Mahesh Babu’s latest outing Sarkaru Vaari Paata was a much-hyped flick that generated a lot of excitement given that it was a big theatrical release in the times of the pandemic. He teams up with director Parasuram, whose Geetha Govindam was a big hit in 2018, essaying the role of Mahesh whose life in the United States revolves around lending money. The director has tried to give Mahesh Babu a fresh new look and supposedly different kind of role in this film, but does he succeed?
As the movie begins, we get a glimpse of what young Mahesh’s childhood was like - it was traumatic as his parents died by suicide because they couldn’t pay back a bank loan of Rs 15,000 and this haunts him forever. He moves to the US where he starts moneylending as a business and his motive in the business is not just to lend money but to make sure that people pay back every penny. This is when he meets Kalaavathi (Keerthy Suresh) who, thanks to her gambling addiction, comes to him for a US$10,000 loan. He later discovers that she is the spoilt rich daughter of Rajendranath (Samuthirakani), a corrupt businessman in Visakhapatnam (Vizag), and heads there to recoup his loan.
The movie revolves around money and loans - meagre loans that the middle class struggles to repay and is harassed for by banks while thousands of crores are siphoned off by rich corrupt industrialists who get away with it.
The first half of the film takes place in Miami, where Mahi Finance Corporation is based, and we are presented with colourful beautiful scenes and song-and-dance romance sequences between Mahi and Kalaavathi.
The 'Kalaavathi' song (already a hit) is a treat to watch. Of course, there are fight sequences thrown in as well to prove that Mahi is not just a pretty boy. And humour, too, in the form of his friend and colleague, Kishore, played by Vennela Kishore.
The movie then shifts to Vizag, and this is where it starts to really weigh us down. The constant serious lectures from Mahi about people suffering because of their inability to repay loans and the poorly written confrontation scenes with Rajendranath, a character that we have seen in innumerable films, doesn’t engage the audience. In some of Mahesh Babu’s earlier films, too, he has played the American-returned hero where he comes back to do good for the community and this time round, it is to ‘save’ people like Rajendranath.
Sarkaru Vaari Paata may have touched upon a theme that makes headlines nearly every day, but the execution unfortunately is flawed. Director Parasuram has tried to include all the elements a big star’s fans would want - fights, romance, sappy dialogues like ‘it’s a boy thing’ and a stylish makeover for Mahesh Babu as well. But the writing took a beating in all this. Keerthy Suresh doesn’t have too much to do in the film other than to borrow the initial US$10,000 which sets off the rest of the movie. Samuthirakani’s role is weak as well - he is just a rich man who looks fierce but doesn’t do much otherwise. There are many characters that make brief appearances, like Brahmaji, Ravi Prakash and Ajay, which seem unnecessary to drive home the theme of the film. The music by Thaman and cinematography by Madhi are a plus for the movie.
This movie is a complete commercial outing that panders totally to Mahesh Babu fans.Sarkaru Vaari Paata released in theatres on May 12, 2022.