Yesterday, I decided I was totally in the mood for another Mahesh Babu movie. Dookudu had been recommended to me as one of his best, and I tried to find a good copy online. I ended up running to my local library which had a DVD copy. (I love living in an area with a sizeable South Asian community!) My library may not have many Telugu titles, but they have Dookudu!
This poster really shows you what Mahesh in Dookudu is all about. Dookudu was translated as aggression, but also as daring. And you can see Mahesh’s cop character is all about attitude. Mahesh just oozes cool and bravado. He has amazing presence on film, and looks great in all those slow motion action striding towards danger kind of scenes.
But after watching 1: Nenokkadine, I was hoping with another heroine, I’d get a better romantic subplot, and maybe a sweeter side to Mahesh, too. And Dookudu gave that to me in spades. Puppy dog eyed Mahesh!
He’s no Prabhas, who is still my favorite Telugu actor, but he does have that same ability to go from super cool action, to sweetness and comedy.
Dookudu is just a super entertaining mass entertainment movie. The best Telugu films I find really excel at melding together great action, great villains, sweet romance, and comedy all rolled into one. And while 1: Nenokkadine felt like theses different parts of the film did not fit together well, here with Dookudu one flows into the other and the comedy gives you a respite from some pretty intense action and drama.
Dookudu at its heart is a revenge flick. Prakash Raj plays the near saintly politician father of Mahesh (Ajay). After our short intro to Prakash, we see him struck in a horrific car crash leaving young Ajay alone. Cut to present day with adult Ajay, now a cop in Mumbai, with a cool introduction fight scene.
Ajay is on the hunt of Don Nayak played with supreme evilness by Sonu Sood. He’s wearing an ascot for most of the movie, so you know he’s really evil! One nice thing is that with Sonu Sood being 6’2″, Mahesh is also 6’1″ so their final battle truly feels like a fight of equals.
On a quest to find a weak link to Nayak’s empire, Ajay and his team follow Nayak’s brother to Istanbul. There one of Ajay’s team tells him his fortune telling grandma says Ajay is about to meet the love of his life. Ajay mistakes Prashanthi (the adorable Samantha Prabhu) for Nayak’s brother’s girlfriend, so from the beginning we have a hate-to-love romantic subplot. Which is one of my favorite romantic tropes.
Ajay and his team capture Nayak’s brother which leads to the scene on the rooftops of Istanbul on the poster. With Ajay’s foot on the gangster’s throat, gun pointed at his head while negotiating on the phone with Nayak.
After some great Turkey scenery (so pretty!) and adorable romantic scenes with Prashanthi where Ajay continually puts his foot in his mouth, Ajay returns to India. He then gets shocking news. His father is waking up from a 14 year coma! His father did NOT die! Now, here is the part where the film evidently liberally borrows from the German film Goodbye Lenin (which I have not seen). The doctors tell Ajay that his father should be protected from any bad news or distress so that he doesn’t go back into a coma.
So, Ajay has to get back the family home. This is where the comedy uncles come in. Telugu films seem to have a requirement that this guy, Brahmanandam Padma Sri, appear in every single film to provide comic relief. He’s even shoe-horned into Magadheera for absolutely no reason at all. (Thank God Rajamouli didn’t have to include him in Baahubali!)
Usually, I find the comedy uncle bits of Telugu films very annoying and totally unfunny. In films like Darling, you can see Prabhas struggling to not crack up at his antics, and I just don’t get it.
But here, he’s woven into the plot as the current owner of the family mansion, that he rents out as a film set. Ajay convinces him that they want to film a reality show with hidden cameras. It’s all an elaborate ruse so that Ajay’s father (Prakash) will think nothing has changed, and that Ajay has taken his MLA seat and followed in his father’s footsteps. Ajay and his team even produce fake television news shows and newspapers, which is from Goodbye Lenin. A Telugu is now the prime minister of India, etc.! Mahesh is great in all these comedy pieces, posing as a film producer, and a participant in a reality show. His engagement to Prashanthi becomes part of the plan to keep his father happy.
Can you guess who caused his father’s car accident all those years ago? Yeah, like I said, it’s a revenge flick. The ways that Ajay crafts revenge on each person who harmed his father are actually quite clever, while keeping his father in the dark that he is now a cop.
I give Dookudu a solid four stars out of five. Great action, great romance, and great fun. Mahesh is absolutely fantastic in Dookudu, and Samantha Prabhu is great, too. They have wonderful chemistry together. The songs are not exceptional, but pretty good. This one where the lyrics say “My heart is sacrificed on the altar of love”. It’s kind of crazy with the faux Aztek costumes or whatever they are, but so colorful!
Yep. I think I’ve convinced myself writing this up, that I’m going to need to own this one on DVD. Because Mahesh in many colors of wedding finery!