A good performance by the lead actor and a decent underlying message are spoilt by a ham-fisted approach by the director.

Naa Peru Surya review This Allu Arjun starrer is let down by an overblown narration
Flix Tollywood Friday, May 04, 2018 - 16:14

Anger and character are two different things, unless a movie director thinks otherwise and makes an entire movie out of it. Patriotism, India and the army are touchy subjects. The country itself has moved on to a bigger debate over the role and responsibility of the army. But, Telugu movies are generally a little behind the curve.

Our movies make the logical mind cringe, at times more, at times less. In that context, this Allu Arjun starrer feels heavy-handed. The over-the-top narration about the travails of an army soldier called Surya adulterates what is otherwise a good performance by Allu Arjun and a decent underlying message.

Why can’t our movies be a little subtler? Is it because our directors mistrust the audience, wondering if we Telugu movie-lovers will get the subtle nuances in the story? Yes, we will. It is about time our movies are toned down a bit, even if they are high voltage, high adrenaline, emotional dramas like these. If they are, the real message, which was quite thought-provoking as in this one, will not be lost.

Surya has anger issues and gets dismissed from the army. But, given his ability, sincerity and absolute love for the nation, coupled with an obsession to serve at the border, he is offered an opportunity to rectify himself. He has to prove his transformation to none other than his own father, an eminent psychologist who had abandoned him in his adolescence. Does he succeed is the hook.

This is Vakkantham Vamsi’s directorial debut. You can see his stamp on this movie too, like all the others he has penned. In the Vamsi galaxy, the hero is everything. Everyone else is sheep. The villain is colossal. Vamsi’s soldier too crosses the line way too often compared to a real-life soldier. His soldier lights up cigars, drives a jeep, and doesn’t think twice before bashing people!

Just when you think that behaviour is justified as long as he is correcting the wrong man, even while overlooking the taking-law-into-his-hands part, his violent behaviour spills into his girlfriend’s life. And then you wonder whether you are right in appreciating a person who screams obscenities when she wants to walk away. The movie takes the right turns and you hope that the storyline ends with him correcting himself, finding a middle path. The audience is instead served up the dialogue, ‘What if one man feels the anger of 1.25 billion people’.

That is not to say the movie doesn’t have its bright spots; in fact, it has several of them. It has some wonderful moments, like when the same angry soldier behaves as an epitome of maturity exhorting young cadets that a dream is worth it only if you haven’t compromised anywhere for it. There is also a beautiful sub-plot where Sai Kumar plays Mustafa, a Kargil war veteran whose son loses faith in the country, thanks to the injustices his father has to go through.

Sarathkumar is briefly menacing as the antagonist, only to be undone by a ham-fisted approach by the director. Vennela Kishore is witty for a few scenes before he turns a chameleon and hides behind the scenes. Nadia is brilliant in one scene, only to leave audiences wondering about this huge mother-son gaping hole in the plot!

And finally, what was that about wasting an actor like Arjun Sarja. To use the parlance, it was full-build-up and no-show. Rao Ramesh’s character, Surya’s godfather, talks about Dr Ramakrishna (Arjun) as if he is a Nobel winner. Why does the erudite psychologist’s own son need an introduction to his dad?

Amateurish build-up apart, there was, for a brief moment, a possibility of developing an interesting father-son angle, overwhelmed by dilemmas brought by their professional requirements. But, that opportunity is also blown up.

The fight scenes are as ludicrous as WWE fights – staged, over-the-top and childish. Amidst all this, Anu Emmanuel barely gets little more than a couple of songs and scenes as the love interest. And the usual apology of a patch-up when she says she had loved him for what he is. Exactly why she has to take the back step despite her concerns being valid, one cannot understand.

The movie climax thankfully raises the bar, introspecting briefly on how several young men are misled and tempted towards the wrong path after society lets them down. The OST by Vishal-Shekhar is impressive and so is the camera work. We are yet again reminded why Allu Arjun is probably the best dancer amongst all the lead actors, his skill complemented by pretty cool choreography.

All in all, Naa Peru Surya is a movie whose story touches upon several pertinent points and yet is let down by its own weakness. To mimic a dialogue about the protagonist, the movie’s weakness is stronger than its ambition. If only it weren’t so over-the-top!

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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