Yevadu (2014)


It’s unfortunate that Yevadu didn’t get a cinema release in Melbourne earlier this year, as I think it would be a better watch on the big screen with a fan audience. Vamsi Paidipally’s film takes the central concept from John Woo’s Face Off as a basis for his story, but other than that it’s a fairly standard mass revenge saga with plenty of associated mayhem. Charan plays the wronged Sathya, initially out for his own revenge, but then drawn into a different battle. The ideas are good, but the execution is flawed and Yevadu is no place for any rational thought. However if mindless entertainment with plenty of fights and some great dancing is what you are after, then it could definitely fit the bill.

Yevadu starts off well with Allu Arjun in the role of Sathya and Kajal Aggarwal as his fiancée Deepthi, although it’s rather a long set-up for the main story. Deepthi has been chosen by local Vizag Don Veeru Bhai (Rahul Dev) as the latest object of his desire, and saying no is apparently not a viable option. Veeru relies on intimidation and kidnapping his victims rather than natural charm, and while Sathya is happy to take on Veeru Bhai and his gang, Deepthi is rather more sensible and persuades her fiancé that it would be safer to leave Vizag. However Veeru Bhai’s brother (an enthusiastically vicious Ajay) and his merry band of gangsters catch up with the couple and Satya is left to die on the burning bus after Deepthi is murdered in front of his eyes. It’s a fairly brutal beginning but it neatly establishes the character of Satya as an angry and potentially violent man, but also one who is passionate and prepared to do anything for Deepthi.

Miraculously, Satya manages to survive, but is so badly burned that the only hope for his survival is some rather drastic surgery. Fast forward a few months and Sathya is heavily bandaged but recovering in a hospital. The big reveal is that he has been given a new face – amazingly without any scars, and has also managed to acquire a new body and a different voice to go with his altered look. Sathya (now Ram Charan) hasn’t become any more rational or any less angry however, and he runs away from miracle worker/ surgeon Dr Sharada to find Veeru Bhai and make him pay for Deepthi’s murder.

This part of the film almost makes sense, if you ignore the dodgy medicine and coloured contact lenses.  Charan portrays the part of a driven killer with plenty of maniacal determination that naturally follows on from the perpetually angry Sathya of the opening scenes. Sathya has lost everything he ever cared about and the only thing that matters is killing the men who murdered Deepthi, so a certain amount of focused aggression works well. However no amount of cleverly constructed vengeful violence can disguise the massive plot holes or complete lack of plausibility in much of the story.  Sathya somehow finds a change of clothes after leaving the hospital, as well as his motorbike and a camera, long before he goes back to his old flat where he might conceivably have picked such things up. That is, if they were still there after his months of recovery in hospital –  rather a stretch since everyone thought Sathya was dead. Thankfully there is plenty of great dancing to distract from the flimsy story.

Sathya does what any self-respecting Telugu hero would do and goes about taking his systematic revenge. Along the way there is some comedy with Brahmi and a very out of place looking Amy Jackson, but neither of these makes much impression and both serve mainly as a distraction for Veeru Bhai and his gang. Rahul Dev does plenty of sneering and lusting after various women, but after his initial introduction he’s not particularly impressive as a gangster. His gang aren’t ever shown indulging in any typical gang-like activities either, and there is no particular menace associated with any of the heavies. Ajay even sheds his violent persona and becomes part of the comedy, which suits him just as well but also dilutes any sense of threat from the villains.

Everything follows a straightforward and suitably vengeful path until the interval, when Vamsi Paidipally attempts to justify the face transplant idea and Sathya suddenly comes under attack from a different gang of thugs. It’s a change in direction, but that’s all as the film doesn’t become any more plausible or less over-dramatic, and there are just as many plot holes and inconsistencies.

While the disjointedness of the film is  odd, the problem I have with Yevadu lies more in the characterisation of Sathya. The story would be more convincing if there was a greater difference between the personalities of Charan (the original owner of the face) and Sathya, and additionally if each stayed true to those personalities throughout.  Sathya’s cold, controlled fury and drive to eliminate Deepthi killers to the exclusion of all else  suits the initial story, but much of that drive and anger vanish in the second half. While a certain loss of focus can be explained by the lack of a personal connection, Sathya becomes softer and too much like the character portrayed by Charan in flashback. Equally, although the character of Charan starts off as possibly a more intellectual character, as the story unfolds and he gets involved in fighting against the takeover of an area by a gang of thugs, Charan becomes just as cold and angry as Sathya. Keeping the two personalities more separate could have enhanced the idea of a changed face while the personality was still the same, but as it is Charan and Sathya are so similar that the change in face is almost irrelevant.

The second storyline is even more predictable and clichéd than the revenge story of the first half, although Vamsi Paidipally tries to compensate by increasing the volume of the background music and by repeating every significant shot at least three times. Subbaraju, Shashank and Kota Srinivasa Rao bring their usual competence to the roles of the villains but there isn’t anything novel about either their plans to bring a community to its knees or Charan/Satha’s attempts to foil their plans. The second half also suffers from a clunky romance with Shruti Haasan, which feels shallow and contrived after the intensity and passion of the earlier romance between Sathya and Deepthi.

In spite of my reservations about the characterisation and the relatively predictable second half, Yevadu is still a film that entertains. It’s all much larger than life, but the action scenes are well done and Sathya’s inventive methods of revenge are excellent. The various villains are mainly comical rather than particularly intimidating, although some of the minions are nicely evil, while the excessive over dramatisation is just fun! If you can leave logic behind, embrace the absurdity, and revel in revenge then Yevadu could be the perfect masala watch. 3 stars.


We can now confidently state that at least in Melbourne fans of one star do not seem to watch the films of another star.  As we picked up our tickets for this week’s adventure without subtitles, we encountered more questions about whether we were in the right cinema, and concern that we were about to see a film that we wouldn’t understand.  This is despite being at the same cinema at the same time every time there is a new release. We did advise everyone that we knew there were no subtitles and that it was in Telugu.  They did seem reasssured when we were able to name the stars in Brindaavanam. So we were given our tickets and took our place in the theatre.

The film opens with a typical hero entrance by Tarak and an awesome fight scene which included some nifty bike moves.  Tarak, as Krish, is the son of a wealthy industrialist and lives a privileged life lacking for nothing.  He also has a girlfriend who is allegedly studying engineering but looks more like a fashion model in the form of Indu, played by Samantha.  For some reason she asks Krish to help her college friend Bhumi fend off an unwelcome suitor by pretending to be Bhumi’s boyfriend.  Now everyone knows this is a really bad idea, but perhaps she thought that her friend was too traditional to appeal to the sophisticated Krish.  It did seem strange that the two were friends, since they appeared quite different in their clothes and attitude, but perhaps this was explained in the dialogue. Or not.

Off our hero goes, leaving behind his fancy cars and superbikes to take a bus into the countryside. There was an opportunity for another fight scene using the bus as a weapon, which was great fun, and there were machetes galore to our amusement.

When they finally reach their destination, Brindaavanam, we find out that it is a beautiful house sumptuously decorated and furnished, but home to an unhappy family, divided and feuding with itself.  Krish resembles Krishna – flirting with the girls, alternately charming and infuriating the family members, pulling practical jokes, fighting, dancing and generally stirring up mischief while also righting wrongs.

Prakash Raj with the ‘Amrish Puri Eyeballs of Hate’ (TM PPCC) plays the head of one branch of the family, while Srihari heads up the other side.  Their father is the only one who can talk to both sides of the family as everyone else communicates by machete and there are many convoys of black jeeps travelling over the bridge between the two houses.

The wardrobe department excelled once again. There are two brothers who have an amazing array of psychedelic shiny shirts, possibly the left overs from Solomon in MAGADHEERA, worn in combination with clashing lunghis.  Venu Madhav plays another member of the family with the same bad taste in outer wear, while Krish has an impressive selection of T-shirts and stripey jumpers.

The set design is just stunning, especially the interiors. There is also a veritable Noah’s ark of animals featured including chickens, geese, cows, goats, a turtle and even rabbits!  We did have to pity the poor animal wrangler who obviously had instructions along the lines of – just get the goats to run through here in a diagonal line between the dancers.

The dancing is excellent, although there was a little too much of skanky skin show in the first number. The visual effects and editing in the song picturisations were impressive and really suited the music.  We liked the songs before seeing the film, and they improved on screen with the expected excellent choreography and brilliant dancing by Tarak.  We did particularly like the bouncing men in their over large straw hats in the Eyi Raja song, and the colourful Vachadura. The traditional appearance of NTR via special effects was used very well and provided a fun conclusion to the film.

The dialogue was obviously very amusing as the audience was laughing throughout the speeches, and we suspect that there were a lot of older filmi dialogues included.  The second half did drag a little as the story was reiterated a few times as the various characters found out about Krish’s charade, but there was some excellent emoting from Srihari and Prakash Raj to make up for this.  In fact, Prakash Raj got to balance his Eyeballs of Hate with his excellent Googly Eyes of Love. Ajay was in great fighting form as the crazy suitor, but once again was destined not to get Kajal as his bride.  Tarak gives a high energy performance, with his usual excellence in dancing and physical scenes.  Both female leads fit their characters well despite those characters lacking any depth. Prakash Raj and Srihari make the most of their roles as feuding brothers.  The action sequences, by Peter Hein with a special fight choreographer also credited, were awesome, with plenty of bodies exploding from the inevitable jeep convoys, and machetes in practically every scene.

This was a good all round entertainer of a film.  We enjoyed it, and the audience’s reaction to the appearance of Brahmi’s bald spot!  We give this film 4 stars!