Revisiting Savaari On Aha, An Overlong, Melodramatic Man-Horse Bromance That Has Its Moments

Director: Saahith Mothkuri

Cast: Nandu, Priyanka Sharma

Savaari, most of the part, is a film narrated by a horse named Badshah. He’s the one who introduces us to his human Raju (Nandu), the lovable nobody who’s been surviving on just one meal a day to be able to afford a heart surgery for Badshah. Between baarats and horse rides on the park, the going is tough for these two but there’s joy and happiness in their lives, even if Raju has a drinking problem. 

This drinking problem is almost a motif in this film, because the heroine Bhaagi (a miscast Priyanka Sharma) too suffers from the same. Like her name suggests, we see her first as the runaway bride who takes off with Badshah to avoid getting married to a 55-year-old man. She drinks because she’s lonely. After her parents die in a car crash, she is raised by her uncle who is the dictionary definition of a terrible stepdad. So when she meet-cutes Raju, one of her first lines to him is “I’m classy and you’re massy”. In case you were wondering, this is another one of those lonely-rich-girl falls in love with poor-guy-with-a-heart-of-gold love stories. 

Revisiting Savaari On Aha, An Overlong, Melodramatic Man-Horse Bromance That Has Its Moments

But the film is aware of how generic this sounds, so it quickly pads it up with a funny sub-plot that involves a gangster, a botched-up kidnapping and a foul-mouthed NRI. We also get an elaborate three-scene setup for one single shit joke, but that’s not the number one problem with this film. It’s just number two.  

The biggest problem is that it just doesn’t know how to handle its drama. Right from the beginning, we’re told that Badshah has a heart problem. But we don’t once get an issue caused by this even though such a thing can function like a ticking time bomb in the screenplay. Even the situation in Bhaagi’s house is written with so many cliches that you don’t ever take it seriously. I mean, she’s got money, she’s independent and free and you wonder why she takes it from them. It’s the same with Raju’s financial situation. We’re told that he’s surviving on bananas to save up money for Badshah but he’s always got money for booze and beedis. I understand how addiction works, but the sequence of scenes is such that you’re never sympathetic to his plight. 

And then we get a series of ultra-generic songs. It’s not that these songs are terrible but no inventiveness has gone into visualising them. And later, the big idea these two come up with to save Badshah is just downright laughable. 

But that doesn’t mean the film doesn’t have heart.  There are some genuine moments when Raju is made to choose between Badshah and Bhaagi, and you really buy it when it’s always about the horse for him. This is partly because of Nandu’s performance. He really really sells the earnestness and there’s love even in the way he shouts “Badshah” each time he’s away. 

Does Nandu scratch his backside a little too much? Butt, of course. Does the man-horse bromance work to an extent? Sure it does. Finally, does it have a good message? Thankfully no. Just a little bit of dressage. 

Also read: 25 Greatest Telugu Films Of The Decade


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