‘Duvvada Jagannadham’ Is Telugu Masala at Its Zaniest
Duvvada Jagannadham (DJ) is Allu Arjun at his best; dance, fight, dance, repeat!
Allu Arjun plays a Telugu Brahmin boy who cannot bear to see injustice, and has been on a killing spree offing criminals from before he hit puberty. He only kills when someone removes the rudraksh tied round his neck. He runs a catering service with his father.
This doesn't make any sense, does it? But it's intriguing, no? That's exactly what Duvvada Jagannadham (DJ), in its entirety, feels like.
The DJ Connection
Allu Arjun is probably the best dancer in Indian cinema. I believe he's better than Hrithik, and even Jackie Shroff's genetically modified offspring.
In the intro song (which is mandatory in all star-studded Kollywood and Tollywood films), he dances barefoot. In just three seconds, he got the entire theater screaming for more. The footwork, right up to the little toe was mesmerising!
DSP (Devi Sri Prasad. Yes, the Telugus like their abbreviations) has scored music for the film. He's less of a music composer and more of a DJ; not like the ones in the funky pubs, but like the ones who play at the Navrathra Kanjaks. There's nothing remotely cool or hep about the music. But even if you're genetically predisposed to raising your pinky while drinking tea, you can't help groove to the raw funky beats.
Pairing him with a footloose Allu Arjun is a pretty neat idea!
Gore, Gore and More Gore
There's plenty of both in the movie. Film makers realised that Allu Arjun looked as good killing people as he did on the dance floor. And so in 2014, with Iddarammayilatho (with two girls), the level of gore took a sudden leap. It's not just the blood, but the way he kills; with complete abandon, slashing even after the baddie’s dead, hitting even after bones are broken.
DJ has its fair share of fight scenes, almost all of which are quite bloody. But they're still nothing compared to some of the other movies, like Prabhas' Mirchi and Rebel. These movies make killing look cool. Riots, where limbs are chopped off, and people are sliced in two, are picturized with aesthetic choreography, not unlike a Tarantino flick. I'm not a great fan, but I see the appeal.
The Solapur Connection
Telugu movies are a huge hit in Maharashtra. For some reason, Ram Charan Teja and Allu Arjun's movies run in theaters in Solapur for months on end. Regardless of how DJ does in Tamil Nadu, it's sure to find an eager audience across the Marathi belt.
A Missed Opportunity and Forgotten Meals
Allu Arjun plays a Telugu Brahmin in the movie. This community is probably the one filled with the funniest idiosyncrasies, just like the Tamil Brahmins (TamBrahm, if you will). But the jokes or comedy in the film is limited to stressing upon the slang, and some weak attempts at poking fun at vegetarianism.
What a wasted opportunity!
Allu Arjun is a physical actor, and can convey meekness, as well as strength. He could have easily turned the role into a Superman / Clark Kent dual identity, and cut across a parallel track of physical comedy. Also, for a character who's grown up around food (father runs 'Annapurna Catering'), there's barely any mention of the spread. No one is seen gorging on the sumptuous Andhra spread, there are no sweetmeats in sight, and where in hell is the Avakaya (mango pickle)!
Nevertheless, DJ is a colorful Telugu Masala flick that anyone with even half a brain will enjoy. Those who think too much (i.e. look for logic, sequence, etc)....just stop, and have some fun.
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