Even by the formulaic standards of masala entertainers, the hyper-masculinity of ‘Anjaniputhraa’ is a bit too much to take.

Anjaniputhraa Review This Puneeth-starrer is a predictable masala flickScreenshot/ Youtube
Flix Sandalwood Thursday, December 21, 2017 - 17:22

Bloated star vehicles are the last place one normally looks for fresh exciting plots and novel filmmaking attempts. As long as their hero beats up enough baddies and throws around punch dialogues, neither filmmakers nor audiences really want to put more effort into masala blockbusters.

But even by those standards, the latest Puneeth Rajkumar-starrer Anjaniputhraa is a rather crude letdown. A remake of the Tamil Vishal-starrer Poojai, Anjaniputhraa is a hotch-potch of masala elements overlaid with heavy doses of toxic masculinity that were probably best left behind in the 1980s or the 1990s. After all, one of the pivotal scenes in this film has Raja (Puneeth) ripping off villain’s dhoti and the women and children of his family laughing and clapping.

Before and after this scene, there are references to ‘real men’ and ‘eunuchs’, and other wonderful such similes on manliness.

The villain, Bhairava, is a cardboard embodiment of cold-hearted greed, the head of a supposedly ruthless supari network that can’t seem to lay a hand on our hero no matter how many men and weapons they have. While Bhairava is introduced with great bluster, he never quite brings any menace to the table, leaving the movie wanting for any excitement.

From its opening scene, Anjaniputhraa does not even try to pretend that Puneeth is playing an on-screen character and not himself under another name. So most of the supporting cast in the film only exists to sing paens of praise to his lion-hearted courage and unstinting, selfless love for family. But his is a strange family, which exiles him for years for something as flimsy as mistakenly pulling down a woman’s saree pallu.

Of course, once he beats up the villains, they welcome him back with open arms, since he’s proved he can save the family’s honour with gratuitous violence. Much of the film’s plot flows in superficial fashion, with dialogues and situations that we’ve seen in dozens of films before. The scene where Raja convinces a young couple not to run away from home, for instance, trots out done-to-death lines about not bringing grief to the parents who have raised them.

Seeing the moved expressions on everyone’s faces at the end of that scene, you’re left wondering just what the big deal was.

The film also has a very problematic take on violence, with a police officer even encouraging Puneeth to go out and murder the villain, assuring him that he’ll take care of any problems that arise from the crime. Rashmika Mandanna, as Geetha, the object of Raja’s affections, has little more to do in the film than look young and appealing. And while the film tries to cash in on Ramya Krishnan’s Baahubali avatar by casting her as the matriarch of the film, her shouted dialogues pack little punch in Anjaniputhraa.

Many other elements of the film are also problematic. The comedy track is often crass, with many innuendo-filled dialogues that struggle to get a laugh. The background music is often heavy-handed, with none of the songs really sticking to one’s mind. Anjaniputhraa is a by-the-numbers masala film made for fans who worship Puneeth Rajkumar. For everyone else, it’s likely to be a disappointing affair.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.

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