Janatha Garage Movie Review: The Film Is Set in a Man's World
The one-line stories that Koratala tries to expand into feature films revolve around his heroes’ abilities alone.
Director: Janatha Garage
Cast: Mohanlal, Jr. NTR, Samantha, Nithya Menen, Saikumar, Unni Mukundan, Ajay, Brahmaji, Banerjee, Devayani, Sachin Khedekar.
The start cast of Janatha Garage is endless – Mohanlal, Jr. NTR, Saikumar, Samantha, Nithya Menon, Unni Mukundan, Devayani, Ajay, Brahmaji, and Banerjee. Many of the cast members have been acting for decades, and it is sad to see them in roles which offer them nothing in terms of power. They are merely present to fill the screen. Banerjee, Ajay, and Brahmaji, in particular, do nothing other than open their mouths a little in amazement whenever Jr. NTR delivers a dialogue, or beats up an extra.
Janatha Garage is run by a set of people who are innocent and pure. Sathyam (Mohanlal) leads the gang with his trademark panache. He is joined by Anand (Jr. NTR), a nature lover. NTR is the kind of person who’s against the usage of plastic bags. When these two brilliant actors unite for a cause, you know what’s going to happen. It’s a reason for fans to burst crackers. But of course NTR wouldn’t support firecrackers either as it puts a spoke in nature’s wheel by polluting the air.
Not a pinch of error can be found in Mohanlal’s body language. His presence really matters. He didn’t dub for his role and it’s a major drawback. The quality of his performance suffers because of it. The only thing that draws water from this well is the combination of Mohanlal and NTR.
The way Janatha Garage moves makes it a film set in a man’s world. Samantha appears cute in the initial portions and disappears later. Nithya Menen throws a few laughs with her cameo appearance. The amount of screen time the two actresses get is ridiculous. Since, Kajal’s Pakka Local is publicized to the level of blaring infinity, one can count her as one of the ‘female leads’. The cries of the mothers (Devayani, and Sithara) are of no use as their characters hold no value in the larger scheme of things.
The same cannot even be said of Rajeev Kanakala who plays a minor character (government officer). NTR gives a short speech about Rajeev’s sincerity, and it is enough for Rajeev to display pride. It’s indeed the best scene in the movie. A similar effect is missing in the climax when Devayani, the mother of Unni Mukundan, breaks down. This is how the emotions of the film’s ladies are dumped in the backseat. Their feelings don’t add up at all.
Koratala has made it a habit to center his story on a message. It was non-violence in Mirchi; giving back to the society in Srimanthudu; and, serving the needy in Janatha Garage. There’s absolutely no problem in his core message, yet when it comes to the packaging, it seems like he gives too much importance to his heroes. The one-line stories that Koratala tries to expand into feature films revolve around his heroes’ abilities alone.
Despite such brazenness, Janatha Garage manages to rise from the ashes, and that’s what makes this film somewhat likeable. If Mohanlal continues to star in Telugu films, he should gladly do so (along with his voice), and if NTR picks interesting scripts from the mix he keeps getting from filmmakers, he’ll entertain us no doubt.