Entertainment is the buzzword when it comes to films. It can constitute anything from romance, action, violence, song, dance, comedy etc or a blend of all these constituents as the filmmakers believe. It could be loud or subtle. Many a times, a lot is dished out in the form of entertainment. In most cases, it is the stereotypical masala which makes up of all films.
Thulasi is one such masala entertainer with a bit of everything -- love, high voltage action, gory violence, picturesque landscapes (in the first half), numerous songs and dances including a scorching item number, too many villains to ensure high drama, the melodrama element and of course the mainstay -- actors Venkatesh and Nayantara.
In the midst of all this is a heart-warming child Atulit -- a potential child artiste, who provides a breather from all the action.
The story is the usual boy meets girl, woos and marries and thereafter the problems begin. The film goes back and forth in time. Thulasi Ram (Venkatesh) saves a fashion show from being taken over by the goon Basavaraj (Rahul Dev) and in turn beats him and his henchmen. While the models thank him, the fashion designer Vasundhara (Nayantara) does not and walks away. She is cold and does not want to have anything to do with him.
Thulasi then rewinds the clock. He bumps into Vasu at the airport as she is flying with her friends abroad to attend a wedding. The usual happens -- hate at first sight leads to love at the second. After the initial confrontations both Thulasi and Vasu miss flights and trains conveniently and fall in love by the time they reach their destination (somewhat reminiscent of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge) after much singing and dancing in the backdrop of Schonbrunn and Hofburg palaces and other sights in Vienna!
When they get back, they marry and then the whole twists and turns start. After their son is born, the couple part ways. The child Harsha (Atulit) tries to bring the couple together. But wait, there is another turn in the tale.
The main protagonist Thulasi is a character with gentle and violent shades. In the course of trying to finish so many villains of different gangs (at least about eight including Rahul Dev, Ashish Vidyarthi, Jayaprakash Reddy, Allari Ravi) he is always involved in fighting. So, one can imagine the violence in the film which is predominant. Some effort has been put in the orchestration of the fight scenes to impart some newness though it is gut-wrenching most of the time. Too many villains surface in the course of the film to confuse the audience.
The first half of the film is soft and romantic (keeping in tune with Venkatesh's image as he is appreciated by women for his sentimental performances) and the second is just the opposite -- violent most of the time.
Too many songs are inserted for the commercial element. Shriya sizzles in an item number though one wonders why she is appearing increasingly in item numbers in Telugu films these days.
The director Boyapati Seenu heightened the emotional drama in the second half so the film swings from violence to drama and sentiment. The violent aspect of Thulasi's character is justified though one may not subscribe to it.
Vasu is supposed to be a fashion designer but she is never shown practicing that profession.
Coming to the performances, Venkatesh strikes a balance between his soft and violent streaks in his character. He looks menacing in the fight sequences. He puts in a good effort. After a subtle, detailed and intense performance in Adavari Matalaku Ardhale Verule, Venkatesh swings to action comfortably.
Nayantara has a fairly substantial role. As a single mother, she tries hard to keep her child happy. Although she is dressed in saris in the second half (how typical of our filmmakers to dress the heroine in saris once she is married!), the glamour quotient is high in the first half.
Newcomer Atulit is endearing although he is asked to be quite precocious at times.
All the villains do what is expected of them. The comedy track of Ali introduced just to provide some light moments seem rather unwarranted.
The emphasis of director Boyapati Seenu's screenplay is on the hero. And to that extent he is successful. But he does not provide anything new and falls into the commercial trap dishing out the run-of-the-mill fare. The action sequences and the second half are mostly for the mass audiences, and therefore, there is quite a high dose of that.
Thulasi is a hardcore commercial film. One may find similarities with other films too while watching it. If you don't mind watching the routine, clichéd fare, then go for it.