The triumph of ‘Hanu-Man’ amidst star-studded Sankranthi films…

Storywise, ‘Hanu-Man’ doesn’t boast of much novelty. It is a classic tale of good versus evil with the superhero tropes of Hollywood.
Published in: Southfirst

Much like Teja Sajja’s character Hanumanthu in the film, Hanu-Man is also an underdog in more ways than one.

Neither Prasanth Varma is a blockbuster director nor the leading man Teja Sajja. The young actor was still finding his footing as a commercial hero when the fantasy flick was released.

Sure, he was a part of the hugely successful film Oh! Baby (2019), but that was primarily Samantha and Lakshmi’s vehicle.

In such a scenario, Hanu-Man was up against Mahesh Babu, Venkatesh, and Nagarjuna — three big stars of Tollywood.

Guntur Kaaram (2024) was the reunion of Mahesh Babu and Trivikram. Saindhav (2024), on the other hand, was the 75th film of Venkatesh.

Saindhav had a massive pre-release buzz, and Venkatesh sounded very confident in his interviews and functions. Additionally, director Sailesh Kolanu of the successful HIT franchise was helming it.

Lastly, Naa Saami Ranga (2024) was expected to rake in good numbers given the rural atmospherics. Furthermore, Nagarjuna’s last two Sankranthi releases were commercially successful.

The USP of Hanu-Man

A poster of Teja Sajja’s ‘Hanu-Man’. (X)

Hanu-Man not only held its own among all four Sankranthi releases but also emerged as the biggest winner.

Storywise, Hanu-Man doesn’t boast of much novelty. It is a classic tale of good versus evil with the superhero tropes of Hollywood.

The protagonist of this tale is a small-time thief in a fictional village called Anjanadri, a village located miles away from urbanisation.

The protagonist here is the last person whom you would associate with having superhero powers.

What made Hanu-Man click was how Prasanth Varma weaved the elements of mythology in a contemporary setting. The amalgamation of devotion with the superhero elements made a perfect mix.

The transformation of Teja Sajja’s character was also done well, and the young actor pulled off the different shades with finesse.

Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, as Hanumanthu’s elder sister, was another big strength of the film.

The brother-sister bond gave the movie an emotional gravitas. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar also had her masala moment, which was a treat to watch.

Though the film’s budget doesn’t come anywhere close to Adipurush (2023), the special effects are far superior. These factors made Hanu-Man a big hit among all age groups.

Underwhelming performances

A poster of Mahesh Babu’s ‘Guntur Kaaram’. (X)

The other three Sankranthi releases underperformed for different reasons.

In the case of Guntur Kaaram, Trivikram’s favourite theme of discord in families and an estranged son fixing things backfired badly. Mahesh Babu had fun with his role but for the audiences, it was a slog for the most part.

The tone of Venkatesh’s Saindhav is similar to Lokesh Kanagaraj’s Leo (2023), a family man with a violent past.

A poster of Venkatesh’s ‘Saindhav’. (X)

Venkatesh works as a crane operator in the port city of Chandraprastha. Before taking up this job he was a member of a drug cartel.

Things take a drastic turn when his daughter is diagnosed with SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy). To survive, she needs urgent medical treatment that costs ₹17 crore.

Saindhav had all the elements needed for a solid action drama. Venkatesh, as the single father, also delivered a commendable performance and pulled off the action sequences with the required intensity.

But the film was not entirely satisfying for fans of the action genre. The big reason for that is the uneven screenplay coupled with the lack of attention-grabbing twists.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui played an eccentric antagonist with a mix of Hindi and Telugu dialogues. But the unhingedness of his character comes across as irritating.

Doesn’t hit the mark

A poster of Nagarjuna’s ‘Naa Saami Ranga’. (X)

Naa Saami Ranga, directed by Vijay Binni, is a decent entertainer, provided you are not looking for a lot.

The village atmospherics are good as are the performances, particularly of Allari Naresh.

But the sharp writing needed for a wholesome Sankranti film is missing. The portions of Nagarjuna with his love interest Varalakshmi (Ashika Ranganath) feel dated.

The friendship between Nagarjuna’s Kishtayya and Allari Naresh’s Anji needed to be etched better.

To conclude, Hanu-Man has once again proved why big stars are not always needed to draw the audience in huge numbers.

Sometimes, solid storytelling can transform an actor into a star!

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