Santoo Mohan's 'Stand Up Rahul': Love story without a soul

In Stand Up Rahul, debutant director Santoo Mohan Veeranki strives to pull off what may well be a coming-of-age story against the backdrop of love and a broken relationship.

Published: 19th March 2022 08:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2022 08:20 AM   |  A+A-

A still from Stand Up Rahul

A still from Stand Up Rahul

Express News Service

In Stand Up Rahul, debutant director Santoo Mohan Veeranki strives to pull off what may well be a coming-of-age story against the backdrop of love and a broken relationship. The story is layered with the dynamics of a complex relationship but unfortunately fails to strike a chord because of the lack of strong emotions and amateurish execution.

The film tells the story of a vulnerable stand-up comedian, Rahul (Raj Tarun), who doesn’t ‘stand up’ for anything in his life. Another story, narrated in flashback, influences and changes the course of the former.
There is a strong sense of detachment with Stand Up Rahul. You feel indifferent towards its characters, including the lead pair, who look trapped in this pretentious piece of work. 

The film’s second half does manage to pack a couple of endearing moments, but, the climax evokes memories of other famous films. The major problem with the film, however, is the love track of Rahul and Shreya Rao (Varsha Bollamma). Rahul doesn’t want to commit himself to a life-long relationship, while Shreya is a dreamer who wants to lead a picture-perfect life. 

I fail to understand why Shriya wants to live with Rahul, who doesn’t even believe in the institution of marriage. Although she supports him to pursue his dream, she is equally disappointed when he doesn’t react the way she wants him to.

This is where the director fails to deliver a coherent and riveting experience. The biggest flaw with narrating a contemporary love story is the simplicity of the plot. The desperate attempts to evoke laughter and the characters’ emotions get lost during the course and what remains is a wannabe love story without a soul.

Although it’s only about 134-minute long, when you leave the theatre after watching Stand Up Rahul, you feel like you’ve just been released after serving the longest sentence in prison. It’s unfathomable that a film like this is being made when hundreds of aspiring directors or writers continue to struggle for just one chance to get their scripts heard.

Raj Tarun fits into the space where he is eager to display histrionics. Indraja manages to sail through the muddy waters without a spot, while Murli Sharma, who is known for portraying tough characters, is mercifully restrained. Varsha Bollamma has a likable presence and she acts with great confidence. But her good performance goes wasted in a predictable, meaningless movie. 

Vennela Kishore is slowly getting monotonous with his one-dimensional characters. Of the technical crew, Sweekar Agasthi’s music perfectly blends well into the narrative, and Sreeraj Raveendran’s cinematography stands out. Stand Up Rahul tries to be a complex love story, but it is forever in search of a conflict. Santoo’s take on the millennial generation and their relationships is unmistakably awful. If you call it a comedy, then the joke is on the audience!

Stand Up Rahul
Cast: Raj Tarun, Varsha Bollamma, Indraja, Murli Sharma
Director: Santoo Mohan Veeranki
Rating:  1.5/5


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