Raju Gari Gadhi 2 movie review: Nagarjuna, Samantha shine in a lacklustre film
Raju Gari Gadhi 2, starring Nagarjuna and Samantha, falls prey to the curse of template-driven horror comedies despite all its sincerity to tell an emotional story of a young woman with bellyful of dreams. It’s almost like a three-course meal, where the chef teases you with an array of dishes before serving you the signature meal. The only difference here is that by the time we get to the main course, the appetite is lost to a great extent.
Given the success ratio of horror comedies, one might even wonder if the formula can ever go wrong, but the manner in which Raju Gari Gadhi 2 struggles to find its rhythm is proof enough that things can go wrong even for what many consider “a safe genre”.
Like most horror comedies, this is about a bunch of friends, whose tryst with a ghost sets off a series of incidents that forces them to figure out what had gone wrong. In the film, three friends (played by Ashwin Babu, Vennela Kishore, and Praveen) pool in money to buy a resort and soon, they discover that they are being haunted by a ghost. And when it all goes terribly wrong, they seek the help of a mentalist, Rudra (Nagarjuna). The rest of the story is about how Rudra finds out the truth about the ghost.
Director Ohmkar’s earlier foray into this genre resulted in Raju Gari Gadhi, which had its share of rib-tickling humour and a suspense element which formed the core of the film. And in Raju Gari Gadhi 2, a faithful remake of Malayalam film Pretham, the suspense element is replaced with an emotional story of a young girl, Amrutha, played by Samantha.
To its credit, the film works when it focuses on the confrontation between Rudra and Amrutha, and how Rudra unravels the mystery behind Amrutha. But the film finds itself on a shaky ground on too many occasions.
Nagarjuna is cast as a mentalist, who has the power to deduce things without having to try too hard, and the actor brings plenty of panache and gravitas to his role. It’s quite evident that Ohmkar is well-aware that there’s a star in the film and so, we get the mandatory slow-motion shots, a lilting background score whenever Nagarjuna is on screen. Perhaps it’s his screen presence or the larger-than-life treatment, at no point does Ohmkar treat all his actors equally and it shows.
The track featuring the three friends and their testosterone-filled shenanigans at the resort, where they become obsessed with Suhanisa (Seerat Kapoor), is treated differently and separately compared to every other scene that has Nagarjuna and Samantha. These are clearly two different worlds and they are not in sync with each other. And here lies the problem with the film. The lead up to introduction of Rudra into the plot is poorly written and it makes you yearn for the actual drama to unfold as quickly as possible.
The final act of this plot is also its most emotional track and Samantha captivates our attention right from the moment she appears on screen. Despite her limited screen time, Samantha conveys the emotion of the character quite well and her equation with Nagarjuna is one of the highs in this movie. Thankfully, the film stresses less on its horror element and focuses more on the life story of a young girl (Amrutha), who is quite attached to her father.
Nagarjuna gets a well-written monologue in the end and that’s when we understand the underlying theme of the film. It does pack in enough material for us to chew upon long after watching the film, but it also begs a question - Did the story have to be so long (and pointless, at times) to really get to what it wants to say?
Having said that, Raju Gari Gadhi 2 scores high in terms of its sound design and full credit to Thaman for holding our attention in some of the key moments. The film also dabbles with themes like shame, guilt, revenge and redemption, but it’s so verbose that a lot of it gets lost in translation if you don’t pay close attention to the dialogues, especially in the second half of the film.
Raju Gari Gadhi 2 works well in parts, but it falters constantly as it moves from one set-piece to another. But one thing is certain - You can’t forget the visual of Samantha’s eyes, filled with all the sadness in the world. And Thaman’s melancholic background score just accentuates that.