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As far as I can tell, the plot of Allu Arjun’s new movie Julayi is as follows. Allu Arjun plays Ravi, a regular middle-class guy who is hanging out with friends at a pub when the pub is raided by police based on an anonymous tip. However, because has exceptional observation and deduction skills (dare I say, Sherlock Holmes-esque?) he realizes the raid is just a distraction called in by the people who gave him a lift to the pub, and who are in fact bank robbers. Sonu Sood (one of the only men in the world who looks good in skinny jeans) plays Bittu, the leader of the bank robbing gang, and the kind of badass who goes to rob a bank wearing an elegant pair of driving moccasins. Ravi, working with the police, ends up killing Bittu’s brother, and capturing Bittu himself, while the stolen money seems to go up in smoke. The rest of the movie concerns Bittu’s attempts to get revenge on Ravi while at the same time trying to get out of the country, while Ravi and the police try to protect the former’s loved ones and to prevent Bittu from escaping the country. A romantic subplot is provided by Ileana, playing Madhu, who coincidentally works at a travel agency managed by one of Bittu’s associates.

I appreciated what writer/director Trivikram Srinivas seemed to be trying to do in terms of making Julayi a bit different from your standard Telugu masala. So for example, instead of getting a typical hero’s entrance, when we first see Allu Arjun he is on his family’s terrace bringing in the laundry as it starts to rain. And I liked that the bad guy was a bank robber instead of your typical corrupt politician/businessman or run of the mill goonda. I also thought that the cinematography and action sequences in the first half looked less like the usual masala style and more ‘modern’ and ‘realistic’ for lack of a better way to describe the difference. Unfortunately the director couldn’t resist the urge to put a ridonkulous car chase sequence right before the interval.

Post-interval the film suffers from a slackened pace as Trivikram doesn’t take advantage of the potential for great action sequences made possible by the movie’s premise, although there is a scene set in a neighbourhood where carpets are being woven, so that the air is full of white fluff, that is at least somewhat visually interesting. In addition, Ileana’s Madhu starts out as nerdy, with glasses and braces and dressed in a dowdy shalwar kameez. However, even though Ravi seems to like her just fine in her nerdy avatar, she still undergoes a ‘makeover’ almost immediately, which I found really disappointing – nerdy girls deserve love too! Still, it’s not all bad – I liked that Bittu had a henchwoman who was shown to be deaf, but still as badass as he was – breaking him out of police custody with one well-aimed shotgun blast, etc. And, most importantly, the songs were great – colourful and fun with lots of excellent dancing by Allu Arjun – because in the end isn’t that why we go see his movies, even though unsubtitled, in the theatre? To see him dance on the big screen?

Images via Telugucinemasite.com

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