Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Prabhas, my Hero - Chatrapathi (Telugu, 2005)

Although it might be a little hard for me to actually kidnap Prabhas because he is twice my height and probably still pretty strong without his superhero movie powers I still have to try. 
Sorry to everyone beforehand because this post will probably look like that: Fangirly gushing about Prabhas, a little about the actual movie, fangirly swooning over Prabhas, some movie talk, packing my bags and take the first flight to Hyderabad, even less movie talking, find Prabhas´ house and camp around it and never go away until he takes pity on me and makes me his girlfriend because OMFG how awesome was this guy?!

He´s so awesome he can beat up a shark.
I saw this movie yesterday on youtube (here) and was completely blown away. Not only by
Mr. Manly-Man-Man's-Man-Man-About-Refugee-Village-Hero (courtesy Manturo from Bollywhat) but also by the cinematography, the songs, the sizzling chemistry between Prabhas and Shriya, the story etc. I should have expected it, anyway, since this is a S.S. Rajamouli movie and I really like his kind of filmmaking. These are not only drops of cinematic genius but whole buckets ful of superfreakin´ fantastic Tollywood-fun.  

Don´t understand me wrong, this is no Magadheera, the latest and best of Rajamouli´s films, it´s actually pretty bad by the present standards of today´s production values (shark fight?), but it´s so entertaining and fun and unapologetic about its own flaws that it works and how!

The story starts with a mother (Bhanupriya) and her two little sons, Shivaji and Ashok who live in Sri Lanka. Because Shivaji is not Bhanupriya´s real son but the son of her late husband by his first wife, Ashok is constantly jealous of his elder brother. Somehow understandably, since Shivaji is a selfless, helpful and considerate boy who worships his stepmother so much that he can´t even swear on her and in return he is the apple of her eye, much to the dislike of Ashok. One day, the little family has to flee from their home and Bhanupriya and Shivaji are seperated and due to a lie by Ashok Bhanupriya is led to believe that Shivaji is dead.

Everyone is devastated.
The three of them land in a village near Vizag Port. Here, the port is dominated by Baji Rao (Narendra Jha) and some goons using refugee labor for their own gain. One day, Baji Rao hurts a child and forbids his workers to help him which provokes Shivaji to finally stand up for himself and his co-refugees and kill Baji Rao. The people then start calling him "Chatrapathi", in reminiscence of the God Shiva whom people called Chatrapathi for defending the poor and helpless. Shivaji takes now the place of Baji Rao and tries to set up a new fair and just rule for the refugees.

The movie tries very hard to deliver a message in the first half which is (as I suppose) that people should rule for themselves and not be suppressed by a terroristic minority but fails to deliver this message in the second half because, as I saw it, Shivaji aka Chatrapathi wasn´t really a much better leader than Baji Rao and his likes. He didn´t hesitate for a moment in using threats, violence and even bombs to get what he wanted.

From Mr. Total-Cutie-Teddy Bear...
Throughout the second half I kept hoping that the movie would somehow concentrate on a theme about how power corrupts people no matter how noble and justified their goals are, but apparently that wasn´t the writers intention and the change in Shivaji´s character, which was only obvious to me, since everyone in the movie was completely okay with it, remained uncommented. Sadly, because that would have been even more interesting to watch.

...to Mafia-Don-Like-Badass. (But being drop-dead hot neverthelss.))
But social messages and comments on society are not really what Chatrapathi is about anyway. In its core it´s a story about a mother and her son. In all the 12 years that they are seperated, Shivaji never gives up on finding his mother, always hoping that one day he will see her again.

Shivaji and his ma in happier times.
All the supporting actors in the movie are pretty good and how relieving it was to have only one comedy sideplot which nevertheless failed to deliver to me completely because I haven´t seen even one of the movies that have been parodied here. Anyway, most of the comedy was delivered by the main characters, like, for example, the part in the beginning where Shivaji wants to make an application for his mother at Shriya´s office and she thinks he is making an indecent proposal to her is hilarious.
Shafi as Shivaji´s evil brother Ashok did a very good job to express the jealousy and hatred and his minority complex towards his elder brother. It was really heartbreaking to see Shivaji get betrayed of his mother´s love by Ashok over and over again. Bhanupriya was also good as the doting mother and the two villains were adequately cruel and vicious.

But the real hero (pun intented) here is Prabhas! Oh my, this guy rocks! He was SO good as Chatrapathi, from the shy and silent yet firm Shivaji in the first half to the strong, hardened and aggressive Chatrapathi in the second half. And (excuse the fangirly-ness) he looked so HOT during the whole thing!
I must admit, when I first saw Prabhas in Darling I was less than impressed and after seeing him in Mr. Perfect I seriously asked myself what is so special about this guy that so many people are going crazy over him? I just didn´t see it. And now I know why: Darling and Mr. Perfect are actually very unusual roles for Prabhas! He looks bored in them. He is the best when he gets all sweaty and dirty with blood, fighting bad guys. These urban, slick and modern characters just don´t fit him. He is a man´s man. From the street. And how I loved him like that!

Prabhas, my Hero.
I have to say, Prabhas was awesome in every part of the film. No matter if  he was fighting, screaming, yearning for his mother or romancing Shriya,  he convinced me in every scene. He was just great. His chemistry with Shriya was amazing, especially in the song Gundusoodhi where they are all over eachother, literally.

 Gundusoodhi, which must be one of the most cutest and sexy love songs ever.

It was my first movie with Shriya and from what I´ve heard and read she´s not necessarily everybody´s darling, but for me she was actually good. Her face is really expressive and she´s so pretty! I felt really sorry that she disappeared for the most part of the second half because her scenes with Prabhas were the most fun to watch.

Her entrance scene. So pretty!
So what makes Chatrapathi such a compelling watch? Is it the acting, which all of the actors deliver pretty well, is it the wonderful songs (except the one with Aarti Agarwal, what was that supposed to be about anyway!?), the action , the fighting, the blood and gore flying around? Was it the shark fighting scene, which must be one of the most Superfantastic-WTF-Tollywood-Moments-Of-All-Time, the superb cinematography which managed to capture the gritty and harsh world the characters all live in, Mumaith´s item number or the social message?

I think it is all of the above and more because how can you not like a movie that has all of the mentioned above and, as the icing on the cake, such a fantastic song going for it like this one:

Gala gala gala gala gajjalu thodikina grandha sangi..
nee kosame nenu vesukocha gala galla lungi..


  1. Yeah! Always happy to read another fangirly appreciation of Prabhas. Munna is more serious/bloody like Chatrapathi, but I'm partial to Bujiguddu and Pournami that have a mix of goofy Prabhas AND vengeful Prabhas.

  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shivaji

    Chatrapathi is a title of king Shivaji, not of God. It basically means emperor

  3. @Anonymous: Thank you for the information! It´s always nice to learn new stuff. Next time I will research better, I promise. :)

    @dustdevil: I certainly will check them out, because the more Prabhas, the better.;)

  4. I really like Chatrapathi too! The shark fight is so silly and yet so watchable. And Prabhas does excel in roles where can scare the bejaysus out of evil doers. Like Liz I also really like Pournami as it has a nice balance of menace and nice, and its unusually female-centric. The only films I have no desire to see again are Darling (despite the best efforts of the wardrobe department) and Mr Perfect. I think I've become too bloodthirsty since starting to watch Telugu films! Cheers, Temple

  5. @cinemachaat: Oh yes, the shark fight is the best part of the movie.
    And am I assuming right, your comment regarding Prabhas` "wardrobe" in Darling is meant ironically? ;)

    And you´re right, Darling was beyond boring and Mr. Perfect is only watchable because of Kajal and the songs.

    A female-centric Telugu movie? Oh, when will it be finally november so I can see this?

  6. i lykd prabhas in pournami soooooo much..
    n as u said he does'nt fit in to mr.perfect kind f roles...but
    i have to say dat kajal has done an excellnt work in the movie

  7. Hey Minu,

    I didn´t like Prabhas that much in Pournami, I must say. I am more the Varsham kind of girl.;)
    Mr. Perfect is an okay movie and I do think that Prabhas and Kajal have great chemistry but sadly the movies they played in are less than average. (I deny the fact that I ever watched Darling. Bäh, what a waste of time).
    Bye, Martha

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  10. Thanks for posting the prabhas information. His acting is superb. To find the Prabhas Latest photos and news.