Monday, November 7, 2011

Because Bunny In Leather Straps And Nothing Else Is Always A Good Idea - Badrinath (Telugu, 2011)

"It´s Badrinath everywhere, whether I open or close my eyes/
It´s Badrinath at dawn and when I wake up/
Badrinath fills my dreams and my thoughts/
It´s Badrinath in me/ It´s Badrinath with me/
Long live Badrinath!" 

After what seemed like years of waiting, I finally got the Badrinath DVD. I have one question: Can someone please tell me when it´s mere liking and when it turns to completely addicted obsession? Is it when you have seen the movie thrice within two days? (Not counting the innummerous times when you´ve watched only your favourite scenes). Or that the soundtrack is playing endlessly on your labtop and that you already know the lyrics by heart? (I have also managed to break several of my bones by trying some of Bunny´s normal-human-body-defying dance moves. But it was worth it!) Or that you´ve literally screencapped almost every shot of the movie? Naah, I don´t think I´m obsessed...

It´s not my fault, anyway, because Badrinath is extremely entertaining. If you have great songs which are beautifully choreographed, beautiful locations, beautiful people, beautiful action scenes, Prakash Raj literally floating, a comedy subplot that is so annoying that I fastforwarded almost all of it (as much as I love the silly comedy subplots which are almost always completely unneccessary in Telugu movies, here it was just beyond irritating), close-up shots of the villain-ki-ma´s Evil Eyes, a really messed up story and Allu Arjun going Conan on you (which I loved, after all I wasn´t one of the few people who were shedding oceans of tears when Khal Drogo died in Game Of Thrones for nothing), you know you have made something right.

If you believe it or not, that´s mostly it. The movie´s story is really nothing someone can brag about because it´s just awesomely screwed up. It literally comes down to your usual "Praju-The-Evil-Dad-Not-Wanting-Hero/Heroine-To-Marry-His/Her-Lover-Cause-Of-Abandonment-Issues" but it gets completely wasted because the conflict... is not a conflict. It simply doesn´t exist because Allu Arjun aka Badri aka The-Superhot-Temple-Guardian/Conan doesn´t want to marry anyone. In none of the almost three hours of the movie I got the feeling that Badri is in love with Tamannah´s character, Alakananda. She was in love with him, for sure, after all she was literally throwing herself at him (which I find completely comprehensible, I mean, which girl with even only a little common sense in her wouldn´t?) but Badri? This guy had no feelings for her whatsoever. I put the blame on the script which gave Alakananda a lot of chances to display her inner hormones but gave no space to Badri to explore his potential inner conflict of love vs. duty. (But I blame Bunny, too, nevertheless, who could have at least thrown in some wistful glances or something). So, sadly, the movie that had enough potential for a really epic (possibly tragic) love story, contents itself with steamy songs and leaves everything else to the viewer´s imagination.
She certainly did try.
But the real love story here - like so often - is pure, unapologetical "Guy Love":
"Aaw... You just slaughtered some men in the most brutal way possible! I am so proud!"
That not being bad enough, the ending shows that the characters have learned completely NOTHING from their supposed conflict, because what is Praju asking of Tamannah in the last line of the film? That she gives him her first son with Badri so the entire story can be repeated again! And she agrees! Major WTF!? Obviously, NO ONE bothered to read the script.

But since when was the movie plot a Telugu Movie´s most prominent draw-in? After all, the real fun lies in the visuals and Badrinath is really a feast for the eyes. From the gergeous Badrinath Temple on the feet of the Himalaya to the magical waterfall which I believe has been put in the movie only to have an excuse to get Bunny and Tamannah wet at some point, Badrinath did not save money on the location budget and it definitely shows.

Another BIG plus point: the songs. I didn´t like them much on first hearing but they definitely have grown on me since because every one of them is above all a display for two things: Tamannah´s tummy and Allu Arjun´s now infamous dancing skills. Which is always awesome. One song even has Bunny breaking the fourth wall and asking the choreographer to give him some new moves. (I would suggest the one step of "Chinnadho" in Brindavanam which looked so incredibly difficult that even Tarak, who in my world comes right after Bunny when it comes to who is The-King-Of-The-Dance, couldn´t pull off convincingly just for the simple pleasure to see if Bunny COULD do it, but apparently nobody thought of asking me... *sniff*). I mean, HOW COOL IS THAT?

I can´t decide which of the songs is my favourite because they all are so awesomely choreographed and picturised, but when put against a wall, I would say it´s "Omkareswari" because it has a sublime opening, the sets are amazing (I especially love the costumes of the background dancers and the uberhuge drums) and the Badrinath Temple is just So. Beautiful. No, really, I fell in love with that temple. It is definitely on my list of Buildings-I-Have-To-Visit-Once-I-Go-To-India.

Besides, I always say that if you´ve never seen a Telugu Dance Number before with its huge and luxuriant sets, the numerous background dancers and THE DANCING you are missing out and "Omkareswari" is the perfect example for that.

Arjun and Tamannah have very good chemistry in the songs (which makes me even more sad that their love story is... well... non-existing) and for once Bunny looks like he´s actually enjoying dancing with the heroine. Coming from that Tamannah is a pretty good dancer, that´s no surprise but nice to see nevertheless.
They also look pretty good.
Another definite plus are the action scenes. I am no great expert at fight scenes, but they for sure look really good. I also don´t mind  some body pieces flying around, after seeing all of the historical series that came up in the recent years and being a great fan of horror movies, too, I am pretty hardened when it comes to blood and gore so that was okay with me. Arjun does deliver some great sword-fighting-stunts, the movie definitely lives from his fight abilities and Praju making some weird movements that always remind me of Obi Wan Kenobi manipulating the Imperial stormtroopers in Alderaan with the Force (OMG! I just made a Star Wars reference! Coool... *Going off, to celebrate it by swinging her lightsaber*) can never be wrong.

Some villains just never learn...
...that if  you wanna mess with Allu Arjun... better run fast.
(That´s exactly my face during this scene)...
...Once and for all: NO ONE messes with The Bunny.
Have I forgotten something? Oh right, the acting! Well, it´s no wonder I almost forgot that, since as with the story there is not much to talk about. Arjun delivers pretty well, his main tasks being fighting and dancing, so he´s actually really good. Tamannah started off really promising, as a girl with an own mind and her own opinions, I already started having true-grounded hopes for her character (the way she disgarded her... wait, WHO was that? Her... aunt? (Sigh, I somehow never really get very far through the relationships of characters in Telugu movies but Mom-Dad-Friends), so let´s just say: the way she disgarded the Villain´s Mother, was pretty cool but shortly after she got slapped by Badri and falling in love with him because of that (I hate you, Telugu Movie Device of slapping the heroine) she turned into your typical Southie-Heroine who has nothing else to do but to sit around in pretty clothes and imagining songs with Allu Arjun (not that that´s a bad thing) but a little more initiative on her side would have been appreciated. Praju is always great, I think that has not even to be mentioned, even as a mix of an Indian Guru and Santa Clause, Brahmi never annoyed me as much as here and the Villain...S (they are a family) are all adequately evil, malicious and pretty silly. Oh how I wish I could play an Evil Filmi Ma once! All the things I could do...

The Villain... and her son.
Her Crazy Eyes, which were so creepy that the director thought he has to put extra attention to them.
Allu Arjun looking weirdly like Will Smith.
Tamannah looking her usual beautiful self.
The Villain´s husband. Who was a pretty old romantic with his "I-Don´t-Interfer-In-Love-Affairs-But-Killing-For-Every-Other-Reason-Is-Okay"-Morals.
I think the combination of these three things, songs, fights and visuals make Badrinath a real treat. The film had a huge budget and used everything of it shamelessly, so no matter what silliness is displaying on the screen, it sure does look good. Allu Arjun is showing once again that he should make way more movies and that Tamannah should make other movies and that Geetha Arts has a way of making addictive movies. (It happened with Magadheera, too! Someone help me!) Anyway, Badrinath was not made to make you think, it was made to entertain and - Oh My Holy Bunny - it does!

P.S. In my never-ending obsession I found this video: Not only does it satisfy a lot of your occasional Bunny-Craving but at 7:03 min Bunny shows that he is a nice and considerate Bunny who does not mind being objectified over and over again because he knows exactly what his (female) fans want: 

My favourite moment is at 7:17 when he waves his head a little and then turns away. I always imagine him thinking: "Chest bare enough? OK, then we are ready to go!" :D 
But seriously, go and see the whole Making Of, it´s pretty interesting and shows the effort that was made into this movie. And there are other awesome little Bunny-moments, too, like for example displays of his hyena-like laugh and his actually very effeminate and high voice which makes me laugh so much everytime I hear it.

P.P.S. I always wondered why Tamannah´s face is hidden during her initial entrance scene in "Omkareswari". I thought its´pretty stupid to let her leave her glasses on and a scarf around her head because what point does an entrance scene have if you cannot see the heroine´s face? And then I figured it out: This is NOT Tamannah´s entrance scene! Her REAL entrance comes after the song "Nachavuraa" when she´s fallen in love with Badri and finally behaving like a PROPER heroine, that is giving up all her beliefs and dressing like a nice, indian girl. Be Gone, Miniskirts and tummyfree tops! I am Mrs. Badri now! I never have seen a more sexistic and regressive transition of a heroine before.


  1. Oh god, so this movie basically sells only because of Bunny's star power? I was so hoping they would move out of the box and actually provide a good script and characters. *sigh* Guess I'll just watch the songs then, because no star (no matter how much I love them) is worth sitting through a long, boring and offending story (I hate heroine slapping with a burning passion!!). I'm even more sad because I really started liking Tamanna and was looking forward to seeing her in a movie with Bunny :( Great review, by the way. Enjoy your obsession and watch it instead of me too... doesn't look like I'll be giving it a chance anytime soon (if ever) :p

  2. need some more story in this movie arjun did his best in all departments

  3. @Remini: Awww... It´s not that bad. It´s true, the story is REALLY messed up but still entertaining to watch, you know, in this OTT-WTF?!-Telugu-kind of Style.

    The only parts that were really... well, horrible, were the comedy subplots. They had absolutely nothing to do with the story and there were simply too many of them. It seemed like every Telugu comedian was in that movie and was given an own story. Ugh, no thank you.
    But since you can ffw it, it doesn´t bother me much.

    And yeah, Tamannah. I understand why she wanted to do that role, you know, the film being a HUGE production and being starred opposite Allu Arjun, but I hope she doesn´t let that become a habit and continues to make GOOD movies where her role is more substantial and where she actually gets something to do. Like in 100% Love, for example. Have you seen that one? I think it is a nice little movie and Tamannah´s acting is very good, too.

  4. Umm, I'm not really patient when it comes to OTTness in Telugu-Tamil movies. Mostly, when the movie is entertaining and it gets lost in the story, I can tolerate it. But otherwise, I don't bother with such movies. And I hate it when the comedians are given a parallel story in the script. Like, what the hell? Who goes to the movies to watch THEM instead of the hero?? >:(

    Oh, I saw 100% Love and developed a HUGE girlcrush on Tamannaa. Man, she was perfect!! :D I've since seen Paiyaa and Ayan and she never let me down, although I found the second very meh :p She's so expressive, I love that about her.

  5. ^Well, if you don´t like it, then you don´t like it. :)

    But you´re right about Tamannah. I really like her, too. I think she is the only one from the current top-actresses in SI who has enough acting range to stem a film on her own. I would so like to see a heroine centric film with her!