Maestro Movie Review: This 'Andhadhun' remake is a mixed package

Updated on Sep 17, 2021 07:22 PM IST  |  195.4K
Maestro Movie Review
Maestro Movie Review: This 'Andhadhun' remake is a mixed package


Cast: Nithiin, Tamannaah Bhatia and others

Director: Merlapaka Gandhi

Rating: 2.5/5 

Just five or ten minutes into 'Maestro', it becomes clear as daylight that it's an excessively faithful remake of 'Andhadhun' (Hindi; 2018). The key characters are in Goa, not Hyderabad or Vizag, as is the case in Telugu movies. The conversations between Simran (Tamannaah Bhatia) and her husband Mohan (VK Naresh as a yesteryear matinee idol) hardly come across as slice-of-life dialogues between a Telugu acting veteran and his young wife. Even the beats of the tempestuous relationship between Arun (Nithiin) and Sophie (Nabha Natesh) are so Bollywoodian. 

While the backdrop looks somewhat unreasonable, the characterizations haven't been adapted or fleshed out to suit the native tastes. How about Arun being a bit loud, in tune with how the unsanitized Telugu movie hero is (Caution: Definitely not as loud as a Puri Jagannadh hero)?  How about the backdrop looking organic and not alien? How about the background music (by Mahati Swara Sagar) following a pattern of its own instead of mimicking the spirit of the original? These questions might have well been considered by writer-director Merlapaka Gandhi, but it's not clear why they were invariably answered only in a certain way.

Stories like 'Andhadhun' are not on the money in terms of a remake. You have to adapt them and not do an obedient retelling. This is no 'Kaththi' being remade as 'Khaidi No. 150'. This is no 'Thani Oruvan' that are you remaking as 'Dhruva'. Director Sriram Raghavan comes well-versed in a variety of genres, including the neo-noir. Telugu cinema, as an industry, has just started waking up to the immense possibilities of a dark comedy. As such, it is not surprising that 'Maestro' gets a lot of notes so wrong.

The turbulent nature of the screenplay needed better actors to help the last man connect with the proceedings. Casting Jisshu Sengupta for the role of Simran's paramour proves to be a luckless choice. He comes across as a regular bad guy from another part of India going through a lean patch because of the protagonist. This is a reason why his segment while being entertaining, doesn't quite suck you into the story. 

The very nature of the screenplay needed arresting performances. Nithiin and Tamannaah are good but not outstanding. Tabu in the original was versatile. Ayusshman Khurrana was soulful throughout, while Nithiin is not riveting throughout; he takes quite a long time to get into the skin of the character. Harsha Vardhan, the enfant terrible at the organ harvesting clinic, is good but not disgusting enough. 

There are contrived coincidences that have been retained from the Hindi original. The specific setup of the story doesn't quite make them look believable or plausible. 

For all its imperfections, 'Maestro' offers a new sub-genre of screenplay-writing for Telugu cinema in a small way. Our writers will now want to explore dark comedies, especially those that have crimes of passion at the core. Like in the recent 'Raja Raja Chora', no two characters have a stable or predictable relationship here. Deceit and betrayal are themes that add heft to 'Maestro'. Since it's a faithful remake, the portrayal of those elements is not stuck in a time warp. And that's welcome. 


Also Read: Priyuraalu Movie Review: A relationship drama whose rare sensibilities don't hind its flaws


User Avatar