Banner: Shreya Production
Cast: Raviteja, Charmi, Lakshmi Manchu, Bramhanandam, Sunil, Subbaraju, Venumadhav and others
Direction: Ramgopal Varma
Production: Kiran Kumar Koneru
Music: Amar Mohile
After biting the dust with his KSD-Appalraju, Ramgopal Varma focused on his four and a half day movie shot with a simple still camera.For ‘Dongalamutaa’, he promoted the idea of making a movie in four and a half days in Cannon 5D as the hero of the film. Since the flick is made with zero budget, the risk proposition on this project is zero. With no music, item numbers, melodrama and comedy, this movie was touted as pathbreaking cinema if it clicked. We watched Dongalamutaa on the first day to get a glimpse of how this four and a half day movie looked from the lens of a simple still camera. Here is what we think of this movie….
Married couple Sridhar(Raviteja) and Rani( Charmee) are on their way to attend a wedding in their car. They take an alternate route and their car stops in anoymous place due to technical problem. They get into a nearby Goodluck resort to seek help. The resort is deserted with only a receptionist (Subbaraju), his manager Papa(Supreeth) and an attendant(Bramhaji). Though the receptionist tells Sridhar that all the rooms are full, Papa decides to give a room to them.Soon after entering their room Sreedhar and Rani realise that this place is shady. They hear screams from the neighbouring room. The phones in the room don’t work. Besides, the receptionist, Papa and attendant give the couple scary looks and confuse them further. Though Sridhar and Rani try to escape, these three stop them. Papa asks Sridhar to go to a nearby town and get some food for everyone and that they would keep Rani in their custody until then. However, Sridhar and Rani manage to escape from them but are trapped in the same building. Meanwhile Shiva(Laxmi Manchu) comes to the resort with her assistant Richard(Sunil) to convey the message that Munna Bhai who leads their gang is arrested.The rest of the story is on who that Munna Bhai is, what is the real identity of Shiva, how do Sridhar and Rani escape, what is the source of the sound in the neighbouring room.
Raviteja delivers his usual best and brings entertainment value to this otherwise boring film.Charmee is pathetic and defines the term ‘overaction’ in this movie. She was over the top and painfully animated. Prakash Raj who is a seasoned actor was potrayed in a silly and cringe worthy charecter. It didn’t need him to do this role. Bramhanandam manages to tickle a few funny bones and adds his touch to this flick. Subbaraju is dynamic and convincing as a kidnapper turned receptionist. Supreeth was in sync with his role as a goon filled with lust. Laxmi Manchu certainly needs to work on her Telugu and English diction. Her role as a cop in disguise and her American put on accent is a turn off. If she wants to be considered a serious actor, she should avoid talking with a fake accent at the earliest. Her Telugu slang doesn’t appeal to people from all parts of the state and makes one frown. Bramhaji’s wierd histrionics are tough to fathom. We are still wondering what he was doing in this film and why was he needed at all.
Clap worthy moments
The movie deserves a pat on its back for technical brilliance. Since the movie was shot on still cameras, the frames were different, easy and more flexible. Close angles with tight frames helped potray the suspense factor better. The fact that this film was shot in a still camera makes one forgive a lot of errors in the script and narration. The first half of the movie managed to thrill and evoke curiosity though the second half was a disappointment. The movie certainly didn’t look like the one in which such less number of staff have worked. The post-production work was almost flawless and the technical team of camera persons did a praise worthy job. The trailer song ‘Dhebbaku Ttha… Dongalamutaa’ is well choreographed and looks colourful and stylish.
The making of this film that was shown after the climax was impressive and gives an insight to how still cameras were used to shot the scenes.
Cringe worthy moments
The movie seriously tests your patience with horribly slow screenspace. You can go on a long drive and come back to your theatre and be assured the story remains where it was when you left. The dialogue modulation where Raviteja says ‘Oka Gantalo’ and then looks at Subbaraju who repeats the same thing ‘Oka Gantalo’ followed by Charmee who repeats the same thing ‘Oka Gantalo’ and then Bramhaji the same thing ‘Oka Gantalo’ is absurdity of all new level. There are atleast seven scenes where all the charecters repeat the same word again and again without any purpose.
Dialogues like ‘Lopale Bhaitiki Velladu’ (he went out inside) didn’t make any sense and leaves you wondering what it meant. The camera is focused on Charmee’s bum and between her legs which is sure to annnoy purists. The background score and the story are inversely proportional. Though there is nothing scary or horror about this story, a hype was created due to background score which makes you feel betrayed. You start looking at the exit door once the chasing scenes start on the screen. They look like child play. Even kids on the street play more serious hide and seek game than the one shown in this movie. It is certainly downplaying the intelligence of the movie goer. A scene where Raviteja puts a bamboo stick against Sunil and threatens him that it is a gun is as old as Indian cinema is.
Ramgopal Varma seems to have focused on pulling the crowd to theatres with a single factor that it was shot on still camera. In the process of making this movie on still cam, he forgot that sensible narration and screenplay too would have made this movie watchable.