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ARJUN REDDY (Telugu/2017) - The raw, intense storytelling works in favour of the film with an excessive length and problematic characterizations, reminding you of RGV and Amitabh’s MRITYUDAATA. (Review By Bobby Sing)

19 Jun, 2019 | Movie Reviews / 2017 Releases / Indian Regional language Gems (Other Than Hindi)

In the mid-90s Amitabh Bachchan tried to make a comeback with Mehul Kumar’s MRITYUDAATA produced by Amitabh’s own company, playing the character of a well-known surgeon addicted to drinking. The film didn’t work despite the hype, a hit song (along with Daler Mehndi) and a potential plot. However it did made me think about an idea that what if a surgeon is so addicted to his bottle that he goes on performing many successful operations in that drunkard state without letting anyone know and then gets caught in a case revealing all the previous operations including a few deaths. That was a perfect plot for a medical investigative thriller as I felt post watching MRITYUDAATA and was pretty sure that a film will be there in the next few years revolving around the same.

Strangely, it took more than two decades for someone to talk about somewhat similar things and those too in the form of an intense, tragic love story instead of a suspense thriller.

Anyway, moving over to ARJUN REDDY, though a lot in the lead characterizations didn’t work for me, the film still largely worked because of its raw execution, unusual narrative and realistic performances. In fact this is one love story, where in everything else works much more than its actual love and romance, making it quite different from the usual romantic movies. 
Apart from Amitabh’s MRITYUDAATA, it also reminded me, how Ram Gopal Varma used to treat his films in his first decade of filmmaking…… real, raw and at your face without any fear of failure. ARJUN REDDY exactly follows that path and appears to be so realistic as if it’s an actual bio-pic and not a fictional storyline - an appreciable achievement by its director Sandeep Reddy Vanga.
The film takes its own lazy time to come to the point (the girl gets introduced after 20+ minutes) and has a lot that drags in between its excessive tiring length of around three hours. But every spirited sequence coming at regular intervals keeps you engrossed, even when there are no novel twists and turns in terms of storyline. The fiery dialogues, camerawork, soothing songs and energetic background score plays a major role in the winning act of the film and it’s the performances that in reality stay with you for long post the experience of watching it.
Brilliantly enacting the role of a topper medical student, who also has severe anger management issues, ARJUN REDDY is a Vijay Deverakonda’s film without any slightest of doubt and he nails it so amazingly making it a text book kind of material for the beginners. Yes, the director obviously gets an equal credit for the same, but even the visualization works when you get someone to perform it as it is or even better understanding the given instructions. Going back to my review of SAIRAT (Marathi), where I wrote that the love stories mostly run when a charming girl effortlessly wins hearts of its young viewers, ARJUN REDDY turns out to be an exception, as here the film works due to the boy much more than the girl becoming its strong back bone right till the end.
On the other hand, though Shalini Pandey as Preethi also plays it impressively in her debut film but her characterization never appears to be believable. The girl seems to be dumb instead of scared, agreeing to everything said by Arjun without giving it a second thought or showing any kind of resistance as a new-age college going girl studying medicine. The same can be said about all other girls sitting in the class and living along in the hostel doing simply nothing when Arjun comes into the scene. Shalini actually gets into her form much later when the story gets into its next phase post the initial romance, but her characterization in the first hour remains questionable. Providing a decent support, the supporting cast does well and here a deserving mention has to be made of the superb act by Rahul Ramakrishna as Arjun’s close friend.
To be honest, the romance in ARJUN REDDY establishes a much stronger connect in the second half, when you start empathizing with Arjun suffering in his own hell facing the separation and later watching the court proceedings. But here too certain developments in the character build-up of Arjun seem to be loud and over the top, just added to deliver a shock without any justifications. At the same time, it certainly needs courage and guts to do such a role with negative shades dealing in abuses, alcohol, drugs and casual sex. 
Summing up, where I didn’t feel convinced with its characterisations, the film also took a long time to make an impact as a love story before reaching its impactful climax. So what worked for me in ARJUN REDDY is its execution/direction, lead performance, background score and the songs much more than the love saga. It’s a Sandeep Vanga and Vijay Deverakonda’s film to say it all and deserves to be seen for its worth appreciating merits for sure. However I will not be able to call it a masterpiece as rated by many due to the reasons mentioned above.  
Rating : 3 + 0.5 / 5 (including an additional 0.5 just for Vijay Deverakonda’s powerful act)
(Note : The film is being remade in Hindi as KABIR SINGH with Shahid Kapoor in the lead role and thankfully by the original director Sandeep Vanga himself. Let’s see if he can add some more magic into the creation in his second attempt.)

Tags : ARJUN REDDY (Telugu) Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Intense Love Stories in Indian Regional Cinema, Telugu Movies Review by Bobby Sing, Must Watch Regional Gems of India, Indian Regional Language Movies not to be missed.
19 Jun 2019 / Comment ( 2 )

Thank you for the insightfull review as always.. completly agree with the characterization issues of the lead girl. and some over the top characterization of the vijay's.. but the guy has simply nailed it so hard and its so good that i m not at all interested in watching kabir singh..even if it is from the same director.. However the courtroom scene seems to have taken its inspiration from final sequence of brilliant "Flight".



Bobby Sing

Dear Rahul.
Thanks for agreeing to the viewpoint and yes the film truly belonged to the male lead much more than his love interest. Also the courtroom scene does remind you of FLIGHT sequence indeed.
Thanks once again and keep writing in.

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