Guntur Kaaram doesn’t deliver on its basic promise: Entertainment, sighs Mayur Sanap.

The opening frame of Guntur Kaaram, the latest festive offering from Tollywood superstar Mahesh Babu, comes with ‘Super Star Mahesh’ written on it, even before the title card appears on screen. This is a film that celebrates superstardom and relies heavily on a superstar’s allure and charm.

The loud cheers in the Mumbai theatre I watched the film in were indication what the audience had come to watch. The rest of the film was just an extra treat in this scenario.

The title suggests that the film is as zesty as Guntur chillies, but sadly, this bland star vehicle is cheerfully vapid and dutifully formulaic; it’s tepid fun only while it lasts and quickly forgettable once it ends.


The film begins with a flashback sequence where we learn about Ramana’s (played by Mahesh Babu) tragic childhood. When Ramana’s father Satyam (Jayaram) is accused of a murder and sent to prison, his mother Vasundhara (Ramya Krishnan) abandons the family and returns to her paternal home, and eventually re-marries.

Flash forward, Ramana is a happy-go-lucky young man who runs his father’s chilli business in Guntur.

Deep down, he is shattered that his mother left him years ago without any explanation.

Vasundhara has now joined politics, but her influential father (Prakash Raj) pressures Ramana to cut all ties with his mother and asks him to sign papers that state he is not her legal heir. When Ramana refuses to do so, he is subjected to various devious schemes.

The rest of the film is about how Ramana wins his mother back.

Guntur Kaaram is an uneven film that struggles to separate itself from the many stale ideas thrown into the mix. It is part family drama, part action thriller, part generic romance with random songs and dance.

Since the characters are simple and the plot is wafer-thin, Director Trivikram Srinivas, who also serves as writer here, banks on Mahesh Babu’s superstar aura to muster some fun and excitement. The result is this overlong slog that works more as a show-reel for its leading star, without any coherence in the story-telling.

Most of it is just Mahesh Babu goofing around.

The already scraggy plot is dragged further so that the superstar can do camera facing slow-mo walks, groove to random dance numbers at regular intervals and demonstrates how to lit a beedi in interesting fashion for the nth time.

Guntur Kaaram is, of course, a comedy, not a message film. But there is something uncomfortable about the casual sexism, almost gleeful way the film depicts its women: They are batting for attention (Sreeleela), serving food and alcohol to men (Meenakshi Chaudhary), restricted to home and kitchen (Easwari Rao), and playing pawn to men’s politics (Ramya Krishnan).

To give you an idea of just how bad this really is, the writers create a scene where Mahesh Babu’s Ramana remarks, ‘They (girls) barely have flesh on them these days.’

Sreeleela’s Amukta overhears this conversation and instead of snapping back, she breaks into a raunchy dance number, to say, ‘I’m an updated piece.’

The biggest sin Guntu Kaaram commits is that it doesn’t even deliver on its basic promise: Entertainment.

The mass moments fall flat, action scenes are poorly cut, sub-plots are generic, the mother-son dynamic is barely explored, and surprisingly, even Mahesh Babu looks tired during much of its nearly three hour-long runtime.

There’s an emotionally-charged scene towards the climax where mother and son finally have a tender moment, but it arrives as an afterthought after all the jarring drama that preceded it.

Too bad, Guntur Kaaram lacks sizzle.

Guntur Kaaram Review Rediff Rating:

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