Director KS Ravikumar’s film takes itself too seriously, so that it ends up being funny.

Ruler review This Balakrishna action drama is so bad its funny
Flix Review Friday, December 20, 2019 - 19:56
Save your money

There are bad movies, and then there are movies so bad, while taking themselves too seriously, that they end up being funny movies. Ruler falls in the second category. ‘I am a lover also, fighter also.’ This popular song is apt to summarise a Balakrishna starrer, which will make any sane individual wonder how exactly director KS Ravikumar manage to convince those who invested their money in this movie. It might have gone something like this.

‘Let’s make a movie with Balakrishna.’ 

‘Okay, what’s the story?’

‘Balakrishna will have a ‘Tony Stark’ look in the movie, and in a different avatar he will be a cop.’

‘Okay, how is this going to be any different from all the 3,000 other superhero movies?’

‘It will be Tony Stark in the ill-fitting clothes of a 25-year old, and the cop will have the same hairstyle that Salman Khan would have had in Tere Naam on a bad hair day.’

‘Shut up and take my money!’

And then this movie got made. The movie has such blistering performances by Prakash Raj, Bhumika and Jayasudha that if I were in their place shooting for this movie, I would have broken into fits of laughter every 15 seconds. That they actually managed to keep a poker face as if there is nothing wrong with the protagonist must have taken enormous acting skills.

A random guy saves the owner of a multi-million dollar company by risking his life, and in return she makes him her heir, names him Arjun after her own deceased son. Conveniently he has no memory and so takes to the new lavish lifestyle like a fish to water. That a millionaire and a man randomly found injured on the side of railway tracks were sharing the same hospital room talks of a utopia we have always dreamt of.

The woman sends Arjun to the US for IT training so he can take over her leading IT firm as the chairman. Insert 30 minutes of insane stuff, where Sonal Chauhan plays the CEO of a competitor, hires three crass and perpetually horny guys off the streets who sound worse than pick pocketers to “hack” into Arjun’s laptop while they have to share a suite while attending a “Bangkok” conference where Arjun has a presentation to a client offering a Rs 5,000-crore project. Basically, this inane 30-minute crassness shows the makers have absolutely no clue how anything a thousand miles from ‘corporate’ looks, sounds, and feels like.

Now, enter solar project file, shelved in UP in a village that has 2,000 Telugu farmers – how else will we have a non-Telugu, accented, cruel, but stylish Thakur villain while invoking Telugu pride? And then Arjun comes to face his old life as Dharma, the alpha male of a village that worships him.

Dharma, the cop, has a lover too, who falls for him because her parents told her that’s the family she is going to get married into. In her first meeting with Dharma, she asks him to look at her “top to bottom” and tell her if he’s okay with her figure. Dharma manages to save, amidst this sizzling romance and farmer guidance, a woman (Bhumika) who has married a non-Thakur and is hence facing the wrath of her community. It is in saving her that he loses his life, or so the villagers think until he comes back in the Tony Stark-avatar, Arjun.

If the above didn’t make sense, don’t worry. I think it’s a movie worth watching because it’s so ridiculous that everything will make you laugh – the sentimental scenes, the violent scenes, the fight scenes, the romance scenes (if whatever happens between Balakrishna and the two female protagonists, Sonal and Vedhika, can be even remotely called that), the dance scenes – without really offending anyone.

Hats off to whoever picked the costumes for Balakrishna. Whatever they were smoking, I’m sure it’s illegal. Hats off also to the choreographer of the movie. Like bro, did you just decide that you will make this man twist himself into knots while assuring him that he would look cool doing so? Balakrishna’s dance steps in the movie are perfect for an expectations (imagine an Allu Arjun dancing) versus reality meme. It is unfair to the guy who was once credited as being a good actor. The story, the fights, the costumes, the female protagonists – none of these are age-appropriate. And that’s the most I can say without sounding like someone who is into body shaming, if you get what I mean.

A special round of applause should go to whoever supplied the sunshades which feature in every scene in the movie. It’s like they got a bulk discount on bling shades – who wears shades while having lunch, with gold frames that too?! They also sneak in a Rajnigandha ad in the movie. The songs in the movie make sure they don’t distract you while you enjoy the creativity of the choreography. Who knew someone would make Balakrishna try a Michael Jackson. While wearing hoodies, and a reverse cap.

Even if you survive all of this and make it to the ending somehow, you get a scene that will put Rohit Shetty to shame. A bunch of guys are shooting at Bhumika as she walks with her baby towards them. Balakrishna alias Arjun alias Dharma makes circles around Bhumika with his SUV and stops all the bullets. All of them. Yes. Because, he is a lover also, fighter also. He is stylish also, emotional also. Hats off to KS Ravi Kumar for bringing out all these shades in such an unforgettable way!

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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