Maska lays bare the fact there seems to be a dearth of fresh ideas /themes in Telugu cinema. The film, a commercial one, seems to be rehash of stuff already seen before. The watchable element of the film is certainly the hero Ram.
M S Raju, the producer, has tried through his screenplay (he takes the credit for it) to infuse some liveliness and novelty but it does not really sustain the interest of the viewer. The film and the climax are pretty predictable and the climax is rather tame too.
Two politicians Shivaji Shinde (Pradeep Rawat) and Simhachalam (Mukesh Rishi) are vying for a ministerial berth. Simhachalam even forsakes his wife after having a daughter to marry a rich woman for the sake of politics and ministership which is revealed later.
This girl Meenakshi (Hansika) falls in love with Krishnakant Jagarlamudi (Ram) who is not well educated and unemployed. Simhachalam's other daughter Manju (Sheela) too falls in love with Ram. Actually Ram initially tries to fall in love with Manju as she gets a visa to go abroad as he feels this is the best way to go abroad. But later he changes his mind and starts loving Meenakshi. Rather it's a case of him applying maska (buttering) to both. The movie is all about who will marry Ram and who will ascend the minister's post.
Actually it's quite a simple love triangle. The director B Gopal and M S Raju try to create the twists which are predictable. The whole love aspect about how Ram changes his mind is not too clear. The introductory scenes of Ram seem a bit unconnected initially to the main thread but are fairly well executed particularly some of the action sequences.
Songs and dances are choreographed and shot well against picturesque backdrops. The narration tends to drag now and then and punctured often with the usual songs. There is not much humour and comedians like Ali, Krishna Bhagavan and M S. Narayana seem to have nothing much to do in terms of their roles.
Sekhar V Joseph's camera work needs mention. Chakri's done a fairly good job too.
The saving grace of the film seems to be Ram. He is cool, casual and effortless. He is brilliant in the dances and equally effective in action too. However, his spirited performance cannot salvage a film whose script has nothing much new to offer. Ram is certainly to be watched out for in the future.
Hansika is just about okay for the role. She exudes oomph in the songs. Sheela has an image makeover from her earlier film Parugu. In Maska one sees her in more glamorous and 'skimpy' outfits as compared to Parugu where she was dressed in traditional attire. Acting-wise, Sheela is okay too. Sunil, who plays Ram's friend, is his usual self. Jhansi, who plays Ram's sister-in-law, speaks with a Nellore accent and is a bit too loud at times. Mukesh Rishi and Pradeep Rawat play the regular villainish roles -- they can just sleep walk through them.
In conclusion Maska disappoints and is not a great Sankranti offering from M S Raju and B Gopal. One expected something certainly better.