Konda Polam Movie Review: A jungle-based drama whose staging is hardly spectacular

Updated on Oct 09, 2021 01:49 AM IST  |  64.5K
   
Konda Polam Movie Review: A jungle-based drama whose staging is hardly spectacular
Konda Polam Movie Review: A jungle-based drama whose staging is hardly spectacular
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Title: Konda Polam
Cast: Vaisshnav Tej, Rakul Preet Singh and others
Director: Krish Jagarlamudi
Rating: 2.5/5

In a film industry where movies based on novels are rare to come by, 'Konda Polam' is based on a Telugu-language novel written by Sannapureddy Venkata Rami Reddy. Now, its biggest strengths are its believable premise and slice-of-life characterizations. Kataru Ravindra Yadav (second-time actor Vaisshnav Tej, who is in fine form after delivering a blockbuster with 'Uppena' earlier this year) is motivated by self-interest when he takes to shepherding the lambs owned his father (Sai Chand, who moves you to tears in a heart-rending moment in the second half) in the Nallamalla area in Rayalaseema. Ravindra believes that if he helps a hundred lambs fetch water in the time of a major drought, he will certainly land a good job in the city because of accumulated good karma. As destiny would have it, he realizes that his life is entwined with the forest. 

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While the film is set in the Nallamalla forest area as per the story, it was shot in the Anantagiri Hills at the height of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic last year in all of 45 days. Director Krish Jagarlamudi and his technical team (cinematographer VS Gnana Shekar in the main) deserve appreciation for trying something that most filmmakers would avoid for a variety of reasons. You can accuse Krish of anything, but one has to appreciate that the emotional arc of his movies feel complete. It held true for 'Gamyam' and 'Kanche', while the 'NTR' biopic movies were in a different league. 

While the novel provides a strong premise, the film fails to shake off the literary feel. Films that don't come with a neutral slang shouldn't take too long to acquaint the audience with the language. 'Love Story' was good at sucking the audience into the world of its lead characters despite them speaking in a specific slang. 'Konda Polam', on the other hand, seems to have an unending stream of staged conversations that feel like elaborate stage plays. 

The romantic track should have felt organic. Instead, Obulamma (Rakul Preet Singh) behaves as though she has been tasked to school the male protagonist. This is not plastic like those village tourism movies where it falls on the hero to introduce the heroine to his village's pastoral/green environment. At the same time, it feels somewhat synthetic, especially because Obulamma is unique to the film, not the novel on which the film is based. 

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The film doesn't have a durable conflict plot point. The screenplay is stuffed with everyday conversations between the shepherds (from the hero-heroine duo to the father and the supporting character played by Ravi Prakash). Mahesh Vitta, Hema and others were needed but the casting could have been better here. 

The forest-based film is way better than Rana Daggubati's 'Aranya' ('Haathi Mere Saathi' in Hindi), considering that its template is not derived from South Indian masala flicks. Instead, its template bears a resemblance to some superhero movies wherein dangers threaten the good side every now and then. The good guys bump into a new set of characters every now and then in 'Konda Polam', where action is overtaken by drama and dialogue. 

The one durable character that the film could have staged with care is: the tiger. The VFX work is not shoddy, but the action block emanating from the man-animal conflict is not enticing. After a point, Vaisshnav Tej's lingering stares start to stare you in the face. Rakul Preet is commendable, while MM Keeravani's music flows with the pace of the story. 'Shwasalo' and a couple of other songs are winsome. 

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Also Read: Konda Polam Twitter Review: Netizens say Vaisshnav Tej & Rakul Preet Singh delivered their best performance

Check out the trailer of the film below: 

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