Cast: Nithiin, Keerthy Suresh, Naresh VK, Rohini Molleti
Nithiin and Keerthy Suresh’s romantic drama Rang De is undoubtedly more entertaining than recent films of this genre. Yet this film rides on an old and predictable story.Arjun (Nithiin) and Anu (Keerthy Suresh) are childhood buddies and neighbours, who endure a love-hate relationship. He’s a student with poor academic records, she’s studious, thoughtful and attention-seeking. They grow up together for 20-odd years and for Arjun, Anu is one annoying friend everyone has in their life and is also someone his parents (Naresh VK & Kausalya) love more than him. Arjun bears the brunt of his father for Anu’s achievements and he steadily develops a strong dislike for her. He wants to stay away from Anu so that his father stops comparing him to her. Anu, on the other hand, assumes Arjun shows real affection for her and falls for him. What happens next?
The first hour of the film draws its strength from the sheer charm of its lead pair. Director Venky Atluri has succeeded in maintaining a light and breezy tone throughout and generates laughter out of most natural situations. Even the routine slang jokes are presented with a dash of freshness and in a less annoying manner. The story has potential in its premise but doesn’t translate effectively on screen. The director couldn’t build enough tension as we watch how Arjun-Anu’s friendship turns sour. He occasionally struggles to haul up a coolness that the script doesn’t possess. The real problems surface when Venky arms up the melodrama and resorts to using tired cliches to milk the emotional conflict between the lead characters. For example, Anu’s mother (Rohini Molleti) encourages Arjun and his wrongdoings but doesn’t support her daughter’s goal to study abroad. The humour dries up and the narrative goes off the rails about ten minutes into the second hour.
The sub-plot involving Vineeth and Abhirami too lacks real depth and it stretches the narrative needlessly. The climax scene in which Arjun makes the confession to Anu fails to pack an emotional wallop. Yet you are willing to overlook all these loopholes because all the characters have their own insecurities, which make them endearing and relatable. The film also attempts to be mature about sexual abuse and the concept of motherhood.
Rang De is an out and out Keerthy Suresh’s film and she carries it on her shoulders. Nearly three years after Mahanati, this National award-winning actor comes out with a flawless performance. Her natural style of acting deserves a special mention. She was complemented appropriately by Nithiin, who plays a complex and occasionally selfish character. His boy-next-door act rings true again and he is impressive as well. Rohini brings believability to her role and Naresh VK draws out an earnest performance.
Suhas, Abhinav Gomatam and Vennela Kishore as a superstitious student, who waits for rahu kaalam to pass, unintentionally evoke laughter. Brahmaji as the owner of a coaching institute keeps the audience in splits. Devi Sri Prasad’s music has already topped the charts and his background score elevates the mood of the film. PC Sreeram’s cinematography is brilliant, especially in the songs and the scenes filmed in Dubai. Venky Atluri makes a reasonably entertaining film that is watchable largely for the performances of its lead pair. The film may not be a laugh riot but this rib-tickler will definitely keep you glued to your seat for good 130 minutes.
— Murali Krishna CH