Naa Peru Surya movie review: Allu Arjun’s terrific performance outweighs the rest of this inconsistent film

Hemanth Kumar

May,04 2018 15:35:09 IST

3/5

There couldn’t have been a more appropriate time to reflect on everything that Allu Arjun starrer Naa Peru Surya wants to convey to the audience through its narrative.

We live in an era where nationalism and patriotism has occupied our mindspace so much that we are constantly forced to ponder upon what it means to an Indian. Throughout the film, it is evident that writer and director Vakkantham Vamsi wants to engage the audience with all these questions about patriotism through the eyes of its protagonist Surya, a hot-headed young soldier in the Indian army. Surya’s dream is to fight for the country at the border, and he aspires to achieve his goal, despite the ups and downs in his life. So far so good.

However, as honest and noble as the film’s intentions might be, as a cinematic experience Naa Peru Surya falls short from being a gripping tale of a true patriot. And there in lies the biggest issue with the film - its intentions are let down by how the film is structured over a course of 168 minutes.

Allu Arjun in a still from Naa Peru Surya. YouTube

Allu Arjun in a still from Naa Peru Surya. YouTube

The film opens with a big bang and within five minutes into the film, we get to know who Surya (Allu Arjun) is. He has no control over his emotions and his anger often lands him in trouble at the military academy; however, Surya doesn’t budge. In his heart, he believes that he’s doing the right thing. One day, he’s dismissed from the army due to his uncontrollable anger and his commanding officer agrees to pardon him if he changes his attitude. In turn, this propels Surya to go on a journey which brings him face to face with his past.

There’s a scene in the film where Surya explains why he wants to fight at the border, which puts in perspective why he’s so motivated about his goal. Surya sees himself as a protector of not just the nation, but also the very ideals that reinforce his faith in the nation. He’s short-tempered, but there’s a reason why he loses his cool every time. He can’t tolerate injustice and twisted mentality of people, who expect him to be ambivalent as per the situation. No wonder, he gets angry when a police officer demands a bribe from him; or when he sees a bunch of goons call for a shutdown. He firmly believes that a man’s character is what keeps him alive.

As idealistic as Surya’s characterisation might be, one of the major issues with the film is that the tone and mood of the story is entwined with the mood swings of Surya. It’s thrilling when Surya stays true to his personality, and gets quite drab when he tries to suppress his anger. And Vakkantham Vamsi’s choice to pack in most of the whistle-worthy moments in the first half, leaving very little for the latter part of the story, doesn’t help the film either.

It’s ironic that a film which stays true to its script and is honest in its approach turns bland when the protagonist undergoes change.

The depth in Surya’s characterisation is perhaps the only thing that the film gets right. Unfortunately, his equation with his couple of other key characters, played by Arjun and Nadiya, lacks emotional depth and it hampers the flow of the film. And on top of that, after hyping Challa (Sharat Kumar) as a fearsome don for the whole length of the film, his confrontation with Surya doesn’t quite evoke a strong emotion.

Naa Peru Surya also suffers from the inexplicable need to turn the narrative into a lesson on patriotism and nationalism.

Despite all its drawbacks, it’s Allu Arjun’s terrific performance as an angry young man that keeps the proceedings going. Every time he gets into Hulk mode, he sets the screen on fire with his angry avatar.

Yet again, Anu Emmanuel finds herself in an underwritten role and it feels like her track is cut short, despite a good onscreen chemistry between her and Allu Arjun. And even more disappointing is how Vakkantham Vamsi relegates Arjun’s role to the sidelines. For someone who plays a crucial part in Surya’s journey, the film doesn’t offer enough space for Arjun to go on full throttle to explore his equation with Allu Arjun. On the other hand, the action sequences are very well-choreographed and background music too is an asset.

In an attempt to highlight the importance of patriotism, Vakkantham Vamsi walks a thin line where the film often steps into an extremely jingoistic tone. He might have succeeded in showcasing a different side of Allu Arjun’s acting persona, but then, the story itself tumbles down as it progresses. Naa Peru Surya is filled with patriotism, but the lack of emotional integrity, barring Surya’s characterisation, takes the fizz out of a lot of things that the film gets right.

Updated Date: May 04, 2018 15:35 PM