What’s it about?
‘Maha Samudram’ opens with a scene of Arjun (Sharwanand) hitting his jeep to a pole. Arjun narrates incidents that took place in the last four years leading to this accident.
Arjun and his friend Vijay (Siddharth) lead a jolly life in Vizag. Maha (Aditi Rao) and Smitha (Anu Emmanuel) are Vijay and Arjun’s respective love interests. Vijay, who lost his parents long back, becomes a family member of Arjun.
An altercation with the city’s mafia don Dhanunjay (Garuda Ram) forces Vijay to leave the city and hide somewhere. His whereabouts are not known for four years. His girlfriend Maha was pregnant with his child. Vijay takes care of Maha and her daughter Pooja. Four years later, Vijay steps in Vizag, prompting a showdown between the friends.
Ajay Bhupathi, who made his debut with ‘RX100’, a bold love story that portrayed heroine as the villain, talks about ‘immeasurable love’ in his second film, Maha Samudram, featuring Sharwanand and Siddharth as two friends. Set from 2017 to 2021, ‘Maha Samudram’ tries to mix two different genres – a gangster drama and a love story.
One who values the relationships – be it friendship or love, can only bear the weight of heart, says Sharwanand in the very first sequence. He is carrying that burden. Sharwanand’s characterization is solidly written – he will not waver even when his friend turns against him. But the same cannot be said for Siddharth’s character. He leaves his girlfriend for selfish reasons and develops animosity after seeing her in the shelter of Sharwanand for apparent no reason.
Keeping that major flaw in the plot, director Ajay Bhupathi has tried to weave a story about friendship and mature love. Despite having well-written individual characters with solid characterizations, the screenplay runs into the predictable zone in no time.
All films need not be plot-heavy. Interesting characterizations with regular stories and narratives can also engage the audience. But the key point is ‘engaging’ narration. That is where “Maha Samudram” scores low. After a good initial setup, it never rises. The story turns into an oft-repeated plot of friends-turned-foe, and the progression is filled with run-of-the-mill situations. There is no strong conflict either.
It makes no sense why Aditi keeps loving Siddharth when he was using her for money and mistreats her. Why did she stay in Sharwanand’s home and pine for his love? In an earlier scene, she says she can stand on her legs.
When Sharwanand enters the scene again, it turns into a melodrama. The kidnaps episode and the sentiment scenes don’t work at all.
The sea witnesses all the developments in the hero’s life, and the heroine’s name is Maha, hence the film was named ‘Maha Samudram’. All the deep meanings aside, we only wish that it would have worked better, had the story has some depth. One more laughable aspect in the film is that Sharwanand and Jagapathi Babu dancing to a song praising the beauty of yesteryear actress Rambha. Who would dream of Rambha in 2021?
Sharwanand, who plays the role of a guy who holds an emotional burden, carries the whole film on his shoulders. Sharwanand gives a believable performance. Siddharth shows two variations – a charming lover and a man who turns baddie due to circumstances. The ever-dependable Siddharth pulls it off effortlessly.
Aditi Rao, in the role of Maha, who is the anchor in this story, comes up with a regular act. There is nothing much to talk about her performance. Anu Emmanuel’s role is poorly written.
As proved in his first film, Ajay Bhupathi depends on a supporting cast to evoke drama. And they — Rao Ramesh as cunning Gooni Babji, Jagapathi Babu as Choocha, and Garuda Ram as a don — play their parts to the T.
Chaitan Bharadwaj, who played a large part in the success of ‘RX100’ with his catchy songs, has failed big time this time. Except for ‘Cheppake’, his soundtrack is a drawback in the film. But Raj Thota’s cinematography stands out. Throughout the film, I enjoyed his frames and the tone of the film
Bottom line: ‘Maha Samudram’ revolving around two friends boasts strong characterizations and has excellent cinematography, but it doesn’t engage much. After a point, it becomes predictable.
By: Jalapathy Gudelli
Film: Maha Samudram
Banner: AK Entertainments
Cast: Sharwanand, Siddharth, Aditi Rao Hydari, Anu Emmanuel, Rao Ramesh, Jagapathi Babu, Garuda Ram
Music: Chaitan Bharadwaj
Cinematography: Raj Thota
Editor: Praveen KL
Art: Kolla Avinash
Producer: Sunkara Ramabrahmam
Written and directed by: Ajay Bhupathi
Release Date: October 14, 2021