'Cameraman Ganga Tho Rambabu' (Telugu)
Director: Puri Jagannadh
Cast: Pawan Kalyan, Tamannaah, Prakash Raj, Kota Srinivasa Rao
When Pawan Kalyan asked director Puri Jagannadh to make a film on social responsibility, little would his fans have guessed that the urge perhaps stemmed from the turmoil in the state. 'Cameraman Ganga Tho Rambabu' tells the story of an Aam Aadmi, who becomes a journo by accident and goes on to lock horns with a politician and a chief ministerial aspirant.
Rambabu, played by Pawan Kalyan, is a good Samaritan mechanic, who while carrying the air of ‘I don’t mess with you - you don’t mess with me’, still sticks his nose into every murky business he comes to know through the media.
From breaking up a fight in the neighborhood to adopting an abandoned baby girl, Rambabu is Ramo Vigrahavan Dharmahah!! (epitome of dharma).
“Who is this dynamic character?” is a question that is sure to be the cue for the heroine and thus enters, cameraman Ganga, essayed by Tamanna. She is a tomboy and a self-proclaimed ‘extraordinary’ woman, not to mention the fact that she calls herself camera-’man’ instead of camera-’woman’. All these indicate the clichéd notion that a woman in the business of journalism requires a strong ‘masculine’ individuality. Rambabu himself goes to the extent of saying that she leaves her suitors confused as to whether she’s feminine enough to be an object of interest.
But that isn’t the first of the clichés the movie deals with. Kota Srinivasa Rao who plays a former CM with failing health is never seen without dark glares. Except for a yellow shawl and a wheelchair, he could well have been a caricature of former Tamil Nadu CM and DMK leader Karunanidhi. His son, portrayed by Prakash Raj, is however not fashioned along the lines of the assertive Stalin. Aiming to takeover power in the next elections, he is the typical Tollywood antagonist supported by henchmen and a bad dressing sense. For, if he seriously plans on appealing to the masses dressed in a black pathani, he could’ve only pulled that off on a film set. More interesting though is his politics. Advocating a ‘pure’ Telugu land, he is almost a product of Hitler’s Nazism, the LTTE brand of separatism and Idi Amin’s view of South Asians. Incited, his followers go on a rampage against all non-Telugu establishments and persons – Jain jewellery shops, Kannadiga eateries, Malayali nurses, etc. Reminding one of issues closer home, the Telangana conflict – the director puts in a scene to neutralise his views where Rambabu while discussing how news is portrayed, questions a news presenter as to what his objections towards a separate state are.
Politics aside, the very system of news dissemination is also questioned. Showing derision towards “sensationalism,” Rambabu, in typical Pawan Kalyan style, goes around slapping journalists who show more allegiance to the art of story telling than substance.
The story which begins on a lighter note peters out in the second half with the shift in politics. A soundtrack similar to Batman sets the tone of the film in the beginning when the credits roll. The actors come through on their part, and Puri Jagannadh justifies them with his direction. Sound score for the film isn’t as great as the director’s previous film Businessman, but music director Mani Sharma manages to hold the film.
For fans, the film has its merits. An out and out Powerstar movie, it has all the elements that make up Pawan Kalyan. From the trademark neck rubbing to his crisp dialogues, referring to his quintessential quirkiness (directly or indirectly), subtle references to his brother Chiranjeevi – the movie has it all. The film ends on a didactic note where all the loose ends are tied up - the final message that Rambabu delivers through a four-and-odd minutes of dialogue is that if a nation/state/democracy is to do well and follow healthy practices, only its people can make the actual difference and not the ones running it. Politicians and journalists will come and go, some educated, others not, but the people will bear the brunt of their ineptitude.
Verdict: If you’re a fan, you’ll love the film. For everyone else, it’s a good watch that raises pertinent questions and gives you enough laughs too.