Sarkaru Vaari Paata Story: Mahi, a money lender, is swindled by a gambling addict called Kalaavathi in the US. While he comes to India to collect his debt, he decides to stay back and do his bit for the country's financial health.
Sarkaru Vaari Paata Review: Parasuram Petla’s last film Geetha Govindam was a rom-com that was a massive hit but seemed to not grasp the concept of consent. Now, his mass entertainer Sarkaru Vaari Paata wobbles between being a commercial cinema where anything goes and a film that tries way too hard in drumming up sympathy for some of the side characters.
Mahi ( Mahesh Babu ), a money lender and debt collector, has a sad back story. Despite his troubled past, he has made a name for himself and established his own finance corporation in the US. While he’s mostly easy going, he’s also prone to stalking people who owe him money to any corner of the world, irrespective of how much the amount. He puts those stalking skills to good use when he meets Kalaavathi ( Keerthy Suresh ). She walks into his life in a pretty saree, flowers in her hair, books in her hand, pretending to be anything but the gambling addict she really is. While the red flags she emanates can be seen from a mile away by his friend Kishore (Vennela Kishore), Mahi is too much in love to see any of them and she finds it easy to swindle him. When reality hits, he sees no choice but to head to Vizag to collect the debt she raked up from her father, a politician and tycoon called Rajendranath (Samuthirakani). But what Rajendranath and Kalavaathi don’t know is that Mahi has another agenda.
Sarkaru Vaari Paata suffers from a lack of focus when it comes to the tone of the film. Yes, yes, we know that’s how commercial cinema works – with a little bit of everything – but what happens when none of those tracks seem to reach the potential they have. Mahi and Kalaavathi’s love story, apart from Kishore’s character, emanates some genuine laughs in the first half of the film while an action sequence involving a lorry in the second half invokes some unintentional laughter. The love soon turns to harassment, with Mahi veering between toppling boats and bonding with strangers at airports. While all that’s well and nice, he also problematically finds it comfortable to slap people (including Keerthy and Brahmaji) and infantilising his supposed girlfriend. Parasuram also plays up a physically challenged man for unnecessary sympathy. The VFX and green screen work could've definitely been better.
The film has a social message backing it up. What starts as a love story turns into an unnecessary ego war between two men and soon snowballs into a mini revolution against the banking system, nay exploitation. While the messaging Parasuram chooses is valid and even relevant, he makes the odd choice of choosing the option of ‘tell and not show’, with Mahesh delivering long dialogues. These plot points really demand more screen time than they’re given. One does have to admit that it's refreshing the protagonist wants the antagonist to learn a lesson and be a part of the solution rather than just die.
Where the film does work is when it comes to Mahesh and Keerthy’s performances. The former seems much more relaxed and in the skin of his character, he makes even the silliest of dialogues seem legible – at least in the moment. Keerthy’s character comes and leaves the tale as and when it suits the story but she does a good job of pulling off her kooky role. Thaman’s OST for the film might not be for everyone but the songs don’t stand out like a sore thumb. His BGM in particular aides the story well. Samuthirakani can play this role in his sleep, so can rest of the actors like Nadhiya and Tanikella Bharani whose characters remain one note. Few portions of the film do keep you hooked, while others - not so much.
At the end of it all Sarkaru Vaari Paata remains a half-baked commercial drama you can sit through mostly due to Mahesh and Keerthy’s performances. Watch it if you’ve missed a massier version of Mahesh on-screen. Just don’t go expecting too much.