Verdict: Varun Tej gives a riveting performance in a massy overhaul.

Gaddalakonda Ganesh, which was Valmiki until a couple of hours before it’s release, had to change the title amidst some dramatic circumstances. Director Harish Shankar and Mega Prince Varun Tej team up together for the first time with a remake of a Tamil blockbuster, Jigarthanda. Let’s see if they have lived up to the original.

What’s Gaddalakonda Ganesh About:

Abhilash (Atharvaa) is a struggling assistant director who aspires to become a movie director someday. Armed with an intent to make a never-seen-before movie, he decides to make a movie on a dreaded gangster, Gaddalakonda Ganesh (Varun Tej). In this process, he gets to know him closely and eventually reveals to Ganesh that he is making a movie based on his life story. However, the twist in the tale occurs when Ganesh wants him to be the hero of the movie as opposed to a gangster. How Abhilash accomplishes his mission forms the rest.

What Works:

Varun Tej pulls off a fantastic act in his massy avatar. His make-over, voice modulation, and menacing looks make all the mega mass fans fall head-over-heels in love with him. Pooja Hegde gets a relatively shorter role and excels in the retro song. Atharva Murali pulls off a decent act and his love interest, Mrinalini Ravi, is impressive. Satya was the pick of the lot among the comedians and Brahmaji was adequate. Director Harish Shankar has done justice to the original and the changes he made to suit the native audience work well. Mickey J Meyer’s album is a surprise package and the background score is fantastic. Harish has not just transformed Varun but even Mickey J Meyer. Ayanka Bose’s cinematography elevates the mood and all the frames look glossy, despite the fact that it is a movie based in a rural area. The production values are top-notch, as every penny spent shows off on the screen.

What Could Have Been Better:

Editing could have been crisper, as a few scenes seemed to drag. A shorter run-time would’ve done wonders for the film.

Why You Should Watch:

Gaddalakonda Ganesh is a treat for mega mass fans and is a welcome change for Varun Tej as he has gone from his class image to a massy avatar. With the kind of performance he has delivered, Varun Tej has opened a new dimension to all the aspiring directors who wish to direct him in the future. In a nutshell, Gaddalakonda Ganesh lives up to the original.