Raja The Great movie review: Ravi Teja doesn't disappoint in this okay-ish entertaining affair
All the actors known for sending chuckles down your spine in Telugu cinema are part of Raja The Great. Ravi Teja never disappoints when he’s given the instrument of humor to handle. If he’s further supported by the situations and co-actors, it’s definitely a treat for the viewers. His partnership with Brahmanandam gave us Vikramarkudu and Kick. Even today, scenes featuring the two from those films are enough to cure somberness.
I did miss Brahmanandam’s quick tongue and childish playfulness on the big screen. He could have been cast as one of the police officers sent to protect Lucky, played by Mehreen Pirzada, from the regular Bollywood-import villain, Devaraj (Vivan Bhatena), or he could have played Rajendra Prasad’s brother. Also, the addition of Vennela Kishore would have lit up the film with a few more laughs.
Director Anil Ravipudi seems to have spent little amount of time on naming his principal characters. (The same can be said about his story.) While Prakash Raj and Sampath are named after themselves, Srinivasa Reddy, who’s seen almost throughout the film, is called Bujji. Well, Lucky and Raja (Ravi Teja), too, are the most common names on the street and in Telugu movies.
Actors playing blind characters come in two broad varieties:
The first category is where the actors work on their body language (mainly eyes). Examples: Vikram in the Tamil drama Kasi, and, Dinesh and Malavika Nair in another Tamil dramaCuckoo. Here, the actors move their eyeballs rapidly, or shut their eyes partly. The other noticeable aspect is the way they use their hands to feel things and people (slow and deliberate). All these characters live on the fringes of society. They do odd / various jobs to earn their bread.
The second category is about valor where the characters cross the boundaries of their disabilities to show the world that they can fit in. Adhe Kangal’s Kalaiyarasan is a blind chef. He doesn’t need to “see” to cook a delicious meal. And, Raja The Great’s Ravi Teja is a warrior. He can kick and throw numerous punches without having to “see” his opponent. These are characters that are looking for opportunities to excel (and not money exactly).
Ravi Teja’s film has him walking and talking like any other hero-character, with the only difference being a walking stick and dark glasses.
Raja’s blindness is like a blessing in disguise for him. Would he have learnt how to fight if his eyes had functioned normally? I doubt it. An ordinary Raja is made “Raja The Great” by his mother, Anantha Lakshmi (Radikaa). Her unshakeable belief in her son makes him recognize things with the help of his other senses.
The movie provides some interesting concepts like clapping hands to check the difference in sound. Raja uses this method to understand where the person he’s fighting against is standing. As long as these kinds of scenes keep coming, it feels breezy.
The whole episode with Rajendra Prasad and his family is quite naturally the most hilarious. Even when Prudhviraj, who plays a cunning banker, just says “Jhakaas”, it’s funny. It’s funny because it’s irreverently candid. These laugh-out-loud moments are what the film should have been about wholly.
Whenever the focus shifts on Devaraj, the film wobbles. While the hero calling himself great and the villain shouting, “I’m a wonder, a wonder of wonders,” is not a new thing to Telugu cinema, it’s sad that filmmakers don’t try to bring in people who at least look the part they are playing. In some scenes, Vivan Bhatena looks like he’s saying rhymes in Hindi. Why should the directors and producers fly in villains from Mumbai when Hyderabad has fine actors like Ravi Babu, Ajay, Subbaraju, and Ravi Varma?
Mehreen’s happy faces in Krishna Gaadi Veera Prema Gaadha and Mahanubhavudu are replaced by expressionlessness here. Her life darkens as her father (Prakash Raj) gets killed in the opening scenes. So, she plays Lucky melancholically. Maybe, that’s the reason Anil roped in so many comedians.
Raja The Great is an okayish entertaining affair in the theatre. However, the minute one walks out of the movie house, there’d be nothing to pull from the bed of the two-and-a-half-hour comedy to laugh about.