HanuMan, the inaugural film in director Prasanth Varma’s superhero universe, adheres to the familiar superhero narrative where an underdog character is granted superpowers to combat an antagonist seeking to exploit those powers for destructive purposes. The film, drawing inspiration from the Ramayana, weaves a Chandamama-like tale with pop-culture references and massive elements typical of Telugu cinema.
The story unfolds in Anjanadri, a town in the parallel world of Akhand Bharath, contrasting the technological world of the antagonist Michael (Vinay Rai) with the natural beauty of Anjanadri. The protagonist, Hanumanthu (Teja Sajja), a carefree young man living with his sister Anjamma (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar), becomes the underdog thrust into a battle between good and evil.
The film takes its time to establish the narrative, acknowledging influences from Marvel and DC superhero films. Hanumanthu’s transformation into a superhero occurs gradually, with convincing visuals despite occasional discrepancies in the latter half. Teja Sajja impresses with his energetic screen presence, transitioning from a carefree character to a hero realizing his potential for greater good.
The film cleverly incorporates elements of democracy and empowerment through characters like Meenakshi (Amritha Aiyer) and Anjamma, grounding the narrative in relatable themes. The screenplay introduces fun moments, especially in action sequences, showcasing the village’s vibrant atmosphere.
References from the Ramayana contribute to clapworthy moments, blending faith with mainstream cinema tropes. The film’s warm hues and symbolic imagery enhance the superhero experience, while a nod to popular stars reinforces the association of screen heroes with superpowers.
Despite budget constraints evident in some visual effects, the narrative maintains emotional gravitas, keeping the audience engaged. The climax, though visually ambitious, falls short, but this minor flaw does not overshadow the film’s overall impact.
Teja Sajja’s assured performance, supported by a strong cast including Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Getup Srinu, and Amritha Aiyer, contributed to the film’s success. The score by Gowra Hari complements the emotional beats of the story.
HanuMan concludes by teasing another superhero film, leaving audiences curious about the team’s future endeavors. Notably, the film avoids overtly capitalizing on religious sentiments, presenting an entertaining, homegrown superhero story that seamlessly integrates cultural elements with contemporary themes.
Cast: Teja Sajja, Amritha Aiyer, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Vinay Rai Directed by: Prasanth Varma