At a time when it has become almost an impossible feat to pull audiences to the theatre when you have neither a star face nor an acclaimed director, Race is a technically sound and intelligent film made with new and unfamiliar faces. But for the fact that the story doesn't match up to the witty dialogue, the film packs oh-so-many punches, delivering exciting moments from the word go. If the first half looks just fine (duration-wise), the second half could have done away with some boring scenes here and there. The end the bad guys meet, however, is pretty cool and novel.
It is a crime thriller laced with bromantic comedy and mild romance. The screenplay is concocted in such a way that it keeps us guessing about what will happen next. The mystery unravels not so early and doesn't really look awesome as much as the lessons learnt by two of the characters. There is a touch of human emotions, which is definitely underplayed.
It is the story of Abhi, Chai and Sid, whose life takes a curious turn when they go on a tour to Bangkok. For all the good-heartedness, Abhi has an adventurous streak in him and he believes that life should not be like an iPod but FM Radio, with us being in perpetual suspense over which song will be played next. Chai will go for a meaningless (and moral-less) life than be money-less. For him, money comes before everything, and he doesn't think twice before dumping Anjali (played by Nikita Narayan) for a cigarette-smoking crorepathi girl. Sid, the trendier chap among them, has no other goal in life except flirting with as many girls as he can.
After a fun-filled day, they bump into a road accident that, over time, threatens to change their future. Even though two of the three brotherly friends are not greedy after money, they end up stealing big bucks stuffed in a black bag (because one of them will prefer to die of obesity-caused disorders , but not of unquenched curiosity about what is in the bag) in the car, wherein the only person is dead. They stash it away in secret lockers in two hotels and decide to make the most of their merry time. Looking relaxed and confident, they roam about freely and fearlessly like casual gadabouts, only to meet their nemesis eventually.
The second half is about how they get into danger and get out of it, in the process learning lessons of their life.
The dialogues (by Shankar) are quite rib-tickling as well as mature. The very many English words lend it the much-needed savvy flavor. There is no trace of unreality in the behavior of the three main actors, as their conversations are truly slice-of-life. There is a scent of voyeurism in the air.
The director (Ramesh Raparthy) injects the proceedings with fresh situations. The culture of the city has been explored in a never-seen-before way in Telugu cinema. Chases are brief and the Hollywoodish villains are not unnecessarily exaggerated.
Helped by adept cinematography, the scenes are eye-candy.
The screenplay is not without drawbacks. It is incredulous to watch them being calm and composed after doing something they would not dream of doing. Stealing a million dollar bucks in a new country is such a shivering idea that only quick-witted wheeler-dealers can maintain calm after committing the crime. Disha Pandey comes with a Glamour quotient, but the Director should have extracted an impactfull performance from her to make her more endearing.
The songs impede the smooth flow, even though the picturization is not tacky. Some scenes could have been trimmed - like the scene where Aarthi explains the modus operandi to Abhi.
The main give a convincing acting output, so also Srinivas Reddy. All the main technical departments pull it off with aplomb.
Verdict: Race, surprisingly, is a worthy watch. Watch out for the dialogue, the neat performances, the smart execution. But have ordinary expectations.