Raja (NTR) is a petty thief who abuses Yama Dhrama Raja (Mohan Babu) in an inebriated condition. Yama observes it and makes sure that Raja gets killed in the next few days, though he is entitled for the full life of 100 years. Raja goes to Yamalokam and realizes that he is unjustly killed due to the meanness of Yama. He creates confusion in Yamalokam by stealing Yamapasam as whoever in possession of Yamapasam will become Yama. The rest of the story is all about how senior Yama and Raja try to outsmart each other.
Mohan Babu: It is nice to see Mohan Babu in full form as Yama. His performance and diction in his introduction scene and interval episodes are extraordinary. He once again proved his excellent dialogue delivery skills with this film. His command on pure Telugu is admirable.
NTR: You will see a new NTR in this film. He very slim and supple. His dance movements are fluid and effortless. The way he moves his body to seemingly unbelievable dance movement in Nachore song is amazing. He looks handsome and suited the Yama get-up very well and his dialogues in pristine Telugu (grandhikam) in Yama get-up are excellent. On the flip side, his hair style is inconsistent throughout the film.
Heroines: Priyamani did the role of main heroine who is the heiress of a crores of rupees but gets exploited by her relatives for money. Her role in this film is little unglamorous. She is just fine. Mamata Mohandas does the role of a masala girl. Though she is alright in that character, her dubbing did not suit the nativity of Nellore dialect. Rambha sizzled in an item song and she is hot. Navaneet Kaur, Preeti Jingyani and Archana did the roles of celestial beauties and appeared in a song. Kushboo did the role of Yama's wife.
Others: Ali contributed a lot to the film in entertainment section. His performance as 'koya bomma' is hilarious. Brahmanandam did the role of Chitra Gupta. Jayaprakash Reddy and Raghubabu did the roles of baddies. Narendra Jha is excellent as the baddie. Naresh suited the role of Naradudu very well.
Story - screenplay - direction: The basic premise of the film is a typical Yamagola type. The director added different threads that go in parallel with the main thread. Direction of the film is adequate. He introduced and established all characters well. The screenplay should have been better. Here are the following observations on Yamadonga
The interesting points:
1. The thread of medal. The journey of the medal from the beginning of the film to the end of the film is very well conceived.
2. The heated conversation episode between Mohan Babu and NTR before interval is excellent.
The following points cause a bit of uneasy:
1. Yama characterization: Yama is the short form of Yama 'Dharma' Raju. Yama is supposed to be very fair in whatever he does. But the director has shown Yama Dharma Raju as a mean guy who kills a man to take personal revenge against him. If you look at earlier Yama films, it is Chitra Gupa who does the mistake and Yama tries to resolve the issue. But in this film Yama himself makes mistakes completely aware of it which will make Yama Dharma Raja as Yama Adharma Raja.
2. The premise of having mean family members around heroine is pretty old formula.
The writer seems to have got inspired by the following films to write this story
1. Yamagola: The basic concept of a man going to Yamalokam and coming back.
2. Yamudiki Mogudu: The concept of heroine harassed by uncles for her money. (the dual roles in Yamudiki Mogudu film are replaced with heroine (Priyamani) and Hero character.
3. Maya Bazaar: The Yama character has shades of Ghatodgaja in Maya Bazaar film. The introduction part, Yama embodying himself into lady character etc.
4. Snatch: There is a scene in Snatch film where one guy chases another guy. A visual of cheetah chasing a weak animal is simultaneously shown to get more visual splendor. The same technique is used in this film when hero chases a bad guy.
Art and special effects: These two departments deserve a special mention. The Yama set is glittering like gold and we have never seen filmy Yamalokam in such a visual splendor. The graphics work is extraordinary. They have taken legend NTR from the old movies and inserted in Yamalokam scenes and it is quite believable and NTR's appearance is cheered with thundering applause. The exterior of Yamalokam set is also very good.
Other departments: Cinematography by Senthil Kumar is top-rate. He used the right lighting for all scenes and the camerawork suited the mood of the film. Music by MM Keeravani is another asset. All the songs are good. From the picturization point of view Nachore, Rabbaru Gajulu and Young Yama are excellent. However, the lead scenes to songs are not properly done. Dialogues are adequate (Yama Pasama! Naa Tala Kesama!!) there are some double entendres. Editing is fine. Fights are good. (especially hero intro fight). Production values by Viswamitra creations banner are probably the best ever in Telugu film industry so far. Each frame is visually appealing.
Analysis: First half of the film is entertaining. The second half should have been better. The plus points of the film are Mohan Babu, NTR, sets, cinematography and music. On the flip side, the screenplay of the film is not gripping in second half (after NTR returns to earth). The runtime of the film is pretty lengthy (3.05 hours). Yamadonga is a different film for the mass director Rajamouli. It takes time to sink into the regular moviegoers to know the real verdict.
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reviews of previous 5 films