It seems tomfoolery and anti-corruption campaigns go hand in hand in Mahesh Babu’s latest film. All set for an 11 January release, the trailer of Sarileru Neekevvaru (SN) was released Sunday at an event in Hyderabad attended by a staggering volume of fans who cheered and celebrated with homages to Mahesh Babu’s lifesize cut-outs which dotted the venue.
It is significant that this time Mahesh Babu’s romantic co-star Radhika Madan takes a backseat to the formidable veteran Vijayshanthi as she pairs with Mahesh Babu to fight ‘corruption’, as embodied in Prakash Raj. Prakash seems to take the villain’s vow to vitalize vileness into a viral epidemic.
The trailer has a split personality. In the first bit we see Mahesh Babu on a train fooling around with a love struck Radhika Madan whose expressions of adulation go from flattering to plainly lustful in just a few seconds. At one point she throws all caution to the winds and jumps on the startled Mahesh Babu as they both fall on the table. There’s a shot of the Superstar relaxing in a lungi in train compartment. Has he ever been captured in repose before? It looks like MB’s fans are in for a treat.
Then suddenly, like a New Year’s party being gate-crashed by Greta Thunberg, the masti ends and we have stridently conceived images of Mahesh and Vjayashanthi warning Prakash Raj to let go of his sleazy ways. It is refreshing to see a leading lady get such prominence in a Mahesh Babu starrer. Vijayashanthi simply kills it in her confrontational moments with Prakash Raj.
At one point she dares the villain to “touch” Mahesh Babu because, well, no one except the romantic lead, gets away with taking liberties with the superstar. This is all wolfwhistle-worthy, wordy and punch-filled taking on the fast-spreading disease of corruption with snide references to cabinet ministers who don’t know how to behave with women and educationists under siege.
Sarileru Neekevvaru looks like winner from the word go. The Pongal competition will have to up the ante and unleash an exceptional show to beat this. The trailer of Sarileru Neekevvaru is not a prelude. It is a clarion call.