Bimbisara Movie Review: This time-travel story is helped by Kalyan Ram's towering performance
Bimbisara Movie Review: Kalyan Ram deserves kudos for not making the 'I am supercilious' mood look repetitive.
Cast: Kalyan Ram and others
Director: Vassishta Mallidi
Run-Time: 146 Minutes
In the first half an hour of 'Bimbisara', two elements threatened to put this reviewer off. A renowned doctor who is known for his impeccable credentials loses cool like a typical gangster from a second-rate commercial potboiler. He is the film's main villain and that makes the scene stick out like a sore thumb. If that was not enough, something even more embarrassing was shown later. A seductress pops up in the ancient-era portions of this time-travel fantasy drama to dance like a modern-day 'item' girl for three painful minutes. She clearly learned her familiar dance moves by travelling from the 5th Century AD to the 21st Century in a time machine.
But then, debutant director Vassishta's ambitious film is more than the sum of such flaws. The span of its story is impressive enough to keep us invested, especially in the weighty second half. Some of its plot points are undoubtedly dated, but the fantasy element is fleshed out enough to make us forget the occasional screenplay mistakes.
Bimbisara (Nandamuri Kalyan Ram) is an iron-fisted King who knows no mercy. His expansionism knows no bounds. He faces an ideological challenge from a sect of non-violent healers whose patriarch knows the greatest medicinal secrets. Bimbisara's adventurism gets out of hand and he has to pay for his sins. In an unexpected turn of events, the self-obsessed king is thrown into the busy streets of Hyderabad and it is year 2022. Bimbisara has to figure out his destiny and the renowned doctor we talked about in the first para collides with him head-on.
Vivan Bhatena's antagonist role was hidden from the audience ostensibly because the makers knew that the characterization is run-of-the-mill. It's to Kalyan Ram's credit that he single-handedly uplifts the action scenes. He shoulders the responsibility of making the action moments look majestic when unimaginative stunts fail him.
Kalyan Ram deserves kudos for not making the 'I am supercilious' mood look repetitive. His affecting performance makes us root for the little girl's track. Prakash Raj and a few other talented actors deserved better scenes, but the emotional quotient of the scenes works.
Catherine Tresa's character looks promising in the beginning, but she is soon reduced to a doll for 'O Tene Palakula' (which, by the way, is an enjoyable folk number). Samyuktha Menon, Brahmaji, and others have roles that don't make much impact. Confusion comedy involving talents like Chammak Chandra and Srinivas Reddy would have helped the film a great deal.
MM Keeravani's background score acquires the power to salvage quite a few stretches in the second half. He clings to his Baahubali formula and dishes out a score that Bimbisara's scale warrants. Chota K Naidu's cinematography is decent, while the VFX department seems to have faced constraints here and there.
Before you watch this movie, do keep in mind that this is not an epic war drama or something. It has those elementary socio-fantasy vibes, and sometimes, action is about hand-to-hand combats.
Check out the trailer below: