Over the last couple of years, Telugu cinema has seen some great works by debutantes like Pellichoopulu and Arjun Reddy. Just like everyone else, I hoped that this would pave way for more such interesting work in the Telugu Film Industry. But, debutante director Ajay Bhupati’s action love story, RX 100, starring newcomers Karthikeya and Payal Rajput is a big, appalling let down!
Shiva (played by Karthikeya) is a small-town orphan, living with and working for a local leader, Daddy (played by Ramki). Ramki has political allegiances with Vishwanatham (played by Rao Ramesh), whom he helps win the Zilla Parishad elections. Shiva, who runs a cinema theatre in this small sleepy town near Rajahmundry, falls for the snobbish and arrogant, Indu (played by Payal Rajput), Vishwanatham’s Bangalore-bred daughter. Predictably, the lovebirds are separated, where the girl is married off to an NRI in USA, turning her lovelorn hero into an aggressive rowdy. Whether they reunite or not, forms the rest of the movie. The movie which released last week has been garnering praise for its supposed ‘surprising twist’ in the second half, which gets a mention on its Wiki page as well. I wonder how can the viewers be so dumb and not see this coming – it was so evident and obvious!
Leaving aside the predictability, a movie needs to develop its characters and layer its sequences accordingly, to create an engaging narrative. Sadly, the movie fails here on all accounts. All the characters are one-tone, barely giving a glimpse of their equations with each other or the reason behind the enmity between the warring factions. The performances are so flat and weak, that they barely evoke any emotion in the audience. Most of the cast seems to know of only one emotion – aggression, which reflects in almost any scene that you pick. Tickets for this movie should have come with a user manual on decoding the bland expressions on most of the actors faces. Even the love-making scenes meant to be sensuous are complete damp squib. The comic scenes are not funny at all, but, the dialogue writer leaves the audiences unintentionally in splits, owing to some of the most clichéd lines written in recent times. With a song popping up every 10 minutes in the first half and an excessive dose of background score, the movie further tests your patience!
Director-writer, Ajay Bhupati, tries to be a mix of Sriram Raghavan of Badlapur and Sandeep Vanga of Arjun Reddy, failing miserably to be either! A director is responsible to get the best out of his actors and tighten the script, but he seems as less involved in the making of this film as I was while watching it! At 2 hours and 30 minutes, the movie is ridiculously long, and by the time it reaches its crescendo, the viewers have already given up. Speaking of the performances, Karthikeya, playing the lead, clearly tries to revisit Vijay Devarakonda’s aggressive Arjun Reddy, but struggles to show any other emotion or even look half as convincing. Payal Rajput is given the quintessential props of an independent women in Indian cinema– she is a snooty, motor-mouth, cigarette smoking woman, who is open about her sexual needs. Giving credit where it’s due, for the first time, a movie talks about women being as capable of objectifying and lusting for men, as men are for women! Among the other actors, not a single supporting cast displays even an ounce of honesty in their characters. A talented actor like Rao Ramesh is the only one who is worth watching, to a certain extent. A special mention of the brilliant camera work (I was not able to find the cinematographer’s details online), for using some of the most slick and innovative shots. One such unusual shot was in the beginning of the movie, where a character is shown running, with his arms brushing against the frame of the camera to show his movement.
I cannot remember when was the last time I had to endure such a long and emotionless tirade. I always jot down my thoughts on my phone during a movie, for writing my reviews. Some movies are so engrossing that I get time to make notes only in the interval, while most others give me a breathing moment in between. In this case, my phone was out throughout the movie, giving me enough time to write a novel to critique it! Watch it if you must!
My Rating: 1/5