With a star-studded cast and a director with a hit-streak, Janatha Garage was poised to take the box office by storm when it released. Despite its financial success, however, I found the film to be somewhat disappointing.
Katha, Screenplay, Darsakathvam
Sathyam runs an automotive garage called Janatha Garage in Hyderabad that serves as a front for an organization that solves problems that the general public face from corrupt politicians, businessmen, officers and street rowdies, often through the use of violence. Anand is a young environmental activist in Mumbai who also uses violence when neccessary to prevent organizations and people from harming the environment. When Anand visits Hyderabad and crosses paths with Sathyam, their lives become intertwined as Sathyam sees the future of Janatha Garage in him.
Screenplay and Direction
Koratala Siva has a knack for directing mass entertainers centered around a central theme or issue. Janatha Garage has all of these signature elements, but fails to unify them into a stronger overall experience. A world where the stakes are high, women are raped, politicans are corrupt and the only answer is violence; these are all common elements that make the film predicatable and boring. There are a few select moments that are impressive and briefly detract from the cliche formula that the film follows. The new look and attitude for Jr. NTR and the inclusion of Samantha and Nitya Menen are also somewhat of a saving grace for the film, but they are just barely enough to cover for the weaknesses.
NTR plays Anand, one of the two main protagonists of the film, and is at ease with a role that mixes violence with emotion. Anand is an environmentalist and has strong opinions that he advocates for with violence. It would have been more interesting to see Anand go through a bigger internal struggle, because the decisions he makes throughout the film are too convenient and do not reveal much about him as a character.
Mohanlal is a fabulous performer and is powerful as Sathyam, a man who puts justice above everything else. However, what his character has in power lacks in depth as it's hard to understand why he has this constant desire to fight for the social good of everyone around him, even if it means sacrificing family.
Samantha plays the role of Bujji, Anand's cousin, and is apt for her brief role. She blindly supports Anand and their interactions are ones we have already seen among the lead pair in other movies.
Nithya Menen was more interesting than Samantha as Anu because her interactions with Anand are less cliche. Her role could have had more scope, but, again, the director sacrifices a lot of character development for the sake of keeping the plot moving forward.
Unni Mukundan plays the role of Raghava, Sathyam's son. His role has some negative shades that he portrays well. Devayani plays Padma, Sathyam's wife, and emotes well in one scene in particular. Suresh and Sithara act as Bujji's parents and I no complaints with their performance. Ajay has another successful role as the trustworthy henchman. Kajal Aggarwal was roped in for an item song that is both unnecessary and poorly executed in comparison to other popular item songs.
Devi Sri Prasad is one of my favorite music directors, but the quality of his music has gone down in recent years. That being said, Devi Sri Prasad manages to serve a decent album for Janatha Garage, with Pranaamam being the highlight. It's mix of classical with western was an intant hit and is Devi's forte. Rock on Bro is also enjoyable, though its heavily influenced by some of Devi's previous works; it is picturised really well though. Apple Beauty is one of those pop songs that has incomprehensible lyrics for the sake of being catchy; it's the weakest song in the album. Jayaho Janatha is alright as the theme song. Nee Selvadigi is a sad song with a nice introduction. Devi is known for his item songs, so Pakka Local had a lot of expectations. The song itself is alright, but the visuals weren't up to the mark and it didn't make much sense to put Kajal Aggarwal in a song that claims to be local.
Tirru did a fantastic job earlier this year with 24, but he falls short when it comes to the visuals for Janatha Garage. To be fair, Janatha Garage is formulaic with a lot of action sequences, so there isn't much scope for lush locations or creative camera work. Within the scope that's available, Tirru does a decent job.
Janatha Garage might have all of the right pieces, but the formulaic plot and lack of strong character development prevents the film from reaching the sum of its parts.
Excessive physical violence and sexual violence is hinted.
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