'Sahasam' - desi version of 'Indiana Jones'

Film: "Sahasam"; Cast: Gopichand, Taapsee Pannu, Shakti Kapoor, Ali and Suman; Director: Chandrasekhar Yeleti; Rating: **1/2

For starters, the reason "Sahasam" is being compared with "Indiana Jones" is not because it's neither the copy of it nor even half as good as it. It's simply because it's a reasonably better Telugu film made along the lines of the Hollywood flick.

Wielding the megaphone after four years, National award-winning director Chandrasekhar Yeleti gives Telugu audiences an appetising desi flavour with technical finesse that is certainly better than several meaningless films that come week after week, but doesn't quite leave an impact.

Gautham, played by Gopichand, works as a security guard and aspires to earn easy money through lottery until one day, when he comes to learn about a hidden a treasure trove of 900 diamonds and other ornaments in Hingalji Devi temple housed in Pakistan.

When Gautham discovers that his grandfather Suryanarayana Varma buried the treasure years ago, it becomes his sole responsibility to lawfully claim what belongs to him. As the title suggests, does Gautham have the bravery in him to fight for the treasure amidst several obstacles along the way? This forms the rest of the story.

"Sahasam" stays away from the usual, melodramatic love saga and instead focuses on developing an engrossing story of a treasure hunt. This is one of the reasons why you don't regret watching it even though it's partly cliched.

A look at Yeleti's short filmography reveals that the director hasn't made two films in the same genre. This in itself is a rarity among filmmakers, who are nowadays driven by the never ending urge to make love stories with two heroines, a flashback and an invincible hero. This has been the definition of Telugu cinema for many years now.

Luckily that phase is gradually fading out, allowing a new crop of filmmakers to bear the onus and give us films that don't just entertain but inspire.

"Sahasam" also marks the comeback of Gopichand, especially after a series of flops. He makes the best use of this opportunity in his tailor-made role that merges action and humour to give an overall satisfying output.

The film has a rollercoaster in its first half, but the following half doesn't quite seem as exciting as the first. The last half hour that eventually leads to the climax, is the best 30 minutes of the film. Watch out for it!

The film's technical brilliance is breathtaking, especially the visuals in Ladakh are out of this world. Shyam Dutt's cinematography is truly a visual experience worth every buck. Also helping the film gain some attention is the background by Sri.

Shakti Kapoor shines in his role and proves why he is the most underrated villains of Indian cinema. Tapsee Pannu barely has any part to play, while the rest of the cast was decent in their roles.

"Sahasam" is certainly not Yeleti's best and not even his worst yet. It's a film you will enjoy if you happen to watch, but wouldn't mind even if you don't watch.

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