2019 ended with a bang for Kannada cine-goers with Avane Srimannarayana running to packed houses. But the 2020 opening film has come as a huge let-down. This week's film, the Mayur Patel starrer Rajeeva, has failed to be a crowd-puller, thanks to the lacklustre narrative.
Rajeeva - the very name is special for Kannadigas, thanks to the iconic role played by Dr Rajkumar in the film Bangarada Manushya. The hugely entertaining 1972 Eastman colour movie ran houseful shows in theaters for almost two years. The impact of the movie was such that many youths went back to their villages to cultivate their lands, which they had once given up for the conveniences of urban life. The movie, still one of the best films of the Kannada film industry, enjoys the status of a classic.
Rajeeva, on the other hand, is just an unpolished imitation. Rajeeva (Mayur Patel) is a happy-go-lucky lad who has completed his education in the city. He always follows the path laid down by his father Bheemanna (Mayur Patel in a dual role) and earns the villagers' respect. Having studied for the IAS, he gets back to his village during the vacation. But following a heart-wrenching incident, he backs out and decides to take up farming.
Not only does he experiment with new technology in agriculture, he also succeeds in persuading many youths to quit going to the city looking for a job and take up agriculture instead. Amid this, he also supports his four brothers reach high places in life. But, things start to change when one of his brother takes a wrong route to earn money. He also suffers another personal tragedy and ends up losing the respect of the villagers. How he overcomes his hurdles forms the rest of the story.
Actor Mayur Patel and director Manu seem to be so inspired from Bangarada Manushya that they have come up with a very similar movie. The plot, the narration, even the hero's outfits seem to have been heavily inspired from the 1972 classic. But, the imitation remains cheap. Mayur simply cannot be another Rajkumar, and if he had understood this sooner, the film would not have been made.
The storyline is relevant even today, with many youths from villages migrating to the city, looking for jobs. The movie could have addressed their concerns. But, the director's copy- paste job does nothing for the film. Mayur Patel has done a decent job as Rajeeva and to an extent as Bheemanna. But, we hope he takes up powerful roles like Mani and proves his calibre once again.
The film also sees Mayur's father Madan Patel in a guest appearance as the Chief Minister. Thereās nothing much to talk about the slew of characters who make their presence in the film. Heroine Akshatha Sreedhar Shasty hardly has any role and is more of a sidekick for the lead actor. The songs are forgettable too.
Rajeeva is yet another film that attempts to put farmers in the limelight but fails in the execution because the makers were too involved in the imitation game. Here's hoping that the makers realise there can only be one Bangarada Manushya, and try out other genres in their next film.
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.