NEWDELHI : However, director VV Vinayak makes no mistake with Khaidi No 150. Barring a few scenes and songs, the film is a frame-by-frame rendition of the Tamil version.
Much like its original, the film introduces Kaththi Seenu (Chiranjeevi), an inmate of a Kolkata prison, trying to escape from the cops. The director shows Seenu's prison number (150), pauses for a few seconds, and then reveals Megastar's face. This customary introduction scene sees a chest-thumping reception from the Telugu circuit; after all, they've been dying to see him for years.
As for the plot, a petty thief Kaththi Seenu discovers his badly wounded doppelganger Shankar (also Chiranjeevi) and decides to disguise himself as the latter to escape from the Kolkata police.
When the plot slowly unfolds, Seenu gets to know about Shankar, a hydrologist, who is fighting against a corporate tycoon Aggarwal (Tarun Arora). Aggarwal attempts to draw groundwater from the Neeruru village to further his business. He's also to be blamed for the many farmer suicides.
After learning the actual reason behind farmer suicides, Seenu and Aggarwal face off in this commercial yet socially relevant entertainer.
Apart from the mass moments in the film, what deserves a special mention is Murugadoss's writing. While rampant issues like farmer suicides barely make for front page news, films like Khaidi No 150 or Kaththi pokes the audience's conscience.
Films in this genre cater to a larger sect if it manages to deliver entertainment with a veiled social angle in it. In that sense, Khaidi No 150 is a win-win, even if the film is only about half as riveting compared to Chiranjeevi's Rudraveena (1988).
There's a superb portion where the director criticises the mainstream media for having failed to address issues like farmer suicide. Some of the scenes have been purposely written to target the masses.
Be it dialogue delivery or dancing, Chiranjeevi gives a stellar performance in dual roles. What's amusing about the actor is that even at 61, his age is hardly visible on screen.
His son and actor Ram Charan, who has also produced the film, has a guest appearance in the song Ammadu Let's Do Kummudu.
It goes without saying that Chiranjeevi's forte is dance and he's flexible with moves even after all these years. Ace comedians Ali and Brahmanandam provide the comic relief in Khaidi No 150.
Samantha played the female lead in the Tamil version, while Kajal Aggarwal plays the role in Telugu. Though it's almost necessary to have a heroine on board, we wonder why both the actors were cast in their respective projects.
One of the highlights of both the films is the coin fight scene. But the only difference is that while Vijay beat 80 goons to a pulp in Kaththi, the number is multiplied by 10 in its Telugu version. Because, Chiranjeevi.
Neil Nitin Mukesh gave a commendable performance as the antagonist in Kaththi. Unfortunately, Tarun Arora is too funny to be taken seriously here.
Khaidi No 150 has music by rockstar Devi Sri Prasad. The makers have retained a lot from the Tamil version. Khaidi No 150 would have been far better had Anirudh Ravichander composed the score for the Telugu version as well.
Inevitably, most of the background score brings back memories of Kaththi. Though most of the songs spoil the mood of the film, they are worth your time just because you get to watch Chiranjeevi dance.
With Khaidi No 150, Chiranjeevi has once again hit it out of the park and proven why he's the 'Mega Star' of Telugu cinema.