A fiery youngster, somewhere in an Andhra town, comes across as a naive, happy-going, rustic guy who swears everlasting allegiance to Nasser. Least do we know that he has a fearsome flashback where he became the reigning super don-cum-aam admi's deity when he was in Kerala. Now replace the harmless Simhadri in AP with a different person, who just looks like Singhamalai, who is a naughty, happy-go-lucky, trendy guy. You have the complete story of Naayak when Simhadri joins hands with Singhamalai, who is in the danger of being awarded the death penalty by a court, apparently for killing a Minister and committing other crimes.
It would have borne a testimony to VV Vinayak's sharpness if the latter part was told with a touch of seriousness. The court in this film cannot conclusively tell Naayak from Cherry (Naayak's look-alike) and so, refuses to pronounce the sentence. (It is inconceivable how the police would not have the sense to take the DNA sample of a high-profile criminal. Well, they also allow the criminal to chat with his look-alike in the jail the day before presenting him in the court). A confused judge adjourns the court and orders that the two exactly identical persons be made to mingle with their nearest and dearest kin for some days so that the court observers may be able to sift the wheat from the chaff.
In the event, Naayak's arch enemy, the violent Pradeep Rawath, is advised by his fellow cohort to hatch a plan to eliminate Naayak because even the court is likely to fail for eternity to know who is the real offender. What follows is not only utterly predictable but also something which Naayak could have achieved just 10 minutes into the second half. (Please note that we are also expected to believe that the court will not touch Naayak anymore, now that the plaintiff is dead!)
Vinayak proves to be a director who knows how to play gimmicks with a formula story in hand and a narration baptized in masala. Here he hinges on two props: Ram Charan's image which comes in handy for projecting hackneyed heroism (of the kind we saw in Racha), and situational comedy done by everyone except the hero and his big-time sidekick, the venerable Brahmi. Besides, the director knows what kind of songs suits a particular hero. Also, he took a leaf from Gabbar Singh and infused a lengthy comedy scene (of the kind we saw in Shivaji-The Boss) involving Posani Krishna Murali and others in the second half.
The film begins with Naayak's followers being forcibly abducted by Taxi Seth's men in Kolkata. Just as the followers hail the omnipotence and omniscience of their Leader, the hero arrives, kills the goons and leaves the scene in no time. The CBI takes up the case and the team, headed by Ashish Vidhyarthi, starts tracing the clues to find out where Naayak might have escaped. In Hyderabad, the apparently same Bengal hero starts wooing Kajal Agarwal, who is the sister of Gandi Babji (Rahul Dev), a much-feared local goonda who later shivers at the sight of a murder and being an eye-witness. The naughty guy is called Cherry, and his uncle, Jilebi (Brahmi), is frightened at the thought of Cherry fooling around Babji.
Meanwhile, Cherry is thought to have murdered the DGP, and Asish Vidhyarthi loses no time to zero in on the killer, who is the fugitive who killed Taxi Seth and Co in Kolkata.
At the interval bang, we are introduced to the real Naayak.
The rest of the film is about who is Naayak, why the police and Pradeep Rawath are hunting for him, and how Cherry contributes his bit to redeem Naayak.
The first half regularly raises the pitch by playing good songs and the scenes where Ram Charan saves hundreds of children from the clutches of a mafia. There is some lecturing reserved for the media. There is the talk of the need to give back to the poor. The fights are well-choreographed, with the hero mutilating everybody in two shakes of a lamb's tail. With Brahmi in tow, Charan has good scenes where Jaya Prakash Reddy and Co evoke laughter.
The second half is the crux, and some of the scenes are the lifeblood. Charan takes up the saviour's role reluctantly, while the people giving him leadership role comes consequentially. The hero saves hundreds of girls from flesh trade. A poisonous factory is reduced to smithereens by the leader. Charmme's item song may not satisfy some (just Kevvu Keva did not impress Rajamouli). Despite some loose ends (will someone wanting to prove that a person fled away after murdering a Minister throw his dead body in Ganga or cut it into pieces within the four walls?), the comedy of confusion involving the entire cast in the last 30 minutes is enjoyable.
The story is definitely tailor-made for Charan's surging image. He gets to spout massy dialogues (written by Shiva Akula) and dances even more well. The dance choreography (by Lawrence and two others) is nimble. He strikes a beautiful chemistry with his Magadheera pair. He looks motivated in the action scenes and sprightly in the songs. There is no much comedy from him though.
Kajal is glamorous and has a lengthy role. Amala Paul sparkles with her co-star in the remix version of Shubalekha rasukunna (Shreya Ghoshal's vocals uplift it to a new high), but she does nothing else. JP clearly steals the show in a number of scenes, outshining a narcissistic Brahmi. Posani's is another noteworthy character. Pradeep Rawath has been done-to-death of late, and he is no better here. MS makes his presence felt in one scene. Rajiv Kanakala, Venu Madhav and Surekha Vani are seen briefly.
Technically, the film is top-notch. SS Thaman's music and BG score are an asset. Chota K Naidu's cinematography lends a rich feel. The action scenes and the songs have a special appeal. Gautham Raju's editing is a plus.
All in all, Naayak is for all those who love to watch an entertainer filled with doses of heroism and comedy, and also good music.
Released on: 9th Jan, 2013