‘Konda Polam’ is Panja Vaishnav Tej’s second film. His first, ‘Uppena’, was a blockbuster success. Based on a novel of the same name by Sannapureddy Venkatrami Reddy, who has also written the screenplay, the movie is directed by Krish Jagarlamudi. It features Rakul Preet Singh along with Sai Chand, Kota Srinivas Rao, Nasser, Annapurna, Hema, Anthony, Ravi Prakash, Mahesh Vitta, Racha Ravi and Anand Vihari.
An endearing fable
At the request of the chief interviewer (Nasser), Kataru Ravindra Yadav (Panja Vaishnav Tej) recalls his travels during an Indian Foreign Service interview at the UPSC in Delhi. Ravindra is from a poor family in Kadapa’s Nallamala forest hamlet. Ravindra’s father (Sai Chand) herds goats. Ravindra is unable to find work in Hyderabad despite completing his engineering and attending software courses in Ameerpet. So he returns to his village. Ravindra, his father, his childhood friend Obulamma (Rakul Preet), fellow villagers played by Ravi Prakash, Hema, Mahesh Vitta and others are forced to enter the Nallamala Forest to perform konda polam due to unforeseen events. Konda polam is the practice of shepherds taking flocks of sheep into the forest. They have to protect themselves and their animals from a tiger and tree smugglers. The entire story revolves around Ravindra, a shy and fearful young man, who overcomes his circumstances to become an IFS officer.
A wonderful story of human triumph
Vaishnav Tej gives an outstanding performance as a failing engineering graduate who regains his confidence to become an IFS officer. In his act, he shows honesty and seriousness. Though there is scope for improvement in his diction. Rakul Preet is stunning as the chirpy village belle Obulamma. In half sarees, she resembles the peasant girl next door. Among the supporting cast, it was a delight to watch Kota Srinivasa Rao.
The film is a rewarding visual and musical experience
Director Krish Jagarlamdi has made a sensitive film about rural hardship. There are some excellent scenes – the rain sequence, Ravindra battling tree smugglers and rescuing a lamb from the tiger. The thundering background score by veteran composer MM Keeravani is one of the film’s key features. Gnana Sekhar’s cinematography captures the magnificent and unspoiled landscapes of Vikarabad Forest and the Anantagiri Hills. Several night-action episodes were shot wonderfully with realistic lighting. Our only grouse is that the VFX involving the tiger cold have been more realistic.
WATCH OR NOT
‘Konda Polam’ is a powerful and moving story of a young villager’s inspirational journey. The key strengths of this rural adventure drama are the actors’ performances and Jagarlamudi’s emotive narrative.
Director: Krish Jagarlamudi
Writer: Sannapureddy Venkatrami Reddy
Cast: Panja Vaishnav Tej, Rakul Preet Singh, Sai Chand, Kota Srinivas Rao, Nasser, Annapurna, Hema, Anthony, Ravi Prakash, Mahesh Vitta, Racha Ravi, Anand Vihari.