Puri Jagannadh started his career as an Assistant Director to Ram Gopal Varma. His directorial debut, Badri, starring Pawan Kalyan in the lead role was a blockbuster. At present, he is among top Telugu directors, popular for movies such as Badri, Idiot, Pokiri etc.
Puri Jagannadh is popular for the styling of actors, hero characterization, extremely casual yet intense dialogues and routine storylines. The hero elevation, romance and comedy are his trademarks.
He takes extreme care in styling actors and it gives a complete makeover to popular actors. His movies Super, Pokiri and Desamuduru presented actors Nagarjuna, Mahesh Babu and Allu Arjun in a completely new look. Many people believe that Puri Jagannadh popularized the concept of first look with his styling and makeover. Even though the styling looks refreshing, he doesn’t show much diversity in costumes except for the songs. So, the lead actors look similar through out the movie without any random changes.
The hero characterization is his trademark to the extent that if any similarities are found in other movies, the critics label it Puri style characterization. The lead actors in almost all his movies are arrogant, careless and rebellious. He revolutionized the way heroes are seen on screen. Sometimes the characters tend to be too extreme that they look like villains. Several Directors have been copying him since his debut, but none of them could reach the levels of intensity in his films. He is still considered one of the best Telugu directors in presenting star heroes in movies.
The dialogues are an asset to his films. The Quentin Tarantino style of short yet intense dialogues elevate his movies to the next level. The mixture of philosophy, sarcasm and emotions gives his dialogues a tone that’s unique to him. The phrase ‘Puri mark dialogues’ is used by critics to review similar dialogues by other writers. No wonder most debut writers copy his style in writing screenplay and dialogues.
The romance in his movies is mostly mere stalking. The review writers and audience criticized him several times for the portrayal of women in his movies. His protagonists generally fall in love at first sight, who eventually pursues heroine through stalking. He narrated almost all his stories in hero’s point of view, so we don’t get to see the perspective of heroines. Nevertheless, this has become a trend and many other writers followed this structure for their movies.
Puri Jagannadh generally uses a separate track for comedy in his movies. The audience criticized it several times. He tried to write comedy as a part of the story in movies like Heart attack, Loafer and Paisa vasool, but it didn’t work. The actor Ali plays a significant role in almost all his movies. He used to specially design roles for Ali, and they both are good friends.
The hero characterization in all his movies is monotonous. It worked out very well in his early career but has turned out to be the biggest threat to his film career. It appears like he couldn’t get out of his regular characterization to try something different. This also led to his downfall primarily in A centers and overseas.
Apart from that, his recent stories lack substance and he writes only to glorify and elevate heroism. They look good as multiple scenes, but they don’t make any sense as a story. Nowadays, he ridicules villains to elevate hero. The villains however powerful they may be, they fear the hero. For example, the villain in Paisa Vasool is a mafia don who kills tens of agents. But is scared of hero after knowing that he is an agent. The fights too are an exaggeration with unrealistic stunts that are completely opposite of his early movies like Badri, Idiot, Amma Nanna O Tamil Ammayi etc.
The philosophy based on his personal beliefs gets a place in most of his movies. He essays the philosophy regardless of the characterization of hero and the scene. The audience initially encouraged it but this became monotonous over the years. He showcased his jealousy for several Hollywood films through dialogues in some movies. He made fun of the most successful Hollywood movies like Jaws, Titanic etc in his movies.
His movies have no place for logic. Several scenes like street thugs walking into the Govt offices or the house of politicians and shooting at them is pretty common in his movies. This is because he never finds these characters important and doesn’t write backstories for them. Almost all these characters are insignificant in his movies, but in story that looks completely illogical.
He never focussed on his career as a Director of Telugu movies. After his debut with a star hero Pawan Kalyan and that too after a blockbuster, he made his second movie with Jagapathi Babu in lead role with a nonsensical movie. This wouldn’t be a big deal if the script demands an actor like Jagapathi Babu, but Puri Jagannadh is completely careless like the characters in his movies. As if this is not enough, he made his Third movie in Kannada, then the Fourth movie in Telugu with Ravi Teja, and again the next movie in Kannada. Then he had a successful career in Telugu but had a disaster in the name of Andhrawala. At such a time, he made his Bollywood debut with a remake of Badri.
After Pokiri, he had a lean phase in career for several years. During this time, he Directed a Bollywood movie with Amitabh Bachhan in lead role, Buddah hoga Tera baap, which was just a forgettable film and didn’t help his career in Bollywood. Then he had a string of failures which restricted him to be a medium range Director. His recent Telugu movie Mehbooba starring his son, Akash Puri, is no better than his previous movies. It seems like Puri Jagannadh has lost his charm over the years.
Puri Jagannadh needs a strong comeback to prove himself. With a string of nonsensical films in a row, he has lost his market and became a struggling Director. He should stop making 2-3 films a year and seriously work on a single project that can bring him back to his position. It is even better if considers Directing the stories of other writers which can provide much needed change in his movies.