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'Express Raja' Review: Entertaining Raja

Film: Express Raja
Rating: 3/5
Cast:
Sharwanand, Surabhi, Urvashi, Posani, Prabhas Seenu, Saptagiri, Shakalaka Shankar, Brahmaji, Supreet and others
Music: Praveen Lakkaraju
Cinematography: Karthik Ghattamaneni
Editing: Satya G
Production Designer: S Ravindar
Banner: UV Creations
Producers: Vamsi - Pramod
Story, Screenplay, dialogues and direction: Merlapaka Gandhi
Release date: January 14, 2016

UV Creations has become synonymous to quality class entertainers after it successfully made Mirchi with Prabhas, Jil with Gopichand, and Run Raja Run with Sharwanand.

Recently it also co-produced blockbuster Bhale Bhale Magadivoy, hence when they announced a film in the combination of Sharwanand of Run Raja Run and director Merlapaka Gandhi of Venkatadri Express, expectations soared high.

So how the film has shaped up finally?

Story
Story starts off with Raja kidnapping a dog in Hyderabad. There is a back story why he plans such an elaborate plan to pick up this particular pet dog as it was the reason that almost broke his love with Ammu (Surabhi).

The puppy is Ammu's which he casually gives to dog squad officials and she hates him for doing this. To win her love he sets out searching the dog that leads him to Nellore. Along the way many twists and funny incidents happen.  

Artistes’ Performances:
Sharwanand and Surabhi both look good together. Since there is not much scope for performance other than being a regular guy and girl, they are at their natural self. Sharwanand in particular looks uber cool. 

There are some good comedy performances by Sapathigiri as well as Prabhas Seenu. Among other cast members, Uttaman and Urvashi get noticed with their antics. Brahmaji is okay. Posani and Bapineedu are wasted. Shakalaka Shankar's comedy doesn't work much. 

Technical Excellence:
Karthik Ghattamaneni has been giving best output for small and medium budgeted movies and he has once again come up with quality output giving the movie a rich look. He is aided by nice production design by Ravindar.

Editing is not impressive. Music is the major pillar to the movie as Praveen Lakkaraju has given youthful tunes. 

Highlights:

  • Entertaining first half
  • Good comedy bits by Sapathigiri
  • Cool visuals and catchy songs

Drawbacks:

  • Too many unnecessary episodes
  • Lengthy climax sequence

Analysis:
Like the title, "Express Raja" is combination of two movies "Run Raja Run" and "Venkatadri Express". The coolness factor of "Run Raja Run" and the screenplay method of "Venkatadri Express" dominate the movie though there is not much story. 

Whatever the basic story the director has written has almost come to an end just after interval. Hero trying to win heroine's love by handing her puppy that was lost is a very thin line. The fun moments are enjoyable when the basic story is there but beyond that dreariness sets in. 

First the film begins in Hyderabad, then moves to Vizag, again comes back to Hyderabad, later proceeds to Nellore and surrounding areas, like a bus moving many routes but not reaching to the expected destination, the film moves on and on before coming to the conclusion. Even if the scenery is beautiful, the journey gets boring if the travel extends beyond stipulated time. That is what we feel with Express Raja post interval. 

First half is full of fun as there is some nice banter between hero and heroine, and the comedy performance by Saptagiri. The songs and visuals keep us glued to the seats without worrying about anything.

The issue is many unnecessary tracks like Kesava Reddy (Uttaman) and his mother's (Urvashi) episode also come in during the course of the film. Towards the end, there is another recording troupe's farce drama, which could have been avoidable and don't make impact to the screenplay. 

All in all, the film has rich production values, good music and some enjoyable comedy. A passable entertainment for sure but lot of drama could have been avoided. 

Bottomline: Time Pass Raja

(Venkat can be reached venkat@greatandhra.com or Twitter)

Click here for Telugu review

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Tags: Express Raja Express Raja Rating Express Raja Review Express Raja Telugu Review Sharwanand UV Creations