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'Rowdy' Review: Varma Weaves Magic With Mohan Babu

Movies: Rowdy
Rating: 3/5 
Banner:
AV Pictures, 24 Frames Factory
Cast: Mohan Babu, Manchu Vishnu, Jaya Sudha, Sanvi, Tanikella Bharani, Paruchuri Gopal Krishna and Others
Story: Gangotri Viswanath
Cinematographer: Satish Muthyala
Music: Sai Karthik 
Producers: Vijay Kumar, P Gajendra Naidu, M Parthasaradhi Naidu 
Story and Direction: Ram Gopal Varma 
Release Date: Apr 4th, 2014

Rowdy was launched silently by Ram Gopal Varma. But the film created a stir on the very day he released the first look of the film. Of course, if you actually look at it, it is yet another rehash of Varma’s favourite film Godfather. Incidentally, he had earlier made Sarkar with Amitabh Bachchan on the same lines. In Rowdy, he has Mohan Babu playing the lead. And Varma succeeds from the word ‘go’ by making the right casting.

Story:
It’s Anna’s (Mohan Babu) raj in Rayalaseema. What he says is final and he is no less than God for the people there. Anna opposes a project as it is not beneficial for the Seema people. But those who want to start the project in Seema are equally adamant in wanting to establish it there and plot to kill Anna to make things smooth for them. The rest of the film tracks how Anna’s son Krishnan (Vishnu) thwarts the plans of the villains.

Artistes’ Performance:
It’s Mohan Babu’s film through and through. Anna commands respect from all and his character emphasizes the importance of respect. Mohan Babu does total justice to his character and if one were to count the highlights of the film from 1 to 10, then they can be summed up in one word – Mohan Babu. Probably, no director has made such optimum use of Mohan Babu in recent times. All credit goes to Ram Gopal Varma and he gets 100 out of 100 for his brilliant screenplay and characterization.

Vishnu’s role is passive in the first half, but it becomes active in the second half. For Vishnu, the film is a welcome change as he is usually seen in comedy films. Coming to Jayasudha, she needs no introduction, she is her usual best. As for Vishnu’s leading girl Sanvi, with so many big names, she hardly has any scope.

Tanikella Bharani’s ‘Vedas’ evokes quite a few laughs. Parachuri Gopalakrishna and others put in ok performances.

Technical Performance:
If you track Varma’s films from the recent past, loud background music has been his signature touch. Though loud BMG is good at places, it is a bit too loud at other places. Given the plot, there is no need for songs. But there are some songs and you wish they were chopped off in the editing room. Barring Seema Lekka, none of the songs register.

Cinematography by Satish Muthyala does not impress. But the jarring angles that Varma has been using in his recent films are missing thankfully. Yet, the film does not boast of any technical excellence which was a highlight of Varma’s earlier films.

In fact, Varma has mashed up Sarkar and Sarkar Raj to make Rowdy. And he has used the background score of Shiva and the background of Raktacharitra.

But compared to his recent films, Rowdy is definitely better. He scores the most in terms of casting. Collection king Mohan Babu puts in a performance that cannot be replicated by others. And all credit goes to Ram Gopal Varma for showing him at his best.

Highlights:

  • Mohan Babu’s performance
  • Vishnu’s performance during the climax scenes
  • Interval Episode

Drawbacks:

  • Music
  • Second Half
  • Simple Climax

Analysis:
Those who are acquainted with the crime drama genre and who watched the Godfather series, might relate to the film. Since it is genre-specific, the film lacks entertainment and the film progresses on a serious note. Though it may not be liked by all sections of the audience, it will surely be appreciated by those who like crime-drama genre.

The first half is Mohan Babu’s show all along. He takes some scenes to a totally different level. For example, his dialogue with Ravi Babu and the scene where he gently admonishes Jayasudha when he is reprimanding his elder son are really gripping. They remind one of Varma’s vintage film-making. The way Varma picturised the interval scenes is really good. They have the same raw appeal that the scenes had in Rakta Charitra.

However, you are bound to feel that the film has been wrapped up in a hurry and with limited resources. Had he concentrated more, he would have surely made a film on par with Sarkar. In fact, Varma seems to have felt somewhere along the line that there was no need for details as the main story is already well-known and oft-repeated. Though he could have tightened the script in the second half, he merely skims through the script. Even the twist fails to surprise and it is proof of Varma’s laziness that he so enjoys flaunting these days.

Must say, the film has its share of minus points. But Varma appears to be in control of his film-making skills after a long, long time. If one were to compare Sarkar and Rowdy, then it can be safely said that his overall quality has come down quite a bit. And that is where Mohan Babu takes over and manages the show. Had Varma used Mohan Babu effectively even in the second half, it would have elevated the film.

If you want to watch Mohan Babu at his best, then do watch Rowdy. If you don’t expect any miracles from Varma and don’t mind watching an crime-drama flick, then watch Rowdy.

Bottomline: Rowdy... The Mohan Babu Show.

(Venkat can be reached at venkat@greatandhra.com or https://twitter.com/greatandhranews)  

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