NOTA - Movie Review

Friday, October 5, 2018 - 13:00
NOTA (2018)
Cast & Crew: 

Film: NOTA
Cast: Vijay Devarakonda, Mehreen Pirzada, Nassar, Sathyaraj, Yashika Aannand, Anastasia Maslova , Sanchana Natarajan, Priyadarshi and others
Music: Sam C.S.
Cinematography: Santhana Krishnan Ravichandran
Editing: Raymond Derrick Crasta
Banner: Studio Green
Producer: K.E. Gnanavel Raja
Written and directed by: Anand Shankar
CBFC Rating: UA
Release date: October 5, 2018
Running Time: 149 mins

What’s it about!
A youngster Varun (Vijay Deverakonda) becomes CM all of a sudden when his father is facing corruption allegations. His father Vasudev (Nasser) hopes to take the CM chair after getting his name cleared  in the enquiry in a month. Varun takes the help of Mahadev (Sathya Raj) to run the show. However, Varun is entangled in a situation to become full-time CM. From who would he be facing problems? From his own father?
Director Anand Shankar’s previous film was ‘Inkokkadu’ starring Vikram and it was Hollywood-style thriller that had some style but lacked any wow moments. His new film ‘NOTA’ starring Vijay Deverakonda is a generic political thriller with the shades of recent Mahesh Babu’s movie ‘Bharat Ane Nenu’, which itself was loosely based on ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’ and ‘The American President’.
The director has picked up basic premise of ‘NOTA’ that would well suit to Vijay Deverakonda’s current image. Here in the film he is seen as “Rowdy CM” in some scenes. This is exactly the image that Vijay Deverakonda has. However, the director has failed to weave better scenes to play around this. Since this is basically Tamil film, all the scenes and situations are related to Tamilnadu politics which have not paid off in Telugu.
After establishing the protagonist as carefree youth who has become CM reluctantly, the director puts the hero in a situation that awakens him. He feels responsible as a CM but the later scenes have again diluted his characterization. The character arc of Vijay Deverakonda is uneven and lacks heroism. The acts that he does as CM are too generic. There is no emotional connect with them.
The film also suffers from strong villain. By end of the movie, when the two flashback stories of Satya Raj and Nasser are finished, Vijay Deverakonda is reduced to just another character but not as a ‘hero’ of the story. Added to this, the whole exercise of Priyadarshi going offshore to hack the Panama accounts and the Swamiji’s drama mess the proceedings further.
Although the director has tried to tell the movie without any duets or romantic thread, it makes us feel unnecessary to have Mehreen even in those three or four blink-and-miss scenes.
The film basically suffers from the situations that way appeal to the Telugu politics or Telugu land. However, certain scenes in the second half are gripping. There are some moments that would have worked had the director re-shot them to suit the Telugu nativity. He has missed that opportunity. 
Within short gap, Vijay Deverakonda has proved his versatile acting prowess from ‘Pelli Choopulu’ to ‘Arjun Reddy’ to ‘Geetha Govindam’. Here as a young politician, he has shown his mettle again. He shines once again. Sathya Raj and Nasser both in their roles have done superb job.
Mehreen has nothing much to do here. Sanchana Natarajan as woman opposition leader is okay.
The film has good background musical score by Sam CS but his songs are not appealing at all. Cinematography is rich. So are the production values.
Director Anand Shankar has told this in a manner that may appeal to Tamil audiences but his narration bores us in Telugu. 
Bottom-line: NOTA’ is a political thriller that has scenes and situations that are in no way related to Telugu politics. This may work in Tamil but it may not interest the Telugu audience at all. Vijay Deverakonda shines, but the film is not engaging.

Reviewed by: 
J Gudelli