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Narappa Review: Revenge Shown On Rugged Canvas

Narappa Review: Revenge Shown On Rugged Canvas

Movie: Narappa
Rating: 2.5/5
Suresh Productions, V Creations
Cast: Venkatesh, Priyamani, Rao Ramesh, Nassar, Karthik Rathnam, Ammu Abhirami, Rajeev Kanakala, and others
Writer: Vetri Maaran
Music: Mani Sharma
Cinematography: Sam K Naidu
Editor: Marthand Venkatesh
Action: Peter Hein
Producers: D Suresh Babu, Kalaipuli S Thanu
Written and Direction: Sreekanth Addala
Release Date: July 20, 2021
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

After Nani’s “V” and Anushka’s “Nishabdham”, Venkatesh’s “Narappa” is the major Telugu film to get a premiere on OTT space. The film was to release in the theaters in May 2021. Owing to the second wave of coronavirus, it is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Let’s find out the merits and demerits.

The story is set in the 1980s in a village in Ananthapuram district. A poor farmer Narappa (Venkatesh) flees into the forest with his younger son, Sinnappa, to hide in a safer place. Because the 16-year-old Sinnappa (Rakhi) murdered a landlord to avenge his brother Munikanna’s death.

Fearing that his son would not have a future, Narappa takes him to the forest. Narappa plans to take the blame on him and surrender in court when things become calmer. The landlord’s men also are on the lookout for Sinnappa to kill him.

In the eyes of Sinappa, Narappa is a ‘weak’ person. But he was a fierce and ill-tempered person in his younger days.

What made Narappa put his violent past behind? And how far would he go to protect his son and the family?

Artistes’ Performances:
Venkatesh appeared in two dimensions, that of an aging Narappa and his young self. Venkatesh has given a superb performance in the older character, a realistic portrayal that stays with us. A matured Narappa, Venkatesh holds the film to the most part. But as a younger Narappa, Venkatesh looks out of place in its milieu. Wearing designer dresses, appearing like a handsome Telugu hero, Venkatesh gets the role wrong. This is a major put-off. 

Priyamani as Narappa's wife has put in a solid performance. But the scene-stealer is the new actor Raakhi, who played Sinnappa. His diction and natural acting are perfect.

Karthik Ratnam as Venkatesh’s elder son, Rajeev Kanakala as his brother-in-law, and Rao Ramesh as the lawyer are also impressive. 

Technical Excellence:
The rustic and dry locations shot mostly in Tamilnadu have lent credence to the theme. The camerawork is good. The production design follows the original movie.

Sreekanth Addala’s dialogues in Rayalaseema slang are perfect. Mani Sharma’s music is the same as the original’s. 

Venkatesh’s performance as an aged man
The central point of the story
The first half

Predictable Climax
Lack of effective emotions
The flashback portions

“Narappa” is the second collaboration between Venkatesh and director Sreekanth Addala after “Seethamma Vaakitlo Sirimalle Chettu”. Unlike their previous film, “Narappa” is a remake of a Tamil movie, Asuran.

One of the reasons why ‘Asuran’ was instantly liked by the audiences is a young Dhanush playing a middle-aged character. He played father to grownup sons. His transformation into that role mesmerized all. Whereas, Venkatesh, who is 60-plus, playing that role, doesn’t come as a surprise at all. Still, Venkatesh went ahead in remaking this.

Revenge as its core theme, “Narappa” is a multi-layered story that also deals with the social inequality, the class divide, the feudal system in the villages in a bygone era. In the end, it also stresses the importance of education.

‘Narappa’ begins as a father trying to protect his younger son from the village landlords, who are after him.

The first half of the film is a survival drama, which is narrated engagingly. Not deviating an inch from the story, the first half of the proceedings are gripping. The interval bang and the fight sequence are well-captured. The first half of the film also runs high on emotional quotient, making it a riveting watch.

The second half of the film switches into revenge drama, with the flashback story for the hero coming into place. The flashback portions were weak in the original Tamil movie as well. And in this remake, they are even more passive.

Moreover, Venkatesh looks out of place as a younger Narappa. While his entire community lives in small huts in penury, Venkatesh wears colorful and ironed dresses. 

The romantic thread between Venkatesh and Ammu Abhirami looks odd, due to the age gap between them in real life. Dhanush is a much younger person in real life, and his track with Ammu Abhirami looked right. This entire portion is filmed more like a regular commercial film than a realistic film.

Soon after the backstory ends, the film comes onto the track, further capturing the bond between a father and a son.

It is very hard to see this kind of remakes as every frame and every minute detail is directly cut copied from the original. Even the camera angles, art work and the set properties are perfectly lifted and shifted.

“Narappa” indeed has some emotional moments and is frame by frame remake. Still, it pales in comparison to the original Tamil movie on many accounts. Venkatesh and Priyamani's performance and interesting plot are the reason why “Narappa” works in parts. It could have worked as a whole had the second half was handled better.  

Bottom-line: Frame by Frame


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