Hanu Raghavapudi’s Greatest Work Practically Hits Bullseye

Forged: Dulquer Salmaan, Rashmika Mandanna, Mrunal Thakur

Director: Hanu Raghavapudi


When the title of the movie was introduced as Sita Ramam, I groaned considering do we’d like one other movie the place the protagonists are known as Sita and Ram to persuade us of their love story. However because the story unfolds you notice that as a viewer you might be being deceived, and in a great way. This is without doubt one of the nice ways in which Hanu Raghavapudi surprises the viewers with a number of the screenplay decisions he makes. His earlier movies struggled with pacing points. He’d have a unbelievable set-up however the movie would whimper out because it reached the climax. The excellent love triangle in Andala Rakshasi will get nowhere close to the dramatic meat promised early on. The hilarious first act of Krishna Gaadi Veera Prema Gaadha, which I think about his finest work until Sita Ramam, turns into quite simple and flat within the third act. Padi Padi Leche Manasu suffered extra significantly from the “boring second half” syndrome than Sai Pallavi’s Vaishali suffered from a psychological situation in that movie.

To make up for these misplaced alternatives, Hanu Raghavapudi this time, has chosen two tales to inform. First is the one which’s acquainted from all of the promotional materials. Lieutenant Ram (Dulquer Salmaan) is an orphaned soldier who loves his nation, believes in non secular tolerance, and is of the idea that Pakistan Military and Pakistan residents are two totally different entities. At some point an act of valor on the border, which saves a riot from breaking out, makes Ram well-known throughout the nation. And shortly he begins to get letters from numerous components of the nation with every particular person claiming to be his mom, sister, aunt, with all strangers promising him that he’s not an orphan – a rustic that’s his entire household. However amidst them is a letter from Sita Mahalakshmi (Mrunal Thakur) who claims to be his spouse. Who’s Ram? Who’s Sita? Are they actually married? 

The opposite story tucked in Sita Ramam is that of Afreen (Rashmika Mandanna), an India-hating Pakistani scholar, who groups up with Balaji (Tharun Bhascker) to search out the reality about Sita and Ram. However she’s a stand-in for the non secular bigotry plaguing the nation, she’s a stand-in for disharmony between India and Pakistan, and somebody torn between the notion of whether or not a superb Muslim also can love Indians and Hindus. I feel the movie additionally serves as one of many best mouthpieces for the Indian military’s legitimacy in Kashmir, the infantilization of Kashmiri women and men, and likewise shifts the blame for the mess in Kashmir on the Pakistani Military. However we’ll get to that later. 

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The construction of the movie is paying homage to Veer-Zaara, Loving Vincent, and Dulquer Salman’s personal Mahanati. And that’s not a nasty factor. Hanu Raghavapudi is in high quality kind when coping with the love story between Sita and Ram. There are deliberate Mani Ratnam-esque touches that he makes use of to emphasise the love between Sita and Ram. I do know I do know, it looks like each movie author within the nation can’t wait to make use of the time period “Mani Ratnam-esque” the minute there are mirrors and trains in a movie, however I feel Hanu Raghavapudi is extra keen than most to website his inspiration. If Padi Padi Leche Manasu felt like a tribute to Geetanjali, right here, one can’t assist however see the similarities to Roja, the place a spouse goes on the lookout for her husband caught in captivity. Hanu Raghavapudi, together with cinematographers PS Vinod and Shreyas Krishna is deliberate in displaying Kashmir as a spot of everlasting magnificence and battle. Even the early courting scenes between Sita and Ram that start on a practice and finish with the 2 lovers exploring town whereas the lady hides the key from her household, are paying homage to Sakhi and OK Bangaram.

Dulquer himself amps up that boyish attraction when he is aware of the traces are weak. He struggles within the preliminary parts when he must be a military man and he doesn’t have the effervescent anger or the restrained rage his character wants, however as soon as it requires him to gentle up his eyes when he sees Sita or smile at her from a distance, he proves that there aren’t too many romantic leads who can do pure romance like him. It is a man who made Mahanati’s model of Gemini Ganesan likable, so think about what occurs when he performs a extra likable model of Adi from OK Bangaram and a extra harmless model of Gemini Ganesan from Mahanati. Within the scenes with Sunil and a perfectly in-form Vennela Kishore, who performs a theatre-obsessed Durjay, Dulquer holds his personal subsequent to them whereas performing comedy and never within the sense of being the “cool” man who lets the comic ham it up, however bounces off them to create moments of real humor. I didn’t anticipate Vennela Kishore and Dulqer Salmaan to be such a convincing “pair”. Extra of that, please. 

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However it’s Mrunal Thakur who almost steals the movie away from him. In components, the writing doesn’t do her a lot justice i.e. as soon as she resolves the “huge battle” of her character early within the second half she’s not given a lot to do than mope round or look lovingly at Ram. However aided by Sheetal Sharma’s costumes and Chinmayi’s voice, it’s laborious to take your eyes off of her on display screen. It shouldn’t have come all the way down to Chinmayi and the costumes had Hanu Raghavapudi determined to not resolve the romantic battle so early within the second half. 

And that brings us to the opposite story within the movie, that of Afreen, Brigadier Vishnu Sharma (Sumanth), and Abu Tariq (Sachin Khedekar). With the therapy of this story, Hanu Raghavapudi reminds us of his earlier movies, and this for positive I don’t imply in a great way. 

Afreen hates India and her introduction is ready to banging rock music and I might see that had India been a extra tolerant nation, Hanu Raghavapudi would have made Afreen burn an even bigger Indian flag and create a extra kickass entry for her in order that the final word change in her arc would have been rewarding. However her hate appears to stem from simply the truth that she’s Pakistani and it’s all of the extra unconvincing as a result of her grandfather Abu Tariq who raised her, is a peace-loving man, who regardless of working within the Pakistani military, respects each nations. Rashmika Mandanna appears hammy and not using a correct backstory for her actions.

Even the movie’s apologetic tone in direction of the Indian military and its lack of analysis into the problems in Kashmir appears to have the idealism of a Fb submit from pre-2014 India that ended with a joke on Manmohan Singh. There’s a lot I discover problematic with Hanu Raghavapudi in what he extols by way of the movie reminiscent of Kashmiris being too simply influenced by Pakistani propaganda, a Hindu man named Ram saving riots from spreading, thrusting a Quran within the palms of a dying terrorist, and saying “I hope you perceive this higher in your subsequent life”, or having his characters say dialogues to the impact of ‘Kashmiris liked the Indian military earlier than Pakistan messed it up.’

Sita Ramam Movie Review: Hanu Raghavapudi’s Best Work Nearly Hits Bullseye, Film Companion

However there are two causes I received’t delve into it. First, it’ll take eternally to get into the whole lot and you aren’t studying this to search out out my opinion on Kashmir. Secondly, I belief that Hanu Raghavapudi means properly, and very like the movie Khadgam, which spoke of nationwide unity, this movie too has its coronary heart in the precise place even when the analysis is misplaced. 

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This movie doesn’t appear to have a battle as soon as Sita and Ram get collectively within the second half so it must spend extra time with the opposite huge battle that of Afreen. However as soon as the movie shifts its consideration there, it turns into a unique movie about nations, religions, and battle, and a as soon as private love story instantly turns into about metaphors, and characters turn out to be stand-ins for ideologies. Even the one good arc of Vishnu Sharma is completed with dollops of overacting and doesn’t absolutely make the most of Sumanth’s performing vary. I absolutely cheered on the considered Sumanth and Bhumika Chawla reuniting as a pair almost two and a half a long time after Yuvakudu. However Bhumika is given too little to do and Sumanth is informed to behave an excessive amount of. TOO MUCH. When he hears the identify of somebody from his previous, he drops the article in his hand in shock; when narrating a flashback, he swivels his head to the facet to point the flashback is coming, and he bellows when he’s offended. 

In the direction of the climax, Hanu Raghavapudi makes one other pedestrian mistake when a letter that’s traveled time and three international locations is meant to be delivered by Afreen. It’s the end result of her change and her journey. Story-wise, she has to provide it to the particular person to point that she’s modified. However fairly the second is robbed from her and given to Balaji, an totally inconsequential character within the universe of Sita Ramam

Sita Ramam Movie Review: Hanu Raghavapudi’s Best Work Nearly Hits Bullseye, Film Companion

Even the music by Vishal Chandrashekar from whom Hanu Raghavapudi extracted such high quality albums in Krishna Gaadi Veera Prema Gaadha, and Padi Padi Leche Manasu appears just a little stale in Sita Ramam in comparison with these two albums. It’s SP Charan who holds the music collectively along with his singing, which is almost an identical to his father’s (SPB) and that’s by no means a nasty factor.

Hanu Raghavapudi nonetheless struggles with dealing with the second story however on condition that he has such likable leads and that he’s so deft at dealing with love tales, that is simply his best work. He must be making higher movies, however for now, he’s made his finest movie. 

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