It is perhaps but an error of understanding when exaggeration is thought to be extravaganza. Pitiful though is the effect. Worse when you realise that this has been already been tried out (and successfully at that!!) in Tamil already.
The justifiably sparse audience is treated to a ‘sports-fiction’ of one-man heroics – the hero Sanju on whose skill sets a team game depends and succeeds. Films based on sport have a committed viewership – Iqbal, Chak De, Lagan, Bhag Milka come to keep the audience interested and glued. This time round the audience is just waiting for Dinesh Jeevan Kannukolam to fast forward you to the thematically predictable finale where obviously success is the inbuilt warranty labourisly styled for the film.
The average Tollywood viewer is no moron. Only he has been historically treated as one. Our film makers shop for cameras, choreographers and photographers – not for ideas and thoughts. Every Friday we have a hero in love, every Friday he runs into the reluctant heroine, again time he woos her in a manner socio-legally no longer acceptable. He is either a police officer or a no-gooder depending on which Friday he arrives.
Now to the present. Sanju (Sundeep Kishan) lands in Yanam (why Yanam? Why not Yanam). In here is Sports Minister Ramesh (Rao Ramesh) who is the bad guy. Telugu film characters can be characterised by how they are introduced. If they are depicted dramatically getting off a posh car – feet first, dark glasses, etc, then you sure know he is a bad guy. So is it with the Minister. He abets a Pharma company to grab the local hockey stadium. The hockey coach Murali (Murali Sharma) is its watchdog and a zealous protector of the game at the local level. Enter Sanju with all the cinematographic fanfare into Yanam. Lo and behold he falls in love with local hockey enthusiastic Lavanya (Lavanya Tripathi).
Initial rejection leads but to romantic acceptance, rivalry by a ‘no-chance’ competitor. Sanju has a sidekick Satya (Satya Akula) now for support just as he had Priyadarshi and Rahul Ramakrishna in the past. He shuns hockey. Why? That is the seemingly intriguing peep into the past. Finally how the hero outsmarts the evil combo of the corporate and the political big wigs is what A 1 Express offers.
This is a poor go at cinema. What is Lavanya Tripathi doing in the film? Is she still at the stage where she cannot choose? Can she not say no to a script? Murali and ever dependable Rao Ramesh try their best to inject credibility. The script is too weak to help.
The film has a single establishment – Sundeep Kishan. It is obvious that he has trained and made an effort. He is food both in the regular romantic mould and when called upon to do the action role.
A1 Express is no enthu to the sports lover. Watching replays of old games is a better alternative. Go for it only if you want to duck the Montera happening or are a Sundeep Kishan fan.