“Hanuman,” Prasanth Varma’s magnum opus released on January 11th, 2024, has made waves in Tollywood. Portrayed as an epic Ramayana retelling from Hanuman’s perspective, the film flaunts groundbreaking VFX, a star-studded cast, and a substantial budget. However, does it truly soar with the legendary monkey god or succumb to overambition?
Reframing the Epic Lens
The narrative delves into Hanuman’s early life, exploring his playful childhood, unwavering loyalty to Sugriva, and pivotal role in Rama’s quest for Sita. Varma deviates from the traditional Ramayana, giving Hanuman agency beyond his mythical status. He grapples with internal conflicts, questions divine orders, injecting a commendable human element into the larger-than-life legend.
Teja Sajja shoulders the monumental task of embodying Hanuman seamlessly. From mischievous child to fierce warrior, he displays impressive physicality and emotional depth. Sajja captures Hanuman’s devotion to Rama, showcasing his playful personality and internal struggles. The supporting cast, including Varalaxmi Sarath Kumar as Anjana and Raj Deepak Shetty as Sugriva, delivers strong performances, adding layers to the narrative.
The film’s biggest draw is its visual spectacle. The VFX, while occasionally uneven, takes audiences on a breathtaking journey through lush forests, underwater domains, and Lanka’s opulent palaces. Hanuman’s aerial sequences are particularly impressive, capturing the freedom and power of the mythical flying monkey. However, some CGI creatures lack finesse, occasionally breaking the immersive experience.
While humanizing Hanuman is laudable, the film occasionally oversteps, delving into unnecessary romantic subplots and convoluted twists. Pacing dips, especially in the first half, with extended exposition disrupting momentum. The film struggles to balance mythological fidelity and contemporary reinterpretation, leaving some viewers yearning for a more focused narrative.
Music and Sound
Compositions by Anudeep Dev, Hari Gowra, and Krishna Saurabh create a stirring ambiance, echoing the film’s emotional palette. The background score enhances action sequences and tender moments, adding depth to the visuals. Sound design complements the VFX, immersing audiences in Lanka and the Vanara kingdom.
Final Verdict: A Soaring Flight with Bumpy Landings
“Hanuman” is visually stunning, attempting to reimagine the Ramayana. Teja Sajja’s captivating performance and groundbreaking VFX deserve kudos. However, uneven pacing, narrative missteps, and occasional underwhelming CGI hold the film back. It’s a rollercoaster with exhilarating highs and frustrating lows, leaving viewers with a mixed bag of emotions.
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
“Hanuman” is a worthy experiment in mythological retelling, offering a visually stunning and emotionally charged experience. Yet, narrative flaws and occasional VFX hiccups prevent it from achieving iconic status. Nevertheless, it sparks conversation and pushes Tollywood boundaries, leaving audiences wondering if it reached for the sun or merely skimmed the clouds.