also be completed similarly in a few months it was met with skepticism since big hero Telugu movies are known to take ages to get completed. Also Mahesh Babu in particular is known to be very particular with how his film shapes out and hence his projects in the past have suffered from a lot of delays- Mahesh Khaleja is a good example to illustrate the same. However Puri and Mahesh did go on to keep up their word and completed Businessman in a few months to ensure that it made it to theatres for Sankranti. Just like Pongal is a big festive period for new releases in Tamil Nadu, it’s the same in case of Andhra Pradesh with respect to Sankranti.
Originally meant to release on 11th January, it finally released on 13th and got a one day head start over Venkatesh’s Bodyguard, which released the next day i.e 14th January. The show that I went for was in a multiplex (PVR Cinemas) but the housefull audience reminded me more of the single screen audience of A.P. So here I go with my thoughts on the film-
- If Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap begins with Puri thanking Amitabh Bachchan for doing the film, in Businessman you have Puri thanking RGV for providing inspiration to make the film . And then there’s a voice over which says that while the film is based in Mumbai most characters speak in Telugu for ‘our’ convenience. And I smiled, for it could go anywhere from here on.
- A film need not have a plot to bring in the audience and Businessman is ample proof of the same. What is the film all about? Mahesh Babu plays Vijay Surya who comes to Mumbai and slowly but smartly becomes Surya Bhai in record time. This is the time when the Mumbai Police Commissioner (Nasser) proudly announces that there is no underworld/mafia in the city anymore. But Surya is on a mission- a mission to revive the mafia and run it as a business entity.
- Being a film with a popular hero there has to be a romantic track as well and here Surya falls for Chitra (Kajal Aggarwal) and there are some tried and tested ways of developing the romance between them. Mahesh Babu/Surya keeps telling Kajal/Chitra that he loves her & she keeps telling him that she hates him. But the duets in exotic locales continue to happen. After all the music director Thaman.S needs to contribute too right?
- The film is being highlighted for its ‘unconventional plot’ and the dialogues. Sure the concept of wanting to corporatize crime/mafia sounds fine and the dialogues are razor sharp indeed. But what surprises you initially tends to get repetitive after a while as everybody seems to be forever angry in the film, especially Mahesh Babu.
- Having a superstar play the hero in your film is a great feeling for any producer and director. And if the actor happens to have an arresting screen presence it only makes the feeling even headier. Granted Mahesh Babu can hold our attention with his very presence and dialogue delivery but does that mean that you need to have him in more than 80 % of the total frames in the film?
- Getting a new face to play the role of the Heroine’s friend isn’t a bad idea at all. But the least that you can do is to ensure that you don’t get in someone who ends up actually irritating with her over the top acting and dialogue delivery.
Actors like Sayaji Shinde, Prakash Raj and Subbaraju continue getting typecast in Telugu Cinema. Businessman continues this tradition very successfully . What directors like Puri fail to understand is that there is no novelty factor to their films when the audience gets to see talented actors being used for doing repetitive stuff.
- A veteran Bollywood actor like Raza Murad gets a reasonably decent cameo in the film. But pray why have his voice dubbed by someone else when the character anyway is speaking mainly in Hindi in the film? I am particularly baffled about the same since we’ve always known Raza Murad for his rich baritone voice. Alas even the end credits do injustice to him by listing him as ‘Raj Murad’ instead of Raza Murad, so much for sensitivity.
- While the 1st half still keeps you going, you are holding your breath and hoping that the 2nd half actually will elevate the film. Nothing of that sort actually happens and you continue to get an overdose of the same thing. When Mahesh Babu actually tells Prakash Raj that this wasn’t really all about personal revenge, then you don’t know whether to applaud or laugh.
- Shweta Bhardwaj appears in an item number ‘We Want Bad Boys’ and that may be an attraction for the front bench audience. But with cleavage shots getting blurred anyways (and mind you this is an A rated film) even the fun is actually lost.
- Initially I felt happy that there was no unwanted comedy track as most Telugu films have multiple comedians in spite of the script not demanding it. But later on it dawned on me that when you have the hero hogging most of the screen time it wouldn’t have anyways been possible to have comedy stars in action.
- Brahmaji plays Mahesh Babu’s friend and features in most of the initial scenes only to fade away into the corner.
- When the edit credit rolls I can’t ignore the irony as Puri comes up with a message “thank you for watching the movie”. While this is usually there in all Puri Jagannath films, here it’s really ironical as the joke is definitely on us for witnessing this ‘grand spectacle’.
- What makes it even funnier is seeing Mahesh and Puri croon the Businessman theme as the end credits roll and you are faced with the barrage of punch dialogues all over again. Sample this –“if your target is 10 miles, aim for the 11th mile”.
- On a parting note I’d like to ask Puri and Jagan what was all the anger on screen for? :)
You might agree, disagree or plainly remain unaffected after reading this but nevertheless it would be fun to know your take on the movie and on my post as well.
As a parting note here’s a look at some of the “punch dialogues” from the film