Spyder (film)

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Spyder
Spyder film poster.jpg
Film poster in Telugu
Directed byAR Murugadoss
Written byAR Murugadoss (Tamil Dialogues)
Paruchuri Brothers (Telugu Dialogues)
Story byAR Murugadoss
Produced byN.V Prasad
Tagore Madhu [1]
StarringMahesh Babu
Rakul Preet Singh
S. J. Surya
Bharath
CinematographySantosh Sivan
Edited byA. Sreekar Prasad
Music byHarris Jayaraj
Production
companies
Distributed byLyca Productions (Tamil Nadu)
Release date
  • 27 September 2017 (2017-09-27)[2]
Running time
155 minutes
CountryIndia
LanguagesTelugu
Tamil
Budget1.2 billion[3]
Box officeest. 1.5 billion[4] (12-days)

Spyder is a 2017 Indian action thriller film[5][6][7][8] written and directed by A. R. Murugadoss and produced by N. V. Prasad. Filmed simultaneously in Telugu and Tamil, it stars Mahesh Babu, Rakul Preet Singh, and S. J. Surya in lead roles. Murugadoss wrote the Tamil dialogues, while Paruchuri Brothers penned for the Telugu version. The music is composed by Harris Jayaraj, while Santosh Sivan handled the cinematography and A. Sreekar Prasad took care of editing the film. The film follows Shiva, an Intelligence Bureau officer, who sets out to save the people of Hyderabad when he realises that a psychopath is on the loose.

This film marks the Tamil debut of Mahesh Babu, after a failed attempt to release a simultaneous Tamil version for Brahmotsavam (2016).[9] Originally, the film was rumoured to be titled as Abhimanyudu and Sambhavami, before finalizing Spyder as the official title on 18 March 2017.[10] The film began production on July 2016, followed by the commencement of the principal photography.[11] Shooting mainly took place in Chennai, with some portions in and around Hyderabad and Vizag, while the songs were filmed overseas, before wrapping up on August 2017.

Spyder was theatrically released worldwide in Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam on 27 September 2017.[12][13] It was released in dubbed Arabic version in the Gulf countries. It was also released in United States in more than 800 theatres on 26 September.[14] The film received mixed reviews, but was praised for S. J. Surya and Mahesh Babu's performances, especially the former, whereas critics panned the writing, screenplay and direction.[15] The film was a box-office bomb due to the high production costs, despite grossing ₹150 crore,[4] against a budget of ₹120 crore.[16][17]

Plot[edit]

Shiva (Mahesh Babu), an officer in the Intelligence Bureau office, spies on people's calls and messages to help them if needed. He developed a software to listen to the needy by tracking their phones. On the night of March 16, he listens to Charlie/Shalini (Rakul Preet Singh) talking about her wish on getting 98% in her exams from 96% to get a USA scholarship with her friend. In order to do that, she decides to go on a date with a guy believing it will help her concentrate on her studies. Shiva follows her out of curiosity, and both starts to fall in love. However, he finds it hard to focus on his love life because of his job.

On the night of 28 April, Shiva listens in on a young girl asking her friend for help as she is alone in her house and scared because there is no electricity in her house, whilst everyone else on her street has it. Alarmed, Shiva sends his friend, a new police constable Renuka (Himaja), to the girl's address as her aid. However, the next day, the news channels report the gruesome death of the two women. They were undressed, chopped and with pieces mixed together. Shiva visits the crime scene and is guilty. He resigns from his job, stating, "I didn't help them, and I should've never sent out Renuka," but his father (Jayaprakash) encourages him to find the murderer. With the support from his family, Shiva is now determined to find out the murderer and sets out to "spy" the young girl's chats and whereabouts.

He finds out that a guy followed her at a café. Through technology, he is able to track down another person who knew the stalker. With the help of the provided information, he then travels to the village where the girl's stalker grew up and begins his search. From an elderly villager, he finally learns about the man's past, Bhairavudu/Sudalai (S. J. Surya), who lives with his mother (Kani Kusruti), father and a younger brother. He suffers from sadistic personality disorder and has an unusual desire to kill people and watch the victims' families grieving, a type of psychopath. One day, a village kid saw him killing someone and told the other villagers. The infuriated mob decided to burn Bhairavudu/Sudalai's house, killing his parents. Angry, he left the village to continue his killing spree along with his younger brother (Bharath). Shiva thinks he has caught the murderer, but it is actually his brother. Bhairavudu/Sudalai reveals he killed 23 people and hid their bodies in 23 pillars of a metro bridge, and threatens the citizens to leave his brother unscathed. He also reveals that he plans to destroy a hospital. Shiva kills Bharaivadu’s/Sudalai’s brother in front of the 40 people's families, including an angry Bhairavudu/Sudalai.

An upset Bhairavudu/Sudalai plans to kill Shiva's family. Shiva finds this out when his mother (Dheepa Ramanujam) calls him and tells him she is scared because there is no power at their house whilst everyone else on the street does, exactly the same way as what the girl had said earlier. With the help of his team members, Shiva is able to save his family; however, he himself becomes Bhairavudu/Sudalai's next target. The man tries to kill Shiva on his way home, and Shiva is impaled on a truck. He slowly recovers and resumes the search for Bhairavadu/Sudalai. Because Shiva had shot him before he fell unconscious, he thinks Bhairavudu/Sudalai has hidden himself in a house where he can heal, but he has imprisoned the owners. Through the use of technology and local ladies, he finds Bhairavudu/Sudalai and arrests him, but Bhairavudu/Sudalai tells him that he had already planned a big rock fall in the city. Shiva manages to stop the big rock whilst Bhairavudu/Sudalai escapes from the police and continues with his plan to destroy a hospital. Charlie/Shalini finds out which hospital but refuses to tell Shiva due to misunderstanding. Shiva tracks down her taxi, and she tells him which hospital it is. He rushes to the hospital and starts to evacuate the people inside. He saved as many as he could but could not save some patients, which he feels heartbroken over. Bhairavudu/Sudalai sees Shiva's grief and becomes happy. Shiva finally kills Bhairavudu/Sudalai and tells the media, "We have only killed the patient but not the disease. Helping people you don’t know is the greatest happiness in the world. We shouldn’t use technology all the time because we don’t have time to spend with others." He also tells them that there are other people who may have the same exact disease. The movie ends with Shiva walking with Charlie/Shalini out of the crowd.

Cast[edit]

Actor Role (Telugu) Role (Tamil)
Mahesh Babu Shiva, an intelligent spy
Rakul Preet Singh Charlie Shalini
S. J. Surya Bhairavadu, a serial killer Sudalai, a serial killer
'Sembaruthi' Sanjay Young Bhairavadu Young Sudalai
Bharath Bhairavadu's brother Sudalai's brother
Priyadarshi Vinay Madhu
RJ Balaji Madhu Vinay
Jayaprakash Shiva's father
Dheepa Ramanujam Shiva's mother
Kani Kusruti Bhairavudu's mother Sudalai's mother
Sayaji Shinde DGP Chandrasekhar
Nagineedu Commissioner Gajapathi
Himaja Renuka
Shaji Chen IB Head Matthews
Hareesh Peradi CBI Head Officer
Ajay Rathnam Inspector Gokulnath
Ravi Bhairavadu's friend Sudalai's friend
Sendrayan Rogue
Sampath Ram Rowdy

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Originally, Mahesh Babu planned to make his direct debut in Tamil, after the dubbed Tamil version of Srimanthudu (2015), titled Selvandhan, received a decent response from audiences.[18] He officially announced that his next film with Srikanth Addala titled Brahmotsavam (2016), and produced by PVP Cinema, will be a bilingual shot simultaneously in Telugu and Tamil with the same title.[19] After opining that the script has the potential to be commercially successful in both the languages without making many changes, Mahesh accepted the proposal of a Telugu-Tamil bilingual.[9] However, the plan was later dropped.[20]

In November 2015, Mahesh Babu had announced for his next project directed by A. R. Murugadoss,[21] which would be a Tamil-Telugu bilingual, marking Mahesh's first direct Tamil debut,[22] as well as A. R. Murugadoss' return to Telugu cinema industry, a decade after his last film with the Chiranjeevi-starrer Stalin (2006).[23] The project was expected to kickstart the following year,[24] with Santhosh Sivan, who worked with Murugadoss in Thuppakki (2012), will be the cinematographer,[25] and Harris Jayaraj, who scored music for Murugadoss' earlier films, Ghajini, 7aum Arivu and Thuppakki.[26]

It was reported that Mahesh Babu will play the role of a police officer in the film,[27] although reports claimed that Mahesh will play the role of a RAW agent.[28] The title of the film was also rumoured to be Abhimanyu.[29] However on December 2016, the makers announced the tentative title of the film as Sambhavami, which received mixed response from fans.[30] On 18 March 2017, the film's title was revealed to be Spyder.[10]

Casting[edit]

In March 2016, Parineeti Chopra was initially signed to play the lead actress, making her debut in South Indian cinema.[31][32] However, her non-availability of dates after she was finalised in the Sushant Singh Rajput-starrer Takadum (which was later shelved),[33] meant that the creators approached Rakul Preet Singh in the leading role.[34] S. J. Surya, was hired to play a negative role thus marking his second collaboration,[35] with Mahesh Babu after directing him in Naani (2004), although an actor this time.[36] It is noted that Murugadoss was a former assistant of S. J. Surya in the films Vaali and Kushi. Tamil actor RJ Balaji, was signed in for the film, playing the role of Mahesh Babu's friend.[37] In December 2016, Bharath was signed on to play a negative role.[38][39]

Twin stunt choreographers Anbariv, were eventually roped in for the film to choreograph action sequences,[40] although Peter Hein was roped in for the film.[41] R. C. Kamalakannan, who supervised visual effects for Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017), was roped in as a part of the technical crew.[42] Kamalakannan claimed that the film has heavy visual effects, and a Russian principal studio was working on the film.[43][44] Nayanthara was initially claimed to do a crucial role in the film, although Murugadoss denied it.[45]

Filming[edit]

The film's principal photography commenced in 29 July 2016.[11] Rakul Preet Singh joined the sets on August 2016, where the creators filmed a fresh schedule, focusing on the romantic scene between Rakul and Mahesh.[46] The second schedule of the film, took place in mid-September 2016, in Pune and Bangalore, after the Chennai schedule was wrapped up.[28] On 21 October 2016, Rakul Preet received a minor injury on her left hand, while shooting for an action episode. Although, the actress, who is advised to rest for a day, resumed shooting immediately.[47] The third schedule of the film was kickstarted in Hyderabad on November 2016, with filming took place for three weeks.[48] After wrapping up the shoot on 22 November, the team headed to Ahmedabad and Surat, for the fourth schedule.[49] Mahesh extensively shot the schedule for two weeks.[50] After a brief break, the makers resumed the shoot in Mumbai on January 2017, where the introductory scenes featuring Mahesh Babu, was being shot.[51] During March 2017, Chiranjeevi made a visit to the sets of the film.[52]

The final schedule of the film was expected to take place on 20 April 2017 in Hyderabad,[53] although shooting started on 4 May 2017.[54] Art director Rupin Suchak revealed to a source that 98% of the film was shot in Chennai, with the backdrop being changed to Hyderabad through computer graphics for the Telugu version. Mahesh did the film's stunts by himself without using body doubles.[55] On 16 May 2017, a source claimed that the makers planned for a climax sequence with high-octane action scenes, instead of a normal climax,[56] which was originally scheduled to be shot at the NIMS Hospital in Bibnagar, Hyderabad,[57] however, due to legal issues, the makers shifted the location to Chennai.[58]

As of May 2017, the makers had completed the talkie portions of the film, and only two songs were pending, the makers had started the post-production works.[59] The entire filming was about to be completed by 2 June 2017.[60] But, the final schedule was helmed on 13 June 2017,[61] where the talkie portions will be filmed, and it is considered to be a minor schedule, with shooting to last for only four days.[62] On July 2017, the makers filmed a song sequence in Hyderabad for ten days.[63] The last song of the film was shot abroad on 2 August, and the principal shoot was wrapped following its completion.[64]

Soundtrack[edit]

Spyder
Soundtrack album by
Released25 August 2017
Recorded2017
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Length18:40 / 22:42
LanguageTelugu
Tamil
LabelZee Music Company
ProducerHarris Jayaraj
Harris Jayaraj chronology
Vanamagan
(2017)
Spyder
(2017)
Dev
(2018)
Singles from Spyder
  1. "Boom Boom"
    Released: 29 July 2017

The film's soundtrack is composed by Harris Jayaraj,[65] with lyrics for the Tamil version was written by Madhan Karky. Initially, Karky, was expected to pen the songs for its Telugu-dubbed version, thus marking his debut in the Telugu industry,[66] however, Ramajogayya Sastry penned the songs in Telugu. In late June 2017, Brijesh Shandilya recorded one song for the film, which is touted to be "ä desi romantic number".[67] While the Tamil version of the soundtrack, features only five tracks. The Telugu version has a sixth track named as "Akkada Vunnavadu". The film features a lead single "Boom Boom" from the soundtrack album, which was released on 29 July 2017 in Tamil and Telugu.[68] The full soundtrack album was launched on 25 August 2017, at Kalaivanar Arangam in Chennai. The album was also released in Telugu the same day.[69]

Indiaglitz rated the album 3 out of 5, and summarised that "There is a strong Tamil flavour in all of the songs, with even traces of Harris' past works eminently noticeable."[70] 123Telugu gave a positive verdict stating that "Spyder’s audio album attracts the class audience and stands as a different album in Mahesh’s career."[71] Karthik Srinivasan of Milliblog stated that the album is "a predictable Harris Jayaraj package with two good-enough songs."[72]

For the soundtrack of the Tamil version, Behindwoods rated the album 2.5 out of 5, saying, "Though there is nativity missing for Tamil listeners, the album has Harris' usual western style music with superior sounding."[73] Sharanya CR from The Times of India reviewed that "Except for two songs, Harris doesn’t really up the magic quotient for SPYder."[74] Moviecrow rated the album 3 out of 5 stating that "Harris Jayaraj delivers an engaging album filled with the composer’s signature sounds throughout the soundtrack."[75] Siddharth Srinivas from Sify gave 3 out of 5 stating "Spyder is a lightweight, frothy soundtrack from Harris that's high on style but not too much on substance."[76]

Telugu version

All lyrics are written by Ramajogayya Sastry.

No.TitleSinger(s)Length
1."Boom Boom"Nikhita Gandhi4:15
2."Ciciliya Ciciliya"Haricharan, Shakthisree Gopalan4:43
3."Haali Haali"Brijesh Shandilya, Harini, Sunitha Upadrashta5:31
4."Achcham Telugandham"Pravin Saivi, Christopher Stanley, Sathya Prakash2:57
5."Spyder on Mission"Instrumental1:14
6."Akkada Vunnavadu"Geetha Madhuri4:02
Total length:22:42

Tamil version

All lyrics are written by Madhan Karky.

No.TitleSinger(s)Length
1."Boom Boom"Nikhita Gandhi4:15
2."Ciciliya Ciciliya"Haricharan, Shakthisree Gopalan4:43
3."Aali Aali"Brijesh Shandilya, Harini, Sunitha Upadrashta5:31
4."Otrai Iravukaai"Pravin Saivi, Christopher Stanley, Sathya Prakash2:57
5."Spyder on Mission"Instrumental1:14
Total length:18:40

Release[edit]

During the film's pre-production phase, it was announced that the film releases on 23 June 2017.[10] But the release was pushed to 10 August 2017, due to production delays.[77] The film was postponed to mid-September and again to Dusherra, due to delay in the film's shooting. And, the makers finally announced that the film would be released on 27 September 2017.[78][79] Following the huge reception for the Baahubali franchise,[80] Spyder was also planned to have a simultaneous release in both Telugu and Tamil and also with a Malayalam-dubbed version with the same name.[81] The film was sent to the Central Board of Film Certification for censor formalities on 19 September 2017, where the film received a "U/A" certification and with a runtime of 145 minutes.[82][83]

Spyder was released in the United States,[84] a day ahead of its release in Indian theatres on 26 September.[85] The film was released in more than 800 screens in the country,[86] thus becoming the widest release for a Telugu film after Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.[87] The film was also speculated to have dubbed release in Arabic, and was scheduled to be released in the Gulf countries.[88]

Distribution[edit]

The Tamilnadu theatrical rights for the film were acquired by Lyca Productions for 18 crore.[89] Andhra Pradesh and Telangana distribution rights were secured by the production house itself, except for the Nizam rights which were acquired by Dil Raju for 24 crore.[90] The overseas distribution rights were sold to Atmus Entertainment for 15.2 crore.[91] The ceded rights were sold for 12 crore and Vizag rights were sold for 8.1 crore. The film earned 6 crore in the East and 4.5 crore in the West, 5.4 crore in Krishna, 7.2 crore in Guntur and 3.2 crore in Nellore, for a total of 70.4 crore from the Telugu states.[92] The film's Karnataka theatrical rights were sold to Goldie Films for 10.8 crore and North India rights were sold for 2.3 crore.[93] The film earned 124 crore from worldwide theatricals alone,[94] including satellite and audio rights,[95] the film made a business of 157 crore, before its release.[96]

Marketing[edit]

The film's first poster was initially scheduled to release on 29 March 2017,[54] but was eventually released on 12 April 2017.[97] The poster gives us a glimpse of a buff and ripped Mahesh Babu with a gun in his hand.[98] The poster received an overwhelming response from fans.[99] The team launched an official Facebook and Twitter page and an official YouTube channel for the film's promotions. Initially, the makers wanted to release the first glimpse of the film on 31 May 2017, coinciding with actor Krishna's birthday, the father of Mahesh. But it was postponed due to the demise of veteran filmmaker Dasari Narayana Rao.[100] The teaser was launched on 1 June at midnight to positive reviews from fans.[101]

On 9 August 2017,[102] the makers released the official teaser of the film coinciding with the actor's birthday.[103] The teaser crossed 8.6 million views within 48 hours of its release.[104] The official trailer of the film was released on 15 September 2017,[105] during the pre-release event held at Shilpakala Vedika in Hyderabad.[106][107] The trailer received outstanding reviews, and it crossed 2 million views within a few hours.[108] Before the release of the film, Mahesh Babu revealed that the robotic spider featured in the film's teaser, will not feature in the film as it has no role for it. Mahesh announced it, that he doesn't want his fans to be disappointed.[109]

Home media[edit]

The satellite rights of the film were acquired by Zee Network (for Telugu and Hindi versions) and Sun TV (for Tamil Version) for a record sum of 26.5 crore.[110] The film's Telugu version was premiered in Zee Telugu on 14 January 2018, coinciding with Sankranthi, and registered a TRP rating of 6.7.[111] The film's television premiere took place on 18 February 2018. The film was also dubbed in Hindi and directly premiered on Zee Cinema on 17 June 2018.[112]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Both Mahesh Babu and S. J. Surya received praise for their performances in Spyder

Tamil version[edit]

M. Suganth of The Times of India rated 2 out of 5, stating that "The writing lets Spyder down entirely after a point and, unlike Thuppakki (which was also about a man trying to save and a man trying to destroy), what should have been an edge-of-the-seat cat-and-mouse game between good and evil turns into a movie that cannot decide between wanting to be a crackling thriller and an anything-goes masala movie."[113] S. Srivatsan of India Today rated 2 out of 5, and summarised it as "The core of Spyder seems to have been written for Telugu audience. Even for them, Spyder isn't a satisfying star vehicle. Or Maybe Spyder isn't what Murugadoss imagined on paper. Because, some scenes, even on paper, appear to be pompous. Consider the scene from the second half of 7am Arivu and you'll understand better."[114]

Behindwoods rated the film 2.5 out of 5 and stated that "SJ Suryah's performance and AR Murugadoss' touch makes Spyder a decent thriller."[115] Indiaglitz rated the film 2.5 out of 5 and stated "Watch SPYder for Mahesh's genuine efforts and SJ Surya’s gritty performance. If you are looking for a fitting duel between the hero and villain you might get disappointed for the film shines only on their respective characters and is let down when it comes to their duel."[116] Moviecrow gave 3 out of 5 and stated, "This is AR Murugadoss signature style movie with Superhero template without the hero having super powers. This is probably the best launch Mahesh Babu could have asked for. In return, Tamil audience will embrace Mahesh Babu."[117]

International Business Times rated 3 out of 5 and stated that "Spyder stands out as an enjoyable entertainer despite its flaws."[118] Baradwaj Rangan of Film Companion called "this film is a pretty decent god-vs-demon tale, with a solid hero and a spectacular villain" in his review.[119] Subhash K. Jha of NDTV, gave 4 out of 5 and stated, "Murugadoss takes a familiar bad-guy-good-guy plot and converts it into a compelling cat-and-mouse game shot in colours and favours that suggest life in times of impending death."[120]

Telugu version[edit]

Sridhar Adivi from The Times of India rated the film 2.5 out of 5, stating, "The conflict between the hero and the villain seems like a safe enough plot for a potboiler or a spy film; however, Murugadoss’ writing doesn’t manage to give you the chills or thrills the promos promised to."[121] Behindwoods rated the film 2.75 out of 5, and stated that "Beyond a point, the film gets a little too heavy with gore, and one might feel the climax could have been executed better. Apart from these minor issues, Spyder will entertain you if you are an action film lover."[122] Y. Sunita Chowdary of The Hindu stated that "Spyder starts off well but the director’s imagination goes overboard only to turn a purpose ridden plot to a piece of travesty."[123] Indiaglitz gave the film 2.75 out of 5 stating "The spy thriller takes unconvincing liberties in the second half.  A tragedy of epic proportions is sought to be reduced into a hero vs villain rivalry without a compelling narrative."[124]

In a positive note, 123Telugu rated it 3.25 out of 5, and summarised that "On the whole, Spyder is a decent action thriller which has some very interesting moments."[125] Sify gave the film a rating of 2.75 out of 5 stating "Spyder has some riveting moments in the first half, the face-off between Mahesh Babu and S J Surya reeks of brilliance but it turns monotonous in the second half."[126] Hemanth Kumar of Firstpost gave the film 3.5 out of 5, stating "Spyder is also a true blue action thriller and it stays true to the genre. This isn’t a Mahesh Babu’s film alone and it doesn’t pander to our expectations from his action dramas. And to see him step into the shoes of a character which doesn’t dominate the film is also why Spyder has a very different tone from the very beginning."[127] Karthik Keramalu of Hindustan Times gave 2 out of 5 and stated: "Spyder is not great but it’s definitely watchable for Mahesh Babu, Suryah and the touching humanistic angle."[128]

Box-office[edit]

The film grossed 24 crore on the first day of its release, with a share of 15.6 crore in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.[129] On its opening day, the film saw more than 95% occupancy in theatres and managed to collect 51 crore gross on its first day at global box-office[130] and it is said to have collected 1.30 crore in two days in Chennai alone.[131] According to sources the film had crossed 73 crore, in three days and it collected 110–124 crore with a share of 72 crore within five days.[132][133] In 12 days it collected 150 crore gross at global box-office.[4] At the US Box office the film collected US$1.5 million in seven days, becoming the fifth film of the actor to do so.[134][135] The film was considered as a financial disappointment, due to the high production costs involved.[136][17]

References[edit]

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