Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava Review - A Reasonably Engaging Tale of a Reluctant Factionist
Veera Raghava (NTR Jr.) comes back to his village after a 12 year stint in London & he is surprised to see his father and his men stopping the train well before their local railway station & welcome him. Traveling with his father and uncle, Aravinda has hardly had anytime to unwind and catch up with family talk when he senses something wrong and his fears come true. They are ambushed, Veera Raghava’s father and uncle are killed within split seconds and Raghava himself is attacked. He doesn’t even have time to ponder over anything and realizes that if he needs to stay alive and take back the bodies of his people back home then he has only one option, to attack. The next few minutes can be either a treat if you are fond of masala actioners or else something difficult to handle as Veera cuts through his attackers, proving that he is a true son of the soil as well.
This is a rather explosive start to Trivikram Srinivas’ latest film, Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava and it sets the tone for the rest of the film. The plot by itself is fairly simple enough, 2 neighbouring villages in Rayalseema have been literally at war of sorts for the last 30 years and the regular bloodshed has taken a heavy toll of men from both sides. When Raghava loses his father Nagappa Reddy (Naga Babu) and his uncle in an open ambush by their rival Basi Reddy (Jagapati Babu) and their men, Raghava does attack his enemies to survive. But when he realizes that his men are thirsting for revenge Raghava decides that it’s time to put an end to the bloody rivalry forever and decides to lie low for a while. The rest of the tale is all about how circumstances force him to face his rivals and bring a solution to the matter permanently.
The story as such doesn’t really have any novelty to it; it does remind you of countless other factionalism related Telugu films with a Rayalseema background. But then Trivikram shows some spunk in getting a couple of things taken care of very well; ensuring that the 167 minute long tale has quite a few interesting moments which are spread out through the film and in getting NTR Jr. to play the protagonist. A lot of care has been taken to get the Rayalseema dialect sound right and this lends some authenticity to the proceedings. The first half an hour or so kicks off in style and the proceedings move at a rapid pace, only for a slight shift in the narrative later on. But the pace picks up well and truly once again nearing the interval period. The film as expected boasts of good production values, the choice of locations being a good indicator of the same.
P.S. Vinod’s cinematography gives the right balance between the urban, more neutral tone to the slightly red tone which blends with the rural Rayalseema background. Thaman’s music is strictly average; none of the songs stay with you after watching the movie. For a mass commercial film with a lot of action it’s a relief to see that the female characters are not mere props in the film. Trivikram signals his intentions very clearly with the film’s title itself and goes on to exhibit the importance of his film’s female characters not with mere screen time but with the kind of impact that they generate. In terms of the star cast and performances it’s good to see Sunil playing a supporting role after a long time, his portrayal of Neelambari, the confidante of Raghava is effective. Supriya Pathak as Raghava’s grandmother, Naveen Chandra as Bali Reddy, the son of Basi Reddy, Rao Ramesh as the politician Krishna Reddy, Eshwari Rao as Basi Reddy’s wife and Brahmaji as one of Bali Reddy’s henchmen get noticed.
Pooja Hegde is thankfully not relegated to being just a pretty face on screen and as Aravinda she not only plays Raghava’s love interest but also his driving force of sorts. Jagapati Babu might be getting popularly typecast as the antagonist these days, but he does play the evil and cold hearted Basi Reddy with a lot of charisma. And finally how can one write about this film and not mention anything about its leading man, NTR Jr. It will not be an understatement to say that the film would not have worked without his electrifying presence. There is a certain comfort seen in the way he balances his calm demeanour in certain portions along with his fiery side otherwise.
Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava is not the best of Trivikram or NTR Jr. but it is definitely one of their better works and a film that works to an extent.
Despite a hackneyed plot Trivikram manages to keep the proceedings engaging and is supported in a big way by the presence of his leading man NTR Jr. who is a treat to watch on screen.