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'Thoofan' - a wooden-faced hero in khaki (Telugu Movie Review)

By Haricharan Pudipeddi, Film: "Thoofan"; Cast: Ram Charan Teja, Priyanka Chopra, Sri Hari, Prakash Raj, Tanikella Bharani and Mahie Gill; Director: Apoorva Lakhia; Rating: *


Chisel a big log of wood in the form of a human being, more or less looking like Ram Charan Teja, and make it wear the khaki uniform. What do we get out of this exercise? Unfortunately, ACP Vijay Khanna, protagonist of "Thoofan", which gives Ram Gopal Varma's remake of "Sholay", a tough competition. Forget fans of the 1973 film "Zanjeer" and even Amitabh Bachchan fans - even for any regular cinema patron, "Thoofan" is like paying money to dig your own grave.

For starters, "Zanjeer" is not a bilingual film as claimed by its makers. Barring scenes involving Sri Hari, the rest of the film is so badly dubbed in Telugu for 140 minutes, that I felt like I was watching a Hindi dubbed version of a Telugu film on television.

"Thoofan" is proof to how not to remake a classic, especially one that features a superstar. The story of our 'angry wooden man' begins on a busy road where Vijay Khanna is seen beating members of a political party to pulp for obstructing traffic and creating nuisance. Onlookers cheer for him as the bad guys are taken away.

Cut to the next scene, a James Bond style opening song that makes Ram Charan look like a beefed-up cartoon character in a tuxedo.

Vijay Khanna is transferred for the 22nd time and as he takes up duty in his new station, he is forewarned by his superior. But, our hero is a superstar, and therefore, Apoorva Lakhia takes a leaf out Bollywood's rulebook and applies it to Vijay Khanna.

Ram Charan is no 'angry young man', but he is someone who still wants to score brownie points by showing life-size cut outs of his father Chiranjeevi, uncle Pawan Kalyan even in his Bollywood debut. That explains why he still lives off the popularity earned by his father over the years.

Even for those who haven't watched the original, "Thoofan" may turn out to be a boring experience. It need not be compared because by no standards the film deserves it. Firstly, it questions our faith in the original, and secondly, it never takes itself seriously as a film, then how could it possibly expect the same in return from the audience?

Director Apoorva Lakhia makes the film with the mindset of projecting Ram as a superstar even in Bollywood, but regrettably, he makes him look like a hero with a paralysed face that can't deliver a single expression worthy of appreciation. With his robotic body and expression, Ram Charan looks like a caricature in a cop flick that has more panache than logic.

Even with a talented cast of Prakash Raj, Priyanka Chopra and Mahie Gill, we are a bunch of unblessed souls to be let down. Prakash and Mahie were clowns of the first order in their roles. I feel sorry for Mahie, who was merely used to woo audiences with her cleavage. She has some of the worst lines that I wish no actress in the future should get.

Priyanka was unbearably annoying in her NRI role. The film could have been masterfully handled even without her role. But since Lakhia has sworn by the Bollywood rulebook, he used it to build nauseating romance sequences between Ram Charan and Priyanka. This whole romance episode begs for your attention and you eventually give in because you have spent money on it.

Sri Hari was the only saving grace in the entire film, but I wish his scenes were given a stronger purpose. He is limited to mouthing few dialogues in thick Hyderabadi Telugu accent and some stunt sequences.

"Thoofan" isn't even an experiment, but it displays the recklessness of Apoorva Lakhia, who desperately tries to make his film better than the original, but fails miserably.

--IANS (Posted on 07-09-2013)

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