Ghani Movie Review: This sports drama could have been more gripping
Thaman's adept background score can only help soar the drama so much.
Cast: Varun Tej, Saiee Manjrekar and others
Director: Kiran Korrapati
Run-Time: 150 minutes
In our sports-based multi-genre dramas, coaching is all about the trainer convincing the hero to maintain his calm and not get provoked by the opponent's cheap tricks. One wonders why our lead actors, who are born with innate skill at playing the sport, are never born with the ability to show restraint. As for the villains, they are not antagonists if they don't declare their evil motives, blurt out their plans and list out their sins in a way that renders them vulnerable. This itch to arrogantly talk about his sins, past, present and future, comes back to bite the villain in the climax of 'Ghani'.
Ghani (Varun Tej) wants to make it big in the world of boxing. His mother, however, wants him to do what is expected of a Telugu cinema hero: find a nice wife-to-be. She has spent 15 years of her life convincing him to stay away from boxing without ever managing to notice that her son hates someone he is not supposed to. The pointless plot point is milked to deliver a sentimental scene much later in the story.
Anyways, coming back to the story. Ghani crosses paths with Aadi (Naveen Chandra), a supercilious youngster who wants to become a perfect boxer before becoming a perfect businessman (!). But there are more important players in the story: Jagapathi Babu's Eshwar Nath, a crook whose character beats are partly derived from his 'Maharshi' and 'Nannaku Prematho' roles; Suniel Shetty and Upendra's characters.
Much as the story toys with elements like multi-billion rupee punting stakes, mega conspiracies in the field of sports, and bloated machinations, 'Ghani' thoroughly lacks intrigue, gravitas, and emotional surges. Thaman's adept background score can only help soar the drama so much. George C Williams' cinematography is effective, though.
The rivalries are steeped in familiarity. The negative characters make their cheapness obvious. They utter lines like 'You may be a champ in the ring but I am the champ in racing' as if the audience wouldn't be able to figure out things otherwise. Even when the titular character delivers shattering lines like 'I was so angry I would have killed him', you don't feel the punch. It's mainly because you know how all sports dramas with a unidimensional villain and a cliched hero pan out through and through.
The romantic track involving the hero and Saiee Manjrekar is inexcusably cliche-ridden. You can predict even some of the lines they utter in each other's presence. Nadhiya, who plays the hero's mother, doesn't look weathered at all. The actors look happier than they should, less enraged than they are supposed to, and less agonized than they should.
A shining positive is that the flashback is gripping. We empathize with Upendra's character. The Sandalwood star brings sincerity to the table like no other.