Telugu actor Ventakesh's new movie "Shadow", which was released on Friday (27 April), has disappointed film critics with a mundane run of the mill revenge story.
After the super success of Venkatesh-Mahesh Babu multi-starrer "Seethama Vaikitlo Sirimalle Chettu", the senior actor's "Shadow" generated a lot of curiosity among his fans. Venkatesh, who enjoys the support of family audience worldwide, has starred in this out and out action movie that has all the ingredients of a commercial film.
The actor's stylish look in the movie's posters was much talked about and some even compared it to his look in the 1996 super hit film "Dharma Chakram." Despite creating much hype, the film has failed to live up to the expectations due to a storyline that lacks substance.
Directed by Meher Ramesh, "Shadow" features Taapsee Pannu and Madhurima as female leads. The rest of the cast include Srikanth, Aditya Pancholi, M S Narayana, Jaya Prakash Reddy, Nassar, Naga Babu and Adithya Menon in supporting roles.
Storyline: Raja Ram's (Venkatesh) father Raghu Ram (Naga Babu) and his other family members are murdered by Mumbai-based don Nana Bhai (Aditya Pancholi) and his gang members. Raja Ram is raised by Baba (Nasser) and when he grows up he vows to take revenge on the killers. He takes the identity of "shadow" and joins hands with cop Prathap (Srikanth) to hunt down every member of Nana Bhai's gang.
It is a one man show by Venkatesh. He dances, fights and delivers punch dialogues that would make his fans happy. Taapsee has very less scope to perform, while other actors have done justice to their roles. But, "Shadow" lacks substance which is one of the significant reasons why the director has failed to impress the critics.
Here is what the critics have to say.
According to Karthik Pasupulate of The Times of India, "The filmmakers, we're afraid, sold us a dummy in the garb of a "stylish revenge drama." Besides Venky's hooded long coats, Taapsee Pannu's micro minis (skirts and wraparounds) there is hardly anything that qualifies to be called stylish, unless of course you want to add wide-angled montages of some picturesque sights of Malaysia, which has become the official head quarters of Tollywood's underworld dons."
"The most entertaining part of the movie is the comedy track involving MS Narayana who plays Psycho Srinivas, a "post mortem specialist". Venkatesh, tries hard to breathe life into a character that seems like a throwback to his Satruvu days. At over 50, perhaps he's gotten a little old to get away with this kind of juvenile stuff now."
Sangeetha Devi Dundoo of The Hindu said, "The problem with Shadow is not merely in the been-there-done-that kind of a story. Many mainstream films follow that path anyway. Pack in a few stunts, songs and comedy and you have a staple formula that ensures a decent opening at the box office."
"Director Meher Ramesh probably wanted to make a film high on style, where the action sequences are on par with Hollywood films. So we get to see a large number of people clad in hooded leather jackets walking with a swagger and all of them captured, at least once in 30 minutes, in silhouettes as if to remind you of the title. By the time you are halfway through the film, you lose count of the number of people killed, the number of bullets used and the limbs broken."
Sumana Chandragiri of Telugucinema.com said, "With a storyline as thin as wafer or may be thinner than that, Shadow is nothing but black shadow that really does not have any substance. A seasoned actor like Venkatesh should have thought at least once before acting in a film like this. Well I do not blame Venky much here. What can he do if he is given bad direction and horrible story?"
"The film has its elements like grand locations, high production values, but the main ingredient in this dish is missing, which is a good storyline and engrossing direction. Comedy should have come as a relief, but here it irritates to no end."
According to Indiaglitz.com, "As one watches the first five minutes of 'Shadow' two things become clear in no time. That it is going to be a revenge story; that the hero will save the country. Since one was not watching a Sreenu Vaitla film, it might become somewhat difficult to predict the pride of place MS will come to occupy as Psycho Seenu."
"It goes to show the paltry amount of conviction that our directors have in their wafer-thin story lines when they bank on the same bunch of comedians, who are conned and victimized by the omnipotent hero. It looked a terrific mix of massy heroism and situational comedy in 'Dookudu', the way our directors/writers are allowing themselves to be deluded into thinking that the audience can be taken for a ride by presenting old wine in a snazzy bottle, leaves a sore taste in mouth."