Arjun (Gautham) is an aimless go-getting guy studying Final year B.A at Basanti College. His core occupation is hanging around with his friends Swathi (Naveena Jackson), Abbas (Ranadhir) and Dhanraj. He falls instantly in love with Roshini (Alisha Baig) whom he had seen at the wedding of Abbas’ sister. She is the daughter of Police Commissioner Ali Khan (Sayaji Shinde).
Simultaneously, a terrorist group identifying themselves “Deccan Mujahedeen” led by Commander Ghazi (Dr. K.S.I) hatch a devious plot for serial blasts at a hotel in the city. On the flipside when Arjun initiates to invite her for their college farewell function and convey his love, he learns that she is leaving to London for higher studies. Roshini’s flight to London falls on the day of their farewell. Meanwhile, commissioner Ali Khan manages a leak and busts the terrorist dug out. In an escape, the terrorist enter Basanti College and abduct the students as hostages.
But unlearnt of the circumstances, Arjun waits for Roshini at the airport, determined to express his feelings to her. While Roshini comes to the college to meet Arjun but unfortunately ends up as a hostage. So, how did Arjun learn of the menace and how did he find his love forms the plot of the story.
Raja Gautham: What do we have to tell about Mr. Brahmanandam’s son! Having dreams to be a hero is no wrong but to cope up with his contemporaries, he needs to still enhance himself in terms of acting, dances and fights. He has got good voice and dialog delivery but unfortunately his face and body language did not co-operate in terms of emoting and dances. If the scene where he inspires his hostage friends through the college announcement system is his best, the scene of witnessing his best friend Abbas dying is an absolute disaster from Gautham. He still needs to ease his muscles and body language in order to get into any character. Simple laughs and dialog delivery can’t make you a star or at least a hero dear.
Alisha Baig: She looks so girl-next-door as 'Roshini' sometimes cute and sometimes not. But on a whole, her character has got no scope for anything in the film or in otherwise, her character has got no form or shape in the film. And she looked so pale and straight faced. She could hardly utter her Telugu dialogs right and deliver something worth remembering.
Ranadhir: He was the attention grabber with his intense performance in the second half. He was natural and appropriate as 'Abbas' who delivered a stellar when needed.
Naveena: The newbie was also the head turner as one of the hero’s best friend. She was the major entertainer with her ease at the satires. She was even impressive in the crucial hostage episode as well.
Dhanraj: He was believable as a college student but he couldn’t get much of a scope to tickle us.
Sayaji Shinde: He played a key role in the film but he did not take it anywhere as an established actor like him could. He was subtle and delivered a contained performance. And by the way, his English diction was abnormal but yes…he gave a shot!
Dr. K.S.I: Does sound like I.S.I right? But, believe us…he was a treat to watch in the film. He was very elegant as a terrorist and he balanced the act so well. His diction was so believable and impressive.
The rest of the cast just passed the muster while some looked amateurish.
Chaitanya Dantuluri earned some respect and image as a promising director for his debut film Banam. Given his previous film, expecting a commercial film would be foolish. But, he needs to learn that just noble themes, honest attempts and sheer style can’t give you successes all the time here in Tollywood. Well with Basanti, he has got all the mentioned above except the key to have the audience glued till the last frame. We know he has tried to entertain in his terms but his terms are far away from the people’s definition of entertainment. We have watched films of this genre before like Roja, Dil Se et al but this film is lacking that magic element to call it a memorable watch.
-> The very intense and intriguing theme of love and terrorism.
-> The sheer guts in choosing the theme, honesty in the attempt and style in the narration.
-> He got his premise and characters set very well with both his plots love and terrorism travelling simultaneously till the first half.
-> He got his dialogues work brilliantly. They are abundantly fresh and have got the essential satire and punch in them.
-> Some of his characters are matured and sketched well.
-> Some good soothing music, good lyrics and gripping back ground score add value to the run.
-> A flabby narration that lacks intensity and the edginess that the story deserves.
-> A lethargic screenplay that even loses a race with a snail some times.
-> Monotonous treatment which might not connect to that sect of the audience that expect a commercial entertainment given a love theme.
-> Lack of commercial elements might disappoint the mass audience.
In a nutshell, the first half leisurely sets in by the time our patience levels take their first test. The interval was unpredictable with some robust interval bang and by then you definitely need an arm stretch. The second half is certainly paced up but lacks the intensity and edginess to connect with. But, it has got some good dialogs and performances to watch out for.
Mani Sharma proved his brilliance with some good tunes serving his director’s needs. The album was good while “Velloddura…” was picturized well. But, the background score did not carry the ‘Manisharma’ brand. He was able enough to fill the vacuum but not worth seeping in. The songs fitted well in the groove.
Dialogues by Srikanth Vissa are brilliant. Dialogues like “Nee litre blood value oka cup coffe ena” tickled our funny bones while “Just Coffee kaadu Coffee with Roshini…idi special”, “Oke intlo rendu pooja gadulu pettukochu kada” evoked claps and whistles. Dialogues like “Viplavam…” and “Thirugubaatu” give us goose bumps.
Cinematography was impressive. The tint was afresh and some typical block shots bring beauty to the film.
Basanti isn’t a routine commercial film. So expectations are very directly proportional to disappointment in this case. If you have respect for Chaitanya Dantuluri and if you can bear with a lethargic film with a good theme - it is recommended. Otherwise, you can safely give it a miss – No pains… No gains!