Having a star like Pawan Kalyan in the lead, Bheemla Nayak spends too much time exploiting the dramatic elements to saturation, and does not care about the other nuances of Ayyappanum Koshiyum.

A shot of Pawan Kalyan walking in a lungi and black shirt
Flix Review Friday, February 25, 2022 - 19:09

It is inevitable that comparisons will be made with the original when a film is remade. It can also ruin the memory of watching the film you loved, sometimes. This is what happened to me while watching Bheemla Nayak, which is a remake of Malayalam film Ayyappanum Koshiyum. Bheemla Nayak stars actors Pawan Kalyan, Rana Daggubati, Nitya Menen and Samyuktha Menon. 

In Bheemla Nayak, Pawan Kalyan plays the protagonist who is an honest police officer working in a remote tribal area. He gets into trouble after being manipulated by a politically powerful man played by Rana. What unfolds in the film next is a story of vengeance. 

Though a remake, director Sagar K Chandra did not resort to a scene-by-scene copy, or worse, a shot-by-shot copy. These changes are, however, not necessarily for the good.

The original film tries to be as realistic as possible, but it still was dramatised to a great extent, so it was somewhere an in-between film. However, Bheemla Nayak does not care for subtleness. Having a star hero in its lead, it exploits the dramatic elements to  the point of saturation and does not care about the other nuances of Ayyappanum Koshiyum. 

The plot of Ayyappanum Koshiyum is about how two men – one from a wealthy upper caste family wielding political power, and the other from a marginalised community in a remote rural district – end up in a conflict and would not relent until they eliminate each other. Caste arrogance was central to this conflict, but the Telugu remake has completely erased this from the narrative. And with this, Bheemla Nayak joins the list of Telugu movies that shy away from addressing caste as an issue. 

While Pawan Kalyan is shown to be a man belonging to an Adivasi community, none of the systematic struggles he or his community face on a daily basis is shown on screen. If they were not going to document the social life of Adivasis anyway, why bother to locate him there? It does not add anything to the narrative except offer an ‘exotic’ entertainment to the viewers. 

By removing caste from the film’s theme, Bheemla Nayak becomes a stale film where the lead characters are fighting each other only because of their bruised ego. 

The other thing lacking in Bheemla Nayak is the tension. In the original, there is a constant tension each time Prithviraj (who plays the arrogant army veteran) tries to provoke Biju Menon (who plays the police officer). And it is fun to watch when the latter, who is finally free from the clutches of law, explodes and reveals his primal nature. There is a ‘wow’ factor when Biju Menon does this. But when you have a superstar playing this role, you already know what is going to happen. And the filmmaker also does not build any tension for that ultimate explosion.

Perhaps, the biggest letdown in Bheemla Nayak is the twist in the climax, which really ruins the film’s consistency. The twist further diminishes the pretence of both Pawan Kalyan and Rana being equally powerful in the film. 

Rana Daggubati delivers an impressive performance as Daniel Shekhar, but the repetition in his dialogues flatten his character. Rana certainly was courageous to take up a role of an antagonist, but the filmmaker did a disservice to him by not giving his character enough substance. Nithya Menen, who plays the role of Suguna, has a good role. She is self-righteous and doesn't mind breaking the laws if her action seems justified. She in fact is more short-tempered than Pawan Kalyan in the film. While initially this contradiction seems interesting, the lack of depth in her role makes her character irrelevant. You do not empathise with her though she is imprisoned on petty charges. Surprisingly, Samyuktha Menon who plays Rana's wife, has more to offer in Bheemla Nayak. In the original, Anna Rajan does not have much prominence. She is just a housewife in a patriarchal house who is anxious over the proceedings but cannot express it. But Samyuktha does not hesitate to confront her father-in-law. Actor Samuthirakani’s role as father to Rana is another disappointment. He too does not have much else to do in the film other than reinforcing the haughtiness of his character. 

Music director Thaman S tries to keep the movie engaging with his energetic background score. But after a point, it becomes repetitive. If you have watched the original film, lower your expectations for Bheemla Nayak.  

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.



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