Movie: Zombie Reddy
Banner: Apple Tree Studios
Cast: Teja Sajja, Anandi, Daksha Nagarkar, Prudhvi, Mirchi Hemanth and others
Music: Mark K Robin
Editor: Sai Babu
Art: Sri Nagendra Tangala
Producers: Raj Sekhar Varma
Written and directed: Prasanth Varma
Date of publication: February 5, 2021
Telugu filmmakers have experimented with storylines and genres. Director Prashanth Varma, who debuted a completely different psychological thriller ‘Awe’, has introduced zombies to the Telugu screen.
His latest director Zombie Reddy is Telugu Cinema’s first zombie drama. Let’s analyze.
Mario (Teja Sajja) works as a developer of online games. They see a bug in one of their viral games. Their programmer Kalyan (Mirchi Hemanth) can solve it himself. The problem is: Kalyan is getting married in Kurnool and he cannot rush to Hyderabad. To save time, Mario and his two other colleagues go to Kurnool to have it repaired.
On the way their vehicle hits a man and he bites the hand of Mario’s colleague.
Once they land in Kurnool, Mario learns that a faction leader is waiting to kill Kalyan. He is also introduced to Nandini Reddy (Anandi), who is behaving suspiciously.
Once the wedding ceremony is complete, Mario’s friend turns into a zombie and the whole village becomes infected too. How did Mario escape from this village and how did the villagers turn into zombies?
Performances by artists:
Known for his impeccable performances as a child performer and teenager, Teja Sajja confidently ended the act in a long role as a hero. He fits perfectly into the role of a gamer. However, director Prashanth Varma uses unnecessary slow-motion build-up in places to show heroism.
Anandi is given a meaty role to make her presence felt, and she’s doing a really good job. She is the surprise package. Daksha Nagarkar is okay.
Hemanth as groom and ‘Get-up’ Srinu as group chair cause some laughter.
In his two previous films, director Prashanth Varma has proven to have a strong position in the technical departments. He also gets the best out of his technicians.
The cinematography is perfect. The background score is exciting.
Clueless first half
Over the top scenes
“Zambavati Telusu Gaani Zombie Lendabbi,” Getup Srinu’s character asks when zombies kill him.
Teja Sajja, who plays the protagonist in “Zombie Reddy”, explains the concept of zombies and thus gives an idea to the Telugu audience, as zombies are an alien culture to us. This sequence comes in the middle of the story.
Before the zombies take center stage, Prashanth Varma sets up comic sequences with clichés from faction films.
Much of this part parodies the formulaic sequences of factional dramas such as “Samara Simha Reddy”, “Indra”, “Aadi” and “Narasimha Reddy”. Then there is also a parody of “Narasimha”, “Chandramukhi”, “Kanchana”, “Jambalakidi Pamba” etc.
Prashanth Varma has mixed factional elements with Zombies to connect audiences with this new genre. So it’s like ‘Samarasimha Reddy’ meeting ‘Shaun of the Dead’.
The meaty concept has its merits, but it also goes overboard in many places, which calms the mood. Even towards the end, the film mixes other clichéd elements of science fiction (like a scientist’s experiment that fails), devotional dramas, etc.
In an effort to ‘localize’ the concept of the zombies, the concept becomes another mainstream Telugu movie masala thread.
As mentioned above, director Prashanth Varma presents the opening parts as a parody of faction drama cliches, but also narrates them in a clichéd way. Until the middle part, we cannot connect it with the procedure. Fortunately, he saves the best part in the second half.
Since this genre has never been attempted in Telugu cinema before, it will only appeal to a limited audience. ‘Zombie Reddy’ is not entirely entertaining, but it does offer some fun. There is a novelty factor, but it should have been told in a more engaging way.
Bottom-line: Brain ‘biting’ experience