Shehzada is a remake of Trivikram Srinivas’ 2020 Telugu film, Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo.
I was quite puzzled about the release date of this film since I was under the notion that it would be released on February 10, 2023, but it was only after viewing the trailer again that I obtained clarification on the date. Shehzada was originally supposed to be released in theatres on February 10, 2023, but was delayed a week due to the success of Pathaan.
WHAT I LIKE
The performance of Paresh Rawal as Valmiki in the film is superb. He surpasses Murali Sharma in the original with his performance, which is quite impressive. The only character I enjoyed in the film was Paresh Rawal.
Kriti Sanon as Samara and Manisha Koirala as Yashoda ‘Yashu’ Nanda do a good enough job with what was provided. Even though their performance and execution are really nothing compared to Pooja Hegde and Tabu, they performed well enough that those who haven’t seen the original film won’t be disappointed.
WHAT I DISLIKE
The dialogue and editing were both disappointing. There are certain dialogues lifted directly from the original film that either didn’t work in Hindi or were delivered ineffectively. The editing of this film looks like it was done haphazardly.
Several of the alterations in this film bothered me. A number of the original film’s classic moments are either removed or done extremely poorly. I’m not sure why the filmmakers opted to remove the boardroom scene, which was one of the most famous sequences in the original. The Jayaram-Allu Arjun encounter that leads to Jayaram’s character mending up his damaged relationship with Tabu’s character has no impact in this film. I also don’t understand the need to remove Valmiki’s wife from this film. These are merely three instances amongst the many.
Sunny Hinduja as Sarang was not convincing as the villain. I couldn’t believe this 37-year-old bodybuilder in a suit would be carrying an umbrella everywhere he went. Him stabbing Ronit Roy in the chest with the umbrella was inadvertently humorous, and the VFX are awful.
The comedy in this movie is quite underwhelming. I’m not sure whether the humour in this film will resonate with individuals who haven’t seen Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo, but I can claim with utmost certainty that the comedy in the original is considerably superior to this film, both in regards to timing and execution.
The songs in this film are considerably inferior to those in the original. Every song in the original made me feel something, but the music in this film made me feel nothing. The placement of the “Shehzada Title Track” felt rather cartoonish, since it took away the emotional weight that the original carried when Bantu first enters the palace. The song “Character Dheela 2.0” is pointless given that it’s placed in the end credits and lacks the energy of Salman Khan’s “Character Dheela” song.
The actor who portrays Sushanth’s role in the original film, Ankur Rathee, is quite awful. It appeared as though this movie was spitting on the original character because the character in this film was made to be much too juvenile and poorly executed.
Nivetha Pethuraj’s character, who played Raj’s love interest in the original film, is absent in this version. The roles of Harsha Vardhan and Sunil, played by Ashwin Mushran and Ali Asgar, are depicted as cartoons and lack the charm and credibility of the original ensemble. Rajpal Yadav, who takes on the role of Rajendra Prasad, is a literal, unfunny joke.
Kartik Aaryan as Bantu is decent in the dramatic parts, but he never comes anywhere near Allu Arjun’s style and mass appeal. The action in this film moves at such a quick and abrupt pace that you never get a chance to appreciate the style and execution that the original so skillfully put together. In the entire film, I never felt connected to this film’s Bantu, but just the visual of Allu Arjun’s Bantu holding the Pumpkin in the Rickshaw was enough for me to connect with the character in Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo. I’m not sure if it’s Rohit Dhawan’s fault for not properly directing him or Kartik Aaryan’s fault for not grasping who Bantu is as a character. Whatever the reason, he was unable to match Allu Arjun in terms of character or execution, and his performance as a whole was not as engaging as it may have been.
I enjoy watching Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo several times because of the characters, dialogues, songs, and character interactions. It’s not a flawless film by any means, but it’s a lot of fun to watch again and again. Unfortunately, this is not the case with this remake. Apart from a few decent dramatic moments and Paresh Rawal’s portrayal of Valmiki, this film fails to meet the standards of the original.
Even as a solo flick, it’s a one-time watch at most and a highly forgettable film, which adds to the sorrow. This film turned a wholesome, mass, family entertainer into a caricature of what the original represented.
If you like Kartik Aaryan and/or Kriti Sanon and haven’t seen it yet in theatres, I recommend waiting for the OTT release and avoiding watching it at theatres. Anybody else can just watch Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo, which already exists on the OTT platform.