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'Devadas' review: The N factor

Take the title of this film seriously. It’s more than a hint that its mainstay is the coming together of Nagarjuna (as Deva) and Nani (as Das). Their bromance and the resulting fun is the movie’s crux and several other parts get swept to the position of ‘also-been-part-of-the-ride’.

Director Sriram Adittya takes his time to establish these two characters and their backgrounds. A lot of people in the gangster world and the police force supposedly don’t know who the dreaded Deva is. The aura is built up as though Deva is omnipresent, invisible and can strike any moment, anywhere. Had this been a thriller, intelligence officers and spies will have their hands full. Here, despite all the mystery surrounding Deva, only a small group of cops headed by Murali Sharma is on the lookout for Deva.

On the other hand is doctor Das, befitting the definition of ‘Ramudu manchi baludu’; he’s looking to begin his career at a swanky corporate hospital and when he steps into its portals with reverence, you know things will go awry. ‘MBBS, MS, gold medallist’ becomes his tagline and later he gets nicknamed as ‘gold-u’ by Deva.

Das knows his subject but doesn’t know the knack of handling an ego-ridden senior and is soon thrown out. It’s hard to believe that he will not land a job anywhere and will have to set up a clinic in a rundown building, sharing space with a compounder who’s actually a tailor! Where else but in a masala film would you find such predicaments.

The film begins thus on a shaky premise but once the actual meeting of Deva and Das happens, leading to hilarious situations, we settle in for a jolly good comic ride. Credit goes to Nagarjuna and Nani for making this bromance worthwhile. Some of the comic segments are well constructed and it’s fun to watch these two actors bring the house down, often, with their impeccable timings.

  • Cast: Nagarjuna, Nani, Akanksha Singh and Rashmika Mandanna
  • Direction: Sriram Adittya
  • Music: Mani Sharma

Nagarjuna breezes through his part and is impressive with his trademark suave demeanour. And we don’t mind the occasional self-aggrandising references to Manmadhudu and his ease with romance. Only, in this film he’s yet to win the girl. Notice how he stresses while pronouncing Jah-navi (references to another famous Jahnavi?). Akanksha Singh has a pleasing screen presence (as Jahnavi) but, but… how does a supposedly senior journalist believe someone is a CBI officer without cross checking? You’re expected to enjoy the comic bits, sure, but the film would have been stronger had it paid some more attention to its character sketches.

Talking of the fun part, the scene where Nani tries to sing ‘vaaru veeru’ in Jahnavi’s presence is a laugh aloud moment. Nani is terrific as the timid guy stuck between gangsters and cops. He has that ‘why me?’ look constantly and shows the frustration well.

While the camaraderie between Nag and Nani is a treat to watch, the niggles can’t be overlooked. Several others get short changed with under-written parts — Srinivas Avasarala, Murali Sharma and Kunal Kapoor (my first thought — Telugu cinema made a lacklustre baddie out of this dashing actor too?). It would have been good to have them do something impactful within their limited screen time. In that sense, Naresh and Rao Ramesh get a better deal. The segment where Naresh thinks Nag is a sexologist is a hoot. Vennela Kishore with his green tea fixation is another character that could have been used better. In a better written film, Rashmika Mandanna, once her true identity is revealed, would have made a better impact. The romance between her and Nani doesn’t really come through.

Despite all this, if Devadas holds attention, it’s because Sriram Adittya knows how to utilise its two leading actors and serve up plenty of fun moments. In the end, he gets Deva and Das to look at life from each other’s perspectives with some melodrama.

A special mention to Mani Sharma’s music. Apart from the hummable ‘Vaaru Veeru’ and ‘Emo Emo’, he seems to have had fun with the background score. It’s a predictable pattern to have classical notes for Das and a Western, gangster mode for Deva, yet, it adds to the fun.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 3:30:45 PM |

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