Movie Rating: 2.5/5
Story: Narasimha (Jai Simha) is a man on the run with his one-year-old son. He reaches Kumbakonam and stays at the house of the village temple’s dharma karta’s house. But while there, he bumps into Gowri (Nayantara) who seems to dislike him for some reason, despite being his childhood friend. A death row inmate Rami Reddy (Ashutosh Rana) also seems to hold a grudge against Narasimha. Who is Narasimha and what did he do to make so many enemies?
Review: ‘Jai Simha’ is not a love story nor is it a family drama. It is purely a film made to elevate Balakrishna and his character Narasimha. His character and larger-than-life persona even overshadow the plot that seems right out of a retro film. This is Balayya’s film through and through, and there’s simply no space for anything else.
Narasimha is a do-gooder rowdy with a golden heart, who only beats up people when it serves a greater good. His character has taken it upon himself to be the saviour of Visakhapatnam, the city he resides in, and punish those who sin. The rapists, murderers, abusers, even the medical mafia all get what they deserve, all thanks to him. A man like that is unlikely to be left without making an enemy out of the wrong crowd. But his character’s most admirable trait is his unselfish and sacrificial love for Gowri.
Gowri (Nayantara) is his classmate and childhood sweetheart. The two grow up together and it’s only natural that they fall in love. But, Narasimha is too scared to ask Gowri’s father (Prakash Raj), the headmaster of the school they studied in, for her hand. Her father doesn’t seem to approve of him either. Gowri is a teacher, while Narasimha is a mechanic/rowdy and her father wants his daughter to have a safe and sound life.
For no reason other than to fill time and sing duets with our hero, Natasha Doshi and Haripriya also exist in this film. He seems to be fond of these two ladies too, even if his ‘one true love’ is, and will always remain to be Gowri. Natasha Doshi is the daughter of Murali Krishna (Murali Mohan), whose house Narasimha stays at. Because she’s a ‘foreign return’, she must wear skimpy clothes and do drugs. But because this is a Balakrishna film, she must also change for the better and immediately begin wearing langa vonis and visit temples in penance. Haripriya is a worker at Narasimha’s garage and a daughter figure turned wife, in the most bizarre twist in the history of Telugu cinema. She literally runs to his beck and call and is all too happy to be married to him.
To reveal more would be a great injustice to the film, as this is a story that must be watched on-screen, even if just for the nostalgia and entertainment factor. Despite all the preachy dialogues and sporadic draggy bits, one cannot accuse ‘Jai Simha’ of not being entertaining enough. The film is filled with twists and turns that will make one sit up and take notice, if only to be disappointed by the pay-off. Balakrishna plays a role he has played a million times before and the story draws to a conclusion with a twist that isn’t exactly surprising either.
The first half of ‘Jai Simha’ sets the pace for the film well, making one curious to where this is all heading. But post-interval, the film takes not just a predictable path, but also a borderline nonsensical one. Brahmanandam is a delight to watch on-screen, even if the comedic track seems forced in an otherwise serious film. The song ‘Ammakutti’ draws wolf-whistles from the crowd, for Balayya’s moves and the massy lyrics, but the rest of the songs are lukewarm. ‘Jai Simha’ is good for a one-time watch, and is purely just for the ‘Jai Balayya’ fans.