Pogaru is a battlefield of emotions and Dhruva Sarja shines in this unique script. The three years of hard work for the film by the actor and director Nanda Kishore pays off on the screen and the massive expectation of fans is met.
The story of Pogaru is mostly told by the protagonist, Shiva, a local youth whose bitter childhood makes him 'notorious'. Shiva longs for his deceased father and his only weakness is his mother (Pavithra Lokesh). He goes all out to get her attention and love, but all his attempts backfire.
However, an incident takes place between him and his sister (Mayuri), which becomes the turning point in his life, and there is a drastic change in his behaviour. How Shiva becomes a messiah to the people living in his neighbourhood, and how it affects them forms the rest of the story.
Director Nanda Kishore has weaved a 'mass' film with the right family elements. There is the usual melodrama, but the filmmaker has used his creative freedom wisely and delivered a mix of emotions. The narrative, however, tends to be one-sided, mostly depicted from the hero's perspective.
Nanda Kishore's experiment in sketching a new character for Dhruva Sarja is largely successful. As the ruffian, the actor comfortably sails through his role and does a great job of engaging the audience from start to end. His schoolboy avatar, for which he lost 33 kilograms, looks flawless.
His transformation to the young look definitely merits appreciation. Certain action sequences of Dhruva remind us of his uncle Arjun Sarja. Dhruva has also made sure that his usual lengthy dialogue scenes are present in this film to cater to his fans.
Even though this is a bit too over-the-top at times, the actor keeps it entertaining. He has also worked hard to get the details of his look right. Watch out for Dhruva's much-awaited face-off with the four international bodybuilders in the climax as well.
Rashmika Mandanna, who plays Dhruva's love interest, does justice to her role, and Ravi Shankar, who is famous for his villainous roles, is a surprise in Pogaru. Dhananjay, Mayuri, and Sampath, meanwhile, do not have much scope to perform.
The songs by Chandan Shetty, especially the Karaabu song and the title track Notorious stand out. The background by V Harikrishna lifts the scenes and adds the required mass appeal. Cinematographer Vijay Milton's work aligns with the director's greater vision.
Overall, Pogaru is a treat for Dhruva's fans, who value his hard work and celebrate his onscreen presence.
Director: Nanda Kishore
Cast: Dhruva Sarja, Rashmika Mandanna, Dhananjay, Sampath Raj, Ravi Shankar, Pavithra Lokesh, Mayuri, Raghavendra Rajkumar