Om Namo Venkatesaya Movie Review

Release Date : 13-02-2017
Om Namo Venkatesaya Story 3
Screenply 3.25
Direction 3.25
Songs 3
Background Score 3.25

Overall Rating 3.25


For the past few years, veteran K. Raghavendra Rao has confined himself to making devotional films. He does so again with Om Namo Venkatesaya, with Nagarjuna in the lead as he was in Rao’s Annamayya, Sriramadasu and Shiridi Sai.

Om Namo Venkatesaya is the story of Rama (Akkineni Nagarjuna) who is engaged in a search for God. He soon meets a Swami (Sai Kumar) who assures him he will see God and also play with him. He then advises Rama to meditate to seek darshan of God.

One day, a small boy enters Rama’s meditation and disturbs it. Rama realises that the boy is none other than Lord Venkateswara. He immediately sets out for Tirumala to seek darshan of the Lord, but is prevented from this by some baddies under Govinda Rajulu (Rao Ramesh), who throw him out.

Krishnamma (Anushka) tells him to read the Venkateswara Mahatyam, which enlightens him about the Lord. He decides to create awareness among the people about the true nature of the Lord and this impresses Lord Venkateswara so much that he comes down and plays with Rama. They play a betting game in which the Lord loses his jewellery and leaves.

The next day, when the temple doors are opened, the statue of the Lord is found stripped of its jewellery. Rama is suspected. Nobody believes him when he says that he played with the Lord and that’s how the jewellery was lost.

The King gives him a test to prove his innocence. What is that test and how Rama becomes the devotee, Hathi Ram Baba, is what the rest of the film is about.

Director K. Raghavendra Rao, whose films are on devotional subjects, had failed a bit in his last film Shirdi Sai. The latest though, does much better. He sticks to the subject and maintains the devotional theme and feel to the very end. The film peaks in the second half and is narrated in an interesting way. The climax and the Venkateswara kalyanam song are superb and underline the director’s expertise in handling of such subjects.

The choice of TV actor Sourabh Jain to play Lord Venkateswara was an inspired one as he and Nagarjuna have interacted very well. This is his first Telugu film and he instantly proves that he is an asset. Nagarjuna’s performance is excellent. These days, he is the only Telugu film actor who still acts in different genres, including devotionals. The film rides mainly on his shoulders and he will definitely earn praise for his performance irrespective of the collections.

Anushka as Krishnamma is impressive. Rao Ramesh has done a neat job. Jagapathi Babu and Pragya Jaiswal appear in cameos. Sampath, Vennela Kishore, and Raghu Babu are all adequate in their roles.

Another highlight of this film is the music provided by the famous M.M. Keeravani. The score is important in a devotional film as it sets the feel and tone of the film and Keeravani has grasped that. S. Gopal Reddy’s cinematography is also very good. The visuals of thick forests and hills add to the atmosphere in the film.

But on the downside, some of the comic scenes are a little forced. The Jabardast team’s comedy scenes are a massive waste and the scenes with Brahmanandam dont impress either. Making Ramesh Rao and others speak in accented Telugu was unnecessary. But overall, in the first half, the film feels like a travel documentary.

Om Namo Venkatesaya tells you everything you wanted to know about Tirumala, like the everyday rituals. With Nagarjuna’s peak performance, Raghavendra Rao’s visual treats, and Sourabh Jain’s stunning debut, this is a good film to watch, especially if you like devotional films.