Sundaram Master review: This social message is not so thought provoking

The narrative suffers from a lack of originality, good characterisation and depth in the screenplay.

ByPrakash Pecheti

Published:Feb 23, 2024

'Sundaram Master' is directed by Kalyan Santhosh

Sundaram Master (Telugu)

23-02-2024, Rural Drama, 2 hours 2 minutes U
  • Main Cast:Harsha Chemudu, Divya Sripada, and Harshavardhan
  • Director:Kalyan Santhosh
  • Producer: Ravi Teja and Sudheer Kumar Kurra
  • Music Director: Sri Charan Pakala
  • Cinematography: Deepak Yaragera



Government school teacher Sundar Rao (Harsha Chemudu aka Viva Harsha) aspires to climb up the ladder in his profession.

He is off to a remote village named Miryalametta, which is devoid of basic amenities and a communication network.

Sundaram has a penchant for shortcuts. Eager to elevate his stature and wealth, he sets his sights on the position of District Education Officer.

Meanwhile, the local MLA (Harshavardhan) eyes a precious hidden treasure in Miryalametta. The village is isolated from modern infrastructure, communication, and transportation so it is a massive task to obtain the treasure.

How Sundaram Rao is tasked to get it? How this teacher gains the trust and cooperation of the villagers, all while pursuing the MLA’s hidden agenda — is the story in short.

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Harsha Chemudu and Divya Sripada in Sundaram Master

Harsha Chemudu and Divya Sripada in ‘Sundaram Master’. (X)

Sundaram Master tells the tale of a teacher who is dispatched to a tribal community to impart English, only to find himself transformed as he learns valuable life lessons from the locals.

Despite the humour that the film banks upon, it struggles to effectively convey its message. This results in a complete disconnection between what the director intended and what is finally executed.

The initial half of Sundaram Master, featuring comedy sequences, fell completely flat, with attempts at out-of-box comedy resulting in slapstick humour.

The latter half shifts away from comedy, leaning heavily on preaching and philosophical themes, albeit in a forced manner.

Sundaram Master’s character transformation lacks conviction in the second half. With occasional bright sparkles in his lines, the protagonist is not as entertaining as expected from the trailer.

The portrayal of tribal people connecting emotionally to cricket in a pre-independence setting feels slightly exaggerated and out of place.

Similar to films such as Gamyam and Vedam, Sundaram Master explores the theme of personal transformation influenced by external factors. However, the narrative suffers from a lack of originality, good characterisation and depth in the screenplay.

The movie falls short of effectively conveying the intended social message.

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'Sundaram Master' is produced by Ravi Teja's RT Team Works. (X)

‘Sundaram Master’ is produced by Ravi Teja’s RT Team Works. (X)

Harsha Chemudu’s recent performances in films like Colour Photo, Month of Madhu (2023), and Baby (20e3) showcased his versatility from the usual comedy roles.

In Sundaram Master, his portrayal delves deeper into his serious acting chops, particularly while displaying poignant moments of guilt and remorse.

His varied emotions added layers to his character.

Divya Sripada’s portrayal of the village beauty is a refreshing presence on the screen.

Balakrishna Neelakantapuram, known for his role as Inayat Khaleel in KGF, is good in the role of a village elder in the film.

And others, mostly theatre artistes, are good with their performances without veering into melodrama.

Sri Charan Pakala’s musical score lacks impact overall, though the theme that comes during Sundaram Master’s sequences stands out.

Deepak Yaragera’s cinematography is good.

Chandra Mouli Eathalapaka’s art direction is authentic, while costume designers Srihitha Kotagiri and Raja Sekhar deserve praise for bringing to the fore the realistic tribal attire.

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Final take

Director Kalyan Santhosh aims to serve Sundaram Master as a thought-provoking social commentary, shedding light on the disappearing human values in today’s competitive and materialistic society.

However, viewers should not expect complete entertainment throughout.

(Views expressed here are personal.)