Johaar Movie Review – Commendable Attempt

Title: Johaar
Rating: 3/5
Reviewed By: Sai Nikhil
Cast: Chaitanya Krishna, Ankith Koyya, Esther Anil, Easwari Rao, Subhaleka Sudhakar, Naina Ganguly
Director: Teja Marni
Streaming on: Aha
Language: Telugu

Story: There are 5 parallel stories. The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Vijay Varma (Chaitanya Krishna) wants to build a 500 metre tall statue in memory of his father despite insufficient funds. Ganga (Easwari Rao), a lady belonging to economically weaker section in Srikakulam district loses her husband due to kidney failure and the same problem poses a threat to her daughter too. A couple, Siddhu (Ankith Koyya) and Jyothi (Esther Anil) run away from Varanasi to Rajahmundry to start a new life. An ex-soldier Bose (Subhaleka Sudhakar) runs a hostel in Rayalaseema for poor but enthusiastic boys who are willing to study. Bala (Naina Ganguly) is a circus artist and an aspiring athlete. She grabs the attention of a local athletic coach who agrees to train her. How are these five stories connected and what was the final outcome in each of these plots forms the story of Johaar.

Performances: Chaitanya Krishna is very apt in the role of chief minister but his limited screen time stops us from seeing more of him. Easwari Rao does neat job and shows her experience. The girl who played her daughter got a chance to speak some well written lines. Ankith Koyya is the surprise package of the film. He carries some charm and lights up the proceedings. Esther Anil is alright as his pair. Subhaleka Sudhakar does a fine job. Naina Ganguly is the weak link in the film. Her performance is okayish but her dubbing is a terrible misfit. Actress Rohini appears in an important cameo.

Technicalities: Jagadeesh Cheekati’s camerawork is fantastic and is a major plus point for the film. Be it the ghats of Varanasi or Uttharandhra coast or Rajahmundry riverbanks, he has captured them beautifully and added value to the film. Priyadarshan’s music is decent. The first song in Varanasi and the climax song are impactful. Rest of the songs don’t stand out. Background score is good. Editing is decent. Dialogues are neat and impressive.

Analysis: The story of the movie is pretty simple. How does the decision taken by a Chief Minister without much thought in an AC room affect the lives of common people forms the story. The statue concept in the film might remind us of a recent real-life event. Director Teja Marni can be appreciated for being brave enough to make a film on this theme and also extract good performances and technical output. Among the subplots, the Varanasi portions and the Srikakulam kidney issue featuring Easwari Rao are the strongest portions of the film. The plot involving the CM is also good but it could have been explored more as least attention and screen time is given to that portion. The Rayalaseema portion is passable but the Vizag portion featuring Naina Ganguly is the weakest part of the film and fails to build any kind of emotional connect. The first half an hour of the movie completely grabs our interest. From then on, the movie’s pace is uneven and has a combination of some well written scenes as well as weakly written scenes. The latter part of the film is a bit slow and tests our patience at times with a bit of melodrama adding to it. Climax is good and somewhat makes up for the preceding issues in screenplay. Despite some flaws, Johaar is an attempt worth appreciating.

On a whole: Johaar is a commendable attempt by a debut director. It can be surely given a shot for the important theme it deals with.

Rating: 3/5

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