It took me two viewings this week to get through Parugu (Run)- it is the most basic plot stretched extremely thin with little variety and a fair amount of BORE. Arjun goes back to his pretty-boy “Bunny” appearance and gets hotter and hotter as the movie progresses- I think that is the only thing that kept me watching, actually!
The story revolves around the village-leader Neelankantha (Prakash Raj) who is freaking out because his eldest daughter just eloped on the day of her wedding. By the eight-minute mark of the film, Neelankantha's brigade of family and village folk had already gone around every nook and cranny of the area roughing people up on trains and burning houses to get people to confess where the couple went, which all made me register an immediate: WTF? They end up gathering a group of friends (including Krishna (Allu Arjun)) that might know the eloped-couples whereabouts and throw them in a shed. A big shed, actually. Because Arjun needs space to prance about in a boring song, you see! Before that though, Arjun had a pretty groovy intro-song where he cruises on roller skates and dances so quickly I thought his arms might fall off at some point. Cue really stupid escape attempt, fighting, and the big reveal moment when Krishna falls in love at first sight seeing Meena in the forest. That is ALL the love is based on: one millisecond smittance in a foggy forest and Krishna spends the rest of the moving trying to “make her love him." He gives some more lame reasons in the ending scenes. The movie just plods along from there while Krishna tries to find the mysterious fog-woman in the village, manipulates Neelankantha's gang on their neverending search, and learns the identity of said fog chick. The search for the dastardly elopers continues ad-nauseum throughout.
It turns out Krishna actually helped the elopers escape because he wanted to “help them be happy,” but when Neelankantha explains to Krishna in a drunken moment that he just wants his daughters to be happy in good families, Krishna is suddenly affected and decides to drag out the ending scenes to painfully long lengths until he confides his true feelings to him. Krishna then TURNS DOWN the opportunity to elope with Meena. But have no fear, Neelankantha softens and believes Meena would really be happiest with Krishna and gives them permission to do their thang. And then Meena and Krishna hug for about 7 seconds and the film abruptly ends. Yah.
I think the problem for me is that nothing very interesting happens and it feels like there is a central guide or editor missing in the whole process. Some parts are very boring, the romance in the film has no basis whatsoever, the comedy tracks are too rushed and jarring, and the emotions are surface-deep (despite trying to seem "progressive"). Neelankantha’s motivations are confusing and flip-flopping; however, I did think Prakash Raj did an excellent job in maintaining a really strong presence throughout. It seems the film is trying to make some sort of statement on love versus arranged marriages and how parents just want their children to be safe and happy and blah blah blah…
Another thing that bothered me was how the film is a very traditional, village-based movie where all the women do nothing of substance and need to be coddled and protected and careful of not letting their dhavanis expose their navals! When Meena gets lost on a trip to Hyderabad, it was no surprise to me that she is found being molested by a group of guys. Because, you know, that’s what happens when girls are outside the protection of men in their family! ;)
The DVD quality was EXTREMELY disappointing to me. I was so annoyed that the songs were slightly pixelated that I stopped watching it at first… it’s hard to freeze frames half the time and get a clear screencap. The dvd menu sound quality was terrible. My other technical-related irritation was the occasional mouth/dubbing mismatches.
The songs were about half good/half blah. I really liked the dancing and music in “Chal Chal” and “Yelegelyalaga”, “Nammavemo” was boring with unnecessary graphics-work, “Manakanna Podiche” was …eh, and “Parugulu” is one big scary WTF moment.
Basically, the film really only appeals to fans of Allu Arjun’s hotness, imo. That’s enough for me!
Sexy Allu Arjun still looking fairly young as the fun-loving Krishna
Freaky song "Parugulu"
Intense Prakash Raj with a weird haircut as Neelankantha
Doe-eyed Sheela as the nervous-nelly Meena