In Sarkaru Vaari Paata, Mahesh (played by Mahesh Babu) makes a living by lending loans in Miami. When Mahesh was young, he saw his family getting crushed under the weight of unpaid dues on the loans his father had taken for farming. One morning, the young Mahesh wakes up to his father and mother hanging from the roof of his house as they couldn’t stand to see their farmland get auctioned by the government. So they decide to quit on life and leave their only son behind with just Rs 1 to his name. The young Mahesh makes that Rs 1 his identity and he finds refuge in an orphanage. Cut to the next scene, we see Mahesh, now fully grown up and in full control of his life, he is minting money as a private moneylender. How did he reach the position he is in today? The film never really cares to explain.
Money is everything to Mahesh. He values it more than love and friendship. Or that’s what he thinks. But, the moment he bumps into Kalavathi (Keerthy Suresh), who is dressed in a traditional saree with a conservative hairstyle complete with thousands of jasmine flowers, he loses his focus. Kalavathi taps into Mahesh’s dormant fantasy and he doesn’t hide his bias towards girls who dress modestly. So much so that he even goes against his professional values and ethics from him to lend Kalavathi the money she asks for without any documents. It would be too late before he finds out that Kalavathi had dressed to deceive him. And his heart is broken into a thousand pieces when he finds out that Kalavathi wears modern clothes and goes to pubs, drinks and gambles. He wonders, “Is she a woman?” His reactions to him scream a big no.
Kicked back to his senses by finding out the true character of Kalavathi, Mahesh decides to keep it professional. “Give back my $10,000 now?” I have demands. And Kalavathi tells something to the effect of showing him the middle finger. But, Mahesh cannot accept defeat without a fight. He decides to fly to India and collect the money from Kalavathi’s father Rajendranath (Samuthirakani). Rajendranath is a big shot in Vizag and has all the central ministers in his pocket from him. Mahesh, however, doesn’t care. He’s determined to get his money back, regardless of the kind of muscle and political power that Rajendranath wields.
But, on his way to India, something changes. Now, Mahesh doesn’t want Rajendranath to pay him the Indian equivalent of $10,000. But, he wants Rs 10,000 crore from him.
Sarkaru Vaari Paata talks about the growing menace of rich people defaulting on bank loans, the government-corporate nexus that enables such financial crimes and how the burden inflicted on the banking system by bad loans is shifted to hard-working, law-abiding and docile citizens. And it is narrated through a conservative template of a “masala movie” with customary fight scenes, song sequences and punchlines that add little to no value to our experience. Of course, if you are a hardcore fan of Mahesh Babu and him shouting, “I am a whale” (although, “I am a (loan) shark” would have sounded more punchy and appropriate) is enough to meet your expectations of entertainment , then you are in for a treat.
Director-writer Parasuram expects the audience to cut a lot of slack for the way he narrates the story of Sarkaru Vaari Paata. The biggest compromise he expects us to make is to pay no attention to the film’s structural issues, including a sense of time and place. The hero’s character feels constantly suspended in mid-air, owing to the mindless continental hoping. And it has robbed the movie of a sense of stability even though the subject that it discusses has a sense of urgency and reliability.
Sarkaru Vaari Paata movie director: Parasuram
Sarkaru Vaari Paata movie cast: Mahesh Babu, Keerthy Suresh
Sarkaru Vaari Paata movie ratings: 2 stars