Khaleja is a 2010 Telugu action comedy film starring Mahesh Babu and Anushka Shetty in lead roles. Singanamala Ramesh produced the film and Trivikram Srinivas directed it.
A village soothsayer sends Siddappa in search of a man who could to protect their village from an epidemic. Raju is a cab driver who ends up in Rajasthan after his failed meetings with a girl named Subhashini and he witnesses an accident. A stranger stabs him and Siddappa rescues him. Siddappa takes him to their village believing that he is the man destined to save them. Raju initially refuses to accept but eventually agrees to find the reasons behind epidemic and help them. What happens next forms the rest of the story.
Mahesh Babu plays the role of Alluri Seetarama Raju alias Raju, a cab driver. He is quirky, compassionate and aimless. He travels to Rajasthan for Rs 1 Lakh but eventually gives up on the money. The circumstances bring him to a rural village in Andhra Pradesh named Pali where he is hailed as a God. He tries to convince people that he is an ordinary cab driver but eventually decides to help them. His investigation leads him to GK. He ends up killing GK for protecting the village. The character is linear and is heavily commercialized. It is a poorly developed character acting according to the situation. The lack of flaws and ambitions make the character uninteresting.
Anushka Shetty plays the role of Subhashini, a rich girl. Her character is extremely fabricated. She lacks a story of her own and is used only for love track. Her lifestyle, friends or activities were never shown in the movie. In fact, she barely has any independent scenes of her own without Mahesh Babu. And most importantly, her character doesn’t have anything to do with the central conflict and is always shown accompanying the protagonist.
Prakash Raj plays the role of GK, a businessman, willing to destroy entire village for money. His character is linear and has limited scope and runtime. He doesn’t change over the course of film and is used mostly as an idea rather than a person. Among many rogue characters, his role stands out as he is portrayed in a controlling position.
Almost all other roles are minor and linear. Most of these characters don’t take story forward. They are involved purely for the sake of entertainment.
There are 3 major tracks in the film with more or less equal importance. The first track is love story between Mahesh Babu and Anushka. It is intrusive into the major plot of the movie. Except for a few references to the antagonist, the love track is totally unrelated to the theme. The second track is the goal of antagonist to mine Iridium from the village. This track is stuffed mostly in pre-climax and confuses the audience. It is linked to a temple in Rajasthan and they tried to give an explanation, which utterly failed. In fact, there is a city named Pali in Rajasthan. The makers have probably changed it to Andhra Pradesh which disoriented the plot. The third track is the villagers searching for and finding a saviour. It is the major track and is the central theme of the film. The film starts with this track but it is avoided until the interval episode.
The first half is passable and has no relevance to the plot. Most of the scenes neither take story forward nor tell anything about characters. Nevertheless, it is entertaining. There is no conflict in first half and the story moves aimlessly. The promising interval episode establishes the theme but the second half slows down. The concept of God is not well established and the theme ‘Daivam manusha rupena’ is not properly conveyed. The screenplay gives too much importance to the irrelevant things while totally missing the point.
The Iridium doesn’t flow from Rajasthan to Andhra Pradesh like petroleum. This could have been done through some other means like a king of Andhra Pradesh gifted the idol to the temple. All this information is stuffed at pre-climax sequence which doesn’t give enough time for audience to understand it.
The first half is written completely for entertainment and it doesn’t help the plot. The Rajasthan episode is irrelevant to the film and seems to be forced. The script was probably changed several times during the production which made it clumsy. The characters of Sunil and Ali doesn’t add any value to the plot except for providing entertainment.
The characters are poorly developed and lack depth. There is little scope for immersion. The second half makes things less convincing. Throughout this time, Rao Ramesh and Shafi engage audience into the story to some extent.
Khaleja is a serious story which was clumsily developed giving more priority to entertainment. This makes the individual scenes engaging but the overall film uninteresting. With a lighter theme or with a serious screenplay, the film would have been successful.