Devudu Chesina Manushulu is a novel experiment in storytelling with an underlying twist that deals with what happens if the gods inadvertently interfere in the lives of people in this world. You are left with an uneasy apprehension: Can it happen that way? You will also be confronted with the question: Does divine intervention just a god-written screenplay of the lives of people? Didn’t William Shakespeare say, All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players?
The story opens with Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi Devi played by Brahmanandam and Kovai Sarala toying with the idea of making two orphans Ravi Teja in Hyderabad and Ileana in Bangkok meet and become man and wife. Then a banana peel thrown by Papayya (MS Narayana) becomes instrumental in Ravi Teja going to Bangkok ostensibly to settle an issue between cop Subbaraju and don Prakash Raj, but obviously falling in love with Ileana. The interval is greeted with an indecent proposal by Prakash Raj.
Post interval, Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi Devi rewrite the scenario. Now, Papayya doesn’t throw the banana peel. Still Subbaraju and Ravi Teja go to Bangkok to settle the issue with Prakash Raj. And there is Ileana. How these same characters play out a different deal with each other forms the rest of the story.
As is his wont, Ravi Teja executes his role with his customary roguish roughness while relentlessly unleashing unlimited bundles of energy. Ileana looks dashing and smashing and she does extremely well in a quirky role. Brahmanandam and Kovai Sarala radiate an aura with a pinch of earthy wisdom. Prakash Raj, as is his forte, excels in any role he plays; more so in this film as the don. Subbaraju is maturing as a fine actor and acquits himself well as a cop. Ali and MS Narayana take care of the rib-tickling function. Jyothi Rana is being typecast as the odd job to the baddie. Item girl Gabriela Bertante sizzles like burning coals on a winter night. All others do well in their limited roles.
Director Puri Jagannath took the precaution of warning all of us well in advance that there is no story in this film; though the credits for story, screenplay and dialogue are given to him. What he meant was a story that is normally associated with commercial cinema. But then he has a different story to tell and he does it with his now well known panache. The first half and the second half deal with the same characters but in different circumstances. The screenplay adds to the narration speed. The dialogues are as per the demands of the characters and the situation. They evoke mirth most of the time. Music is exhilarating and so is the choreography. Action sequences are nicely coordinated and executed. Cinematography is inspiring and enhances the narration values. Audiography is good. Production values are high.
Devudu Chesina Manushulu is a twin layered story, narrated with wit and humour, but surreptitiously raising some quintessential questions about the fundas of life. The film is just entertainment, no doubt, but as you masticate on the film, you can’t help being forced into reflecting on the slew of beliefs we have on the divine and our relationship with the world of gods. Puri comes out with his trademark cinematic entertainment, but the film itself provokes you into thinking…about destiny and fate!
However, cine buffs will compare this film by drawing a parallel with the 1998 British-American romantic comedy-drama film, Sliding Doors, written and directed by Peter Howitt, which itself is alleged to be a botched copy of the 1981 Polish film Blind Chance directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski.
OK, Devudu Chesina Manushulu is worthy of just one visit to the theater, nevertheless.
The Cast and Crew
Ravi Teja, Ileana, Prakash Raj, Brahmanandam, Ali, MS Narayana, Subbaraju, Kovai Sarala, Jyothi Rana, Fish Venkat and others
Music: Raghu Kunche
Choreography: Ajay Sai
Cinematography: Shyam K Naidu
Editing: SR Sekhar
Producer: BVSN Prasad
Banner: Sri Venkateswara Cine Chitra
Director: Puri Jagannath
2.75 out of 5
Review by Deen Kumar
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