Long before words like “film theory,” “world cinema,” “plot point,” and “narrative, meaning-making device” were associated with movies in my brain, cinema was only a mode of entertainment. It was just another way to spend a good Sunday, sometimes with parents and sometimes with friends, or it was just an excuse to skip a boring lecture at college. There are certain smells that get etched into our memory, and more often than once, the buttery smell of freshly made popcorn has taken me back to those Sundays which we spent together watching movies in a movie theater. The films that we opted for were often films that starred superstars. These actors were guaranteeing that we would get our money’s worth in entertainment.
The pandemic made us shift to OTT platforms and made us accustomed to watching mostly content-driven films; in a way, we forgot to revere our stars. But the South Indian ecosystem of filmmaking does not forget the audiences’ unconditional love for their stars. In southern India, these stars are worshiped like gods. The audiences support these megastars in their good, bad, and ugly films. The ecosystem allows the solar system to thrive. “Waltair Veerayya” is a showcase of the star power of Telugu superstars like Chiranjeevi and Ravi Teja. The film will not provoke you. It does not challenge you and would not require you to tease your brain cells. At its core, the film is a tale of two step brothers who grew up in two different environments to become a cop and a criminal. Waltair Veerayya, who grew up in a small fishing village in Vizag, smuggled luxury goods under the garb of a fisherman. His stepbrother
Vikram Sagar who is transferred as the ACP near Veerayya’s area of operation, keeps him under his radar, suspecting that perhaps his brother is involved in smuggling loads of cocaine too. Veerayya is a criminal but possesses a sweet demeanor. His right-hand man Kala takes advantage of Veerayya’s trusting nature and begins packaging cocaine packets into ice slabs at Veerayya’s ice manufacturing factory. When a cocaine-contaminated ice slab reaches a school event, it is served to children in their refreshments. Cocaine causes dehydration in children and kills 25 of them. The police department investigates and finds out that Waltair Veerayya is responsible for making the ice slab. He is immediately arrested by the police department.
The public’s rage, on the other hand, demands immediate justice for the dead children. The police headquarters, therefore, decide to kill Veerayya and his gang members (excluding Kala, who manages to escape) in an encounter. By this time, ACP Vikram Sagar had worked out that it was not his brother but Kala who was responsible for the children’s deaths. While Veerayya is locked up, Sagar disguises him as Veerayya and places himself at the top of the list of suspects. Once the policemen charged with the duty of the encounter reach the abandoned dock, there is an ambush conducted by Kala’s men. Vikram’s boss, the Joint Commissioner of Police, joins hands with Kala’s force and declares Vikram, a rogue cop who was along supporting his brother Veerayya. He and Kala manage to fatally wound Vikram. Veerayya, on the other hand, under strange coincidences, gets released from the prison and manages to scare Kala and his men away. Vikram dies, and Veerayya is imprisoned for four years for illegal drug trading. Kala manages to escape to Malaysia, where he becomes a drug lord after overthrowing the local mafia.
Veerayya has been looking for a way to avenge his brother’s death and get Vikram the honor he deserves for his bravery and honesty. So, when an opportunity presents itself with a way to reach Kala, who is nowadays known as Michael Caesar, he grabs at it. A suspended police officer from a village in the highlands of Andhra Pradesh hires Veerayya for killing Michael’s brother and his only weakness Solomon Caesar who has broken out of custody from that little village police station after murdering the policemen who were on duty along with officers from RAW who were in charge of his security. Veerayya manages to kill Solomon and avenges his brother’s death, restoring his reputation as an honest police officer. The film has a high melodramatic pitch with logic that goes haywire. It’s better not to look for reasonable and obvious things to happen but surrender and enjoy the 2 hours 35 minutes star-studded show. Here is a list of the important characters and the cast details of who plays what:
Chiranjeevi As Waltair Veerayya
Waltair Veerayya is a fisherman and a hero for the people of his own community. Under the garb of fishing for a livelihood, he is a smuggler of luxury goods. He doesn’t deal with drugs. His Robin Hood attitude will surely remind you of two Ajay Devgn characters, namely Sultan Mirza from “Once Upon a Time in Mumbai” and the titular character from “Singham.” Veerayya is a sweet goon with human traits but superhuman powers. He can fight numerous armed men simultaneously, but he suffers from vertigo. In a flashback sequence, you will learn that he is estranged from his stepbrother because he could not save him from falling from a lower branch of a tree and breaking his legs because of his vertigo. He goes to extreme lengths to avenge his brother’s death. He commits murder and takes justice into his own hands to restore his brother’s reputation as a brave and honest police officer. In spite of being a marquee criminal, Veerayya also possesses a vulnerable side: he has immense love for his dependents, keeps his promises, and even falls in love with a RAW officer.
Chiranjeevi plays the role of Waltair Veerayya. He is called the megastar of the Telugu industry. Chiranjeevi has also worked in Hindi, Kannada, and Tamil films. A fantastic dancer with excellent breakdancing skills, Chiranjeevi is known for delivering numerous hit films. “Indra,” “Tagore,” “Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy,” and “Shankar Dada, MBBS” are only a few titles that are not sufficient enough to sum up his thirty-five-year-long career.
Ravi Teja As ACP Vikram Sagar
Vikram Sagar is an honest police officer whose name is enough to scare criminals off. He launches a crackdown against drug dealers in Vizag. Although he was estranged from his elder stepbrother, he knew for certain that his brother was not responsible for the deaths of the children. Vikram Sagar is a flat, outrightly positive character who dies before his time. At the end of the film, we understand that he is only a supporting act to Waltair Veerayya’s daredevil actions.
Ravi Teja is another Telugu superstar who is known for his roles in films like “Kick,” “Disco Raja,” “Dhamaka”and “Neninthe”.
Shruti Hassan As Athidhi
Athidhi is a RAW agent. She assumes the role of a grounds manager at Solomon Caesar’s hotel. She is in charge of recapturing Solomon Caesar and dragging him back to India. She has a romantic stint with Veerayya in the film too. Athidhi is athletic and is seen performing fabulous action sequences on screen.
Shruti Hassan plays the role of Athidhi in this film. After debuting in the Hindi film industry with the movie “Luck,” she took a journey southward and is a well-known face in the Telugu film industry today. She is known for her roles in films like “Yevadu,” “3,” and “Ramaiya Vastavaiya.”
Bobby Simha As Solomon Caesar
The film begins with Solomon Caesar’s escape from prison. He murders the on-duty police officers and the RAW agents while breaking out of prison. Waltair Veerayya, in the course of the film, manages to join hands with the RAW agents and murder Solomon. Solomon Caesar is his brother Michael’s (aka Kala’s) only weakness. Veerayya grabbed the opportunity of capturing Solomon only because he wanted to reach Michael.
Bobby Simha is known for his roles in films like “777 Charlie,” “Urumeen,” “Jigarthanda,” and “Soodhu Kavvum.”
Prakash Raj As Michael Caesar AKA Kala
Michael Caesar is the principal villain in the film. The first half and his brother Solomon’s track only feel like a subplot that acts as a good pretext for the outcome of Michael’s life. In their hay days of smuggling, Kala was Waltair Veerayya’s right hand, but he betrayed Veerayya to smuggle cocaine. While making his escape from the police, he murdered Veerayya’s brother Vikram and became a drug lord, conducting his business in and out of Malaysia. Michael is brought to justice by Veerayya.
Prakash Raj is the original villain of our generation. He is an excellent actor known for his roles in films like “Dabbang,” “Singham,” “Bombay,” “Wanted,” “KGF: Chapter 2,” and countless more.
“Waltair Veerayya” is now streaming on Netflix.
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