Film: "Ramayya Vasthavayya"; Cast: Junior NTR, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Shruti Haasan, Mukesh Rishi, Rohini Hattangadi, Vidyullekha Raman, P. Ravi Shankar, Rao Ramesh and Hamsa Nandini; D4irector: Harish Shankar; Rating: *
It is probably only in India that we pay good money to get our sane minds assaulted by films such as "Gabbar Singh", "Mirchi" and now, "Ramayya Vasthavayya" (RV). When was the last time that a director made or even attempted a meaningful film featuring a top star without having to worry about pleasing certain sections of the audience? Never!
Our directors seem to be labouring under the assumption that a star film won't work if it doesn't cater to the masses. But the truth is that we haven't even tried it and that's precisely why most of these films are nauseatingly bad. RV is no different as it fights for the top spot in the list of recent bad films featuring star actors.
The film has an archetypal introduction of the hero. A toned Junior NTR is seen rehearsing for a drama sequence in college, dressed as a mythological character, reminiscent of his grandfather, when a friend comes barging into the auditorium to announce that one of their pals is being roughed up. The hero goes to his rescue, beats everybody to pulp, effortlessly mouths a few one-liners and then breaks into a song.
Show me one recent big ticket Telugu film which didn't have a similar hero introduction in the recent past! I doubt if you can.
What follows is a story we are quite familiar with. Junior NTR's character is supposedly a college student (never seen in a classroom) who flips for Samantha at first sight. He wins her heart and also impresses her elder sister and their elderly caretaker. He accompanies the family to their hamlet for the marriage of the elder sister. There, the film veers from a romantic entertainer to a revenge drama with a lot of gore.
Junior NTR is undoubtedly one of the better actors who can easily shine in every department he gets associated with: dancing, action and even comedy but sadly very few directors know how to use him effectively. Although S.S. Rajamouli is an exception, we can't expect him to always make films with Junior NTR, can we? For his fans, the actor has provided everything he could in RV, but if you're not one among them, then you're likely going to walk away feeling disappointed.
His last outing "Baadshah" was as bad as RV but the film had a highly entertaining second half which at least sent audiences away happy. However, RV is exactly the opposite as the second half reeks of melodrama and bloodshed. A film like this needed comedian Brahmanandam in whatever role possible but he wasn't there.
The biggest problem of RV is that it only appeals to a fan base. Even when you try hard to like it it doesn't even impress, let alone entertain.
I think "Mirapakaya" was Harish Shankar's best work so far because that film, despite being commercial, managed to entertain. RV is not even close, it only questions his ability as a filmmaker. He borrows a cliched template of a revenge drama, mixes it with romance and some heroism and expects us to root for it.
Samantha is pretty, has a charming smile, and is a good actress too. When will we see her give a performance worthy of being appreciated? Shruti Haasan in a cameo doesn't quite impress, while talented actors Ravi Shankar, Ajay and Rohini Hattangadi are wasted.
RV is a hero-worshipping, fan-appealing film that gets almost everything in the book of filmmaking wrong.