Raju Gari Gadhi 2 Review
'Raju Gari Gadhi-2', starring Nagarjuna and Samantha in main roles, hits the screens this Friday. Here is our review.
Vennela Kishore, Praveen and Ashwin Babu start a resort by the side of a beach. The friends-cum-business partners begin to encounter mysterious situations at nights in the resort.
Fearing dire consequences, they approach a Church Father (played by senior actor Naresh), who in turn seeks the help of Rudra (Akkineni Nagarjuna), one of the world's renowned mentalists.
As Rudra steps in to solve the mystery of the haunted resort, he psychedelically learns that the resident ghost (Samantha as Amrutha) is trying to avenge its death.
Who caused her death? Is Amrutha trying to convey anything to Rudra? What is her past? How does Rudra unravel the mystery? Answers to these questions are found in the second half.
The first half of 'Raju Gari Gadhi-2' is almost a scene-by-scene remake of 'Pretham' (Malayalam). It's in the second half that director Ohmkar reimagines the screenplay to a good effect. Although the story remains as it is, the way Rudra's character is elevated (it's rather plain in the Malayalam original, so much so, it's difficult to see none more than a self-conscious cop-like psychologist) aptly.
To call this film a horror would be a travesty. It seems Ohmkar didn't set out to scare the audience. To make for the lack of horror, the film introduces a substantial emotional heft in the climax scenes. In 'Pretham', you are treated to a primitively narrated half-plot revolving around just crime and nothing else.
Till the time Nagarjuna's character doesn't enter the screen (for a good 40 minutes or so), Kishore, Praveen and Ashwin Babu's male bonding, half-done trysts with the ghost, etc fail to make a mark. You have to resign to the fact that an imported comedy track (wherein two of the characters woo Seerat Kapoor) has been planted artificially. Kishore and Shakalaka Shankar are hardly seen in their elements in these portions, while Seerat's character and a song are underwhelming.
The investigation scene involving Ravi Varma and Annapurnamma (both are seen in bit roles) should have been narrated before Rudra is introduced to the three friends. Seerat's character disappears suddenly, while the three friends (who were the prime ones in the first half) slide into insignificance later.
The ghost seems to wait and wait till the climax to convey anything (she had once used electronic communication in a bland scene). At least, the idea of leveraging Samantha's acting skills in these portions is good. In 'Pretham', this character is sketchy, and her flashback is old-worn; as a consequence, even the mentalist's character doesn't find its mojo. The Telugu version avoids the pitfalls of the original for good.
Abburi Ravi's dialogues in the aforementioned scenes are heart-touching. Otherwise, they lack the zing, especially in comic portions.
If Naresh is forgettable, it's Rao Ramesh and Abhinaya who really complement the fairly interesting second half.
Nagarjuna walks away with the film's best performance. He is flawless, and manages to look earnest with ease. His diction is all right for this character. Samantha a non-glamorous role with elan. Her emotional act in the finale is fab. The talented Abhinaya and the versatile Rao Ramesh do a good job. With better situations and lines, Kishore and Shankar would have ruled the roost.
R Diwakaran's cinematography is dexterous. SS Thaman's BGM (and not the songs) complements the screenplay.
A largely faithful remake of 'Pretham', 'RGG-2' has in Rudra a hero you will root for. Samantha is very good. Don't expect to be spooked. The comedy passes muster.