A character in Baba Bangaram describes the hero (Venkatesh) thus: “What if Mother Teresa was born again and became a police officer? That’s ACP Krishna for you.” True to the title, ACP Krishna is a police officer with a heart of gold. He avoids hurting anyone, even criminals.
In his introduction scene, Krishna waterboards a criminal. The criminal catches a cold. Krishna immediately takes him to a hospital, and even pays the medical bills.
The story of this friendship is the story of Babu Bangaram.
Director Maruthi’s Bhale Bhale Magadivoy was a huge success, thanks to its never-ending barrage of genuinely funny jokes. The plot was wafer thin and the comedy revolved around references to popular old movies. But it worked.
Maruthi attempts a repeat performance with Babu Bangaram. But because of the film’s overall serious theme, the comic scenes are mostly jarring. Though not all. The orange merchant Prudhvi’s attempts at wooing Nayanthara are quirky and fun. The omnipresent Brahmanandam’s late entry as a magician was also well-received. As always, that’s the only portion of his they cheer for.
No Telugu film is complete without references to other films these days. Babu Bangaram has plenty, mostly to older Venkatesh films. The film opens with Venkatesh in his costume from Suryavamsham. There are songs from his old films, calling him ‘Bobbili Raja’ and a song that goes ‘Venkatesa Venkatesa‘.
By the end, we are left wondering if this is a new film, or a tribute to Venkatesh’s career.
Nayanthara, looking beautiful (thanks to some outstanding work from her stylist), had one audience member whimpering ‘wow’ and ‘pah’ every time she appeared on screen. Sadly, that was all her severely underwritten character Shailaja had going for her. She fends off questions about her missing father, and falls in love with Krishna. And does little else.
The second half, in particular, lets the film down. After an unexpected interval reveal, the film goes from borderline thriller to a farce with jokes masquerading as villains. Posani Murali Krishna was getting laughs from the beginning. But Sampath Raj, who does some terrorising in the first half, is reduced to comical head bobbing alongside Krishna’s antics by the end.
From the cast’s performances, to the way the plot is twisted to look funny for the audience, everything is a forgettable exaggeration. The only memorable portion is the ‘Ayyo Ayyo Ayyayoo’ dialogue that Venkatesh says every five minutes. If only the Mother Teresa in him had some consideration for the audience.
The Babu Bangaram review is a Silverscreen original article.