Film: Paisa Vasool
Director: Puri Jagannadh
Cast: Nandamuri Balakrishna, Shriya Saran, Vikramjeet Virk, Kyra Dutt and Kabir Bedi
When you walk out of Paisa Vasool, you wonder how long Puri Jagannadh will continue to fool audiences with similar kind of films. His last few films including Jr NTR’s Temper, which had a decent run at the box office, have followed a routine format, and by which I mean, a structure of storytelling that we are so used to, we can easily predict how the film will end. And his latest outing Paisa Vasool is no different except Nandamuri Balakrishna’s drama-heavy performance is so much fun to watch on screen. He saves the film from turning into an insipid experience.
If you have watched Puri’s films, you should know that his lead characters always try to divert us with their actions. For instance, nobody would’ve guessed Mahesh Babu played an undercover cop throughout Pokkiri until it was revealed in the climax. Such twists worked wonders a decade ago but not anymore because audiences are so used to the narrative style, especially in Puri’s films, there is just no shock value. Paisa Vasool is no different in its predictable twist, but its only saving grace is Nandamuri Balakrishna in a never-seen-before avatar.
Nandamuri Balakrishna entertains like never before in Paisa Vasool.
He plays Tedha Singh, a cab driver in Portugal, who is no less than a rogue. If you’ve followed the star culture in southern filmdom, you need to realise our stars can’t be portrayed in such poor taste on screen. If you were slightly surprised to see Balakrishna playing an eccentric character, singing ‘mama, ek peg lao’ in the trailer and worried about his image, it’s justified with a twist, though slightly predictable. But what really makes Paisa Vasool stand out, despite its flaws, is Balakrishna’s comic characterization which is a refreshing departure from his larger-than-life heroic onscreen persona. He still mouths punch lines and dances to item numbers, but his character is livelier and more entertaining than ever.
Like most of his recent films, Puri’s Paisa Vasool is violent and loud. The action can be fathomed but one still can’t understand the director’s obsession for loud presentation, which started with Temper and doesn’t seem to stop anytime soon. Balakrishna, at 57, can still deliver a whistle-worthy performance and he can still give young actors a run for their money with his dance moves.
Puri’s fascination for mafia continues in Paisa Vasool, and the whole story is about the invisible character called Bob Marley, a dreaded mafia don. Some action sequences, especially a car chase featuring Balakrishna, are exquisitely shot. Balakrishna, in his effervescent self, mouth dialogues with gusto, and it’s a treat to watch him in a mad avatar. If his histrionics can keep you entertained till the end, you might not regret Paisa Vasool, which otherwise is a tedious watch.
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