Bankrolled by actor Ram Charan, Mohan Raja’s Godfather, starring Chiranjeevi and Salman Khan in key roles, is a Telugu remake of Prithviraj Sukumaran’s Lucifer. After the Telugu release on 5 October, Godfather released in Tamil Nadu on 14 October.
The story revolves around the sudden death of PKR, the Chief Minister of a state. Chaos ensues when minister Varma (Murali Sharma), PKR’s son-in-law Jayadev (Satyadev) and his son Brahma (Chiranjeevi) fight for the seat of power. PKR's daughter Sathya Priya (Nayanthara), on the other hand, has a bruised past with Brahma, who loves his half-sister unconditionally.
Here are some of my thoughts after watching Godfather:
1. Chiranjeevi is the heart and the soul of the film. His charisma and towering screen presence help achieve the main objective of the film — please the crowd. What about Salman Khan? Our Bhai amps the charm in an explosive but hilarious cameo. In one scene, Salman is seen shooting with a smile while pushing an overturned car with his mere shoulders.
2. I was glad Chiranjeevi did not have to romance someone just for the sake of it.
3. Nayanthara's character is more fleshed-out in Godfather compared to Manju Warrier's in Lucifer. She strikes the right balance between aggression and vulnerability. What also caught my eye is the gorgeous collection of linen sarees Nayanthara wore in the film.
4. While borrowing some elements from the 70s Hollywood film by the same name, Godfather provides a commentary on the contemporary socio-political issues. The film delves into the world of politics, how big corporations and their funds have a say on who governs the state and the impact of TRP-chasing news channels.
5. Like with his previous political thriller Thani Oruvan, filmmaker Mohan Raja plays to his strengths in Godfather too. For instance the jail scene, where Jayadev visits Brahma, is a stroke of genius. The filmmaker elevates the superstardom of megastar with a healthy mix of swag and humour.
6. Murali Sharma as a funny yet cunning politician and Satyadev Kancharana playing the role of an evil man, shine well. Puri Jagannadh seems to have compensated with his acting in Godfather after his latest directorial Liger was called out. Samuthirakani, too, is impressive despite his limited screen time.
7. There is an intense monologue where Sathyapriya explains why her words and decisions are important for her father’s political party. However, it turns out to be an unintentional glorification of nepotism. Through the film, ‘bloodline’ has been shown as the foremost quality for Sathyapriya and her half-brother Brahma, when they both nominated each other for the position of the Chief Minister.
8. Through Tanya Ravichandran, who plays Nayanthara's sister, Godfather touches upon sexual abuse. It also points out how close relatives are often the perpetrators and how the crime can go unnoticed until the survivor outs their abuser after going through severe trauma. Unfortunately, this gets overshadowed because of a half-baked screenplay.
9. There is a peppy song, ‘Thaar Maar Thakkar Maar’, that is fun to watch. Two superstars set the dance floor on fire.
10. To conclude, Godfather in an attempt to pander to the hero's fanbase and makes the mistake of reaching for the low-hanging fruit - the ever dependable commercial template with hefty punch dialogues, action sequences and voyeuristic item songs. It works to an extent but not as much when the audience is evolving and is hungry for better content.