Bhola Shankar movie review (2023)
Meher Ramesh tests his luck and your patience both with this Telugu remake of Ajith-starrer Vedalam. The film that promises to be a commercial potboiler ends up seeming like a mishmash of three different stories. What’s worse is that all these stories are outdated at best and cringe-worthy at worst.
Shankar (Chiranjeevi) comes to Kolkata from Hyderabad with his sister Mahalakshmi aka Maha (Keerthy Suresh) to enroll her at an arts college. He takes up driving a taxi to make ends meet and comes across a criminal lawyer Lasya (Tamannaah Bhatia). Lasya’s brother Srikar (Sushanth A) falls for Maha even though she herself shares a love-hate relationship with Shankar. And while Meher is busy cracking jokes on Lasya, roping in Brahmanandam and Vennela Kishore to lighten the mood, et al, there’s something far more serious happening in Kolkata. You see, young girls around the city are getting kidnapped and thanks to corrupt cops, the law enforcement doesn’t have a clue on how to nab the mafia.
The film starts off by establishing Shankar as some naïve man who seems too good to be true. However, as the film progresses, we’re shown everything is not what it seems. And if you’ve seen any Indian film that idolises the hero, you already know where it’s all heading. It doesn’t help matters that the first half of the film veers between multiple tracks, with Meher struggling to juggle between showing something serious, cracking a joke and throwing in a duet song for good measure – because why not. The film doesn’t fare much better after the interval either, with the shoddy writing not doing much to hook you to the core of this film – the women who are being trafficked and Shankar’s relationship with Maha. Only some scenes towards the fag end of the film fare a little better.
Meher gives in to fan service, penning dialogues about Chiranjeevi’s stardom, which don’t always work. He also tries way too hard to tip his hat to Ram Charan or Pawan Kalyan. Sreemukhi and Rashmi Gautam are brought in just to be objectified and some of the former’s scenes with Chiranjeevi will make you recoil. There’s a lot going on in this film, but none of it seems to land. Mahati Swara Sagar’s music is subpar at best. Dudley’s cinematography, however, helps the film.
Bholaa Shankar suffers because the shift between the various portions of the film is jarring, not to mention, the writing needed a deft hand. Not even Chiranjeevi and Keerthy are enough to save the day.
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