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Panjaa review: All style, no substance

Vishnu Vardhan
Pawan Kalyan, Sarah Jane Dias, Anjali Lavania, Adivi Sesh, Jackie Shroff, Atul Kulkarni
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At a time when Pawan Kalyan fans are passing through a feeling of a dismay, after the lukewarm response for Jalsa, this Vishnuvardhan film was supposed to enlivened their hopes with some hysterical publicity.

Let us see, what this much-talked about film Panjaa holds out for the audience, and whether the expectations touched the desired levels.

Bhagawan (Jackie Shroff), a dreaded villain grooms a teenager Jai (Pawan Kalyan) as his Man Friday, after the boy is orphaned.

As he grows up, he sticks to his loyalty towards his master. Sabhapati (Paruchuri Venkateshwar Rao) and Guru (Tanikella Bharani) part of the gang, advices Bhagwan about the do`s and don`ts whenever required.

Things begin to turn ugly in the Kolkota underworld, with the entry of Munna (Seshu), son of Bhagwan. A ruthless womanizer and a drug addict, he starts heckling his dad`s gang and tries to take over the same.

Munna tries to woo Jahnavi (Anjali Lavania), Jai`s friend. Unable to do so Munna is out to kill her, but gets killed by Jai in a bloody fight. Jai gives up his profession with the mafia and leaves Kolkata, and moves to a remote village in AP, to stay with his girlfriend Sandhya (Sarah Jane Dais).

Bhagwan, unable to digest his son`s death by his Man Friday, unleashes his men and he himself enters the game to kill his trusted lieutenant Jai. What happens next, forms the crux of the movie jaded with stunts, twists and turns.

Sporting a stylish beard, Pawan Kalyan looks apt for the role of a mafia man. The director fails to give Pawan Kalyan a strong identity other than that of being a Man Friday for a Don. Pawan Kalyan fails to thrill the audience with his stylish stunts, which are seen more as deliberate attempts, without any natural feel. His dances are an excuse, while his `Papa Rayudu` song comes as a silver lining.

Heroine Sarah Jane Dias is quite attractive and considering the fact that this is her debut film in Telugu, she is good, while Anjali Lavania is wasted.

Jackie Shroff as a gangster is adequate. Tanikella Bharani and Paruchuri Venkateshwar Rao hams. Atul Kularni, who forms a breakaway mafia group, is wasted with an abrupt start and end of the role.

Sheshu Adavi who plays Munna is more of a nuisance than a twist to the story. Brahmanandam appears in the second half to play his part to tickle the ribs of the audiences, but his business flops and fades each time he enters the scene. Ali as Chotu is merely wasted.

Director Vishnu Vardhan, known for his stylish movies, picked up a stale subject for Pawan Kalyan. At the same time, the narration and screenplay suffered from glitches, bringing Panjaa nearer to Pawan Kalyan`s earlier film Balu. In Balu too Pawan Kalyan played the right hand to a dreaded goon only to turn against him for the sake of a girl.

One can see lack of seriousness in editing. Despite having two hot girls as heroines, the element of romance is missing.

Music of Yuvan Shankar Raja and cinematography by PS Vinod are the saving graces. Dialogues by Abburi Ravi can be felt in certain scenes. Action by Shaam Kaushal is a letdown. Above all, the comedy department is utterly neglected.

Except for half an hour initially, the movie just rolls down like a Leviathan.

Verdict: Disappointing


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