Mahesh Babu’s milestone 25th film Maharshi, directed by Vamshi Paidipally, finally opened in theaters today after feverish expectations built up ever since the film was announced. Thanks to the extensive publicity campaign of the film, we all know by now that Mahesh plays Rishi, a character that has three phases - a college student, a successful business magnate and finally a farmer. He also goes through emotional transitions and realizes that life is not just about earning crores of money from professional success, but also standing up for one’s near and dear ones and their causes. It’s a ‘going back to the roots’ story catered to Mahesh Babu’s strong points and personality traits.
The film has a run time of close to 3 hours and has all the usual mainstream elements which accompany such star vehicles. After a strictly average first half, Maharshi comes into its own once Rishi returns to India from the US. He takes up the issues faced by a village, due to the involvement of his close friend Ravi (played very well by Allari Naresh) and makes sure that the farmers of the land gamely stand up to the commercial pressures posed by a corporate kingpin (Jagapati Babu). The farmers' angle will instantly connect with you as it’s a topical issue which has been haunting our nation since long. But some of the solutions that the film offers aren’t convincing!
Mahesh looks great as always; his styling sense and the way he carries himself on screen are impeccable. He looks mostly the same in all his films nowadays, and it works just fine for him and his adoring fans. He emotes well in the sentimental scenes and is rage personified in a key action sequence in the second half. Twins Ram - Laxman have become experts at choreographing emotional stunt scenes which work great in a packed theater with the hero’s fans whistling and hooting non-stop!
Maharshi has been perfectly packaged for Mahesh’s larger than life image, and his fans will love it. The film will definitely remind you of popular films such as Swades, 3 Idiots, Kaththi and the star’s own Srimanthudu. It’s a rehashed, repackaged version which scores very low on originality and novelty, but ultimately it all works out well. The film's final stretch is a definite highlight and shall leave the viewers content while walking out of the theater.
Though a couple of songs with Mahesh and gorgeous lead heroine Pooja Hegde are downright bad, the emotional ‘Idhe Kadha Nee Katha’ (the best of the lot), the farming number ‘Padara Padara’ & the college friendship song ‘Choti Choti Baatein’ work well on screen. Composer Devi Sri Prasad’s work passes muster when seen with the film. Editor Praveen KL passes the challenge of managing a close to 3 hour film; his presentation has enough highpoints to engage us despite lulls in the first half. Apart from Allari Naresh and Rao Ramesh, Prakash Raj to an extent, the other support actors don’t get much to play with.
Mahesh Babu seems to have struck a potent box office formula with Srimanthudu, Bharat Ane Nenu and now Maharshi. If his film provides commercial mass entertainment for his fans and the general audience, handles some social issues affecting the common man and is strong in sentiments, it invariably clicks. Maharshi ought to work out well for all the parties involved.