Review | Movies

'Jai Lava Kusa' review: The many faces of NTR

NTR as Jai or Ravana in the film

A goofy but scheming Kusa (NTR) tells an unsuspecting bunch of bank employees, ‘ Nenu maha natunni ani audience lo positive reaction undhi ’ (there’s a reaction among the audience that I am a good actor). In any other film, even with the same actor, such a self-referencing statement would seem out of place. It fits the bill in Jai Lava Kusa , a vehicle that rests solely on the shoulders of the lead actor who gives the project his all. There’s more self-referencing in a passing mention of Yama Donga , but that isn’t as relevant as the ‘ maha natunni ’ line.

This film is NTR’s coveted stage and he walks the talk, enjoying every theatrical move. As a small time swindler Kusa and the hopelessly good-to-a-fault Lava, he is at ease. But the stage and the film eventually belongs to the darker, troubled role he plays — Jai or Ravana.

Stammering, as anyone who has grown up with a family member/friend who struggled to overcome the condition will know, is at least partly in the mind. Taunt and put the child in a spot and the speech condition becomes tough to conquer. Besides issues of confidence, deep within it may spark resentment and envy. We see this happening to Jai at a young age when his uncle (Posani), who doesn’t know better, feels Jai is fit to play the role of a horse than a crucial dialogue-heavy part he’s been rehearsing for. His brothers Lava and Kusa, too young to understand the bigger picture, snigger.

In a cinematic exaggeration, we see Jai’s simmering anger turning him into a beast. NTR as Jai or Ravana brings the ominous persona necessary to the character, rising above the many slow motion shots and heavy background score. He makes the stutter look natural than a rehearsed, over-emphasised one.

The stage dramas in the initial portions and later, Ravana’s dark, ostentatious abode and the throne are all interesting. But the narrative gets tedious and dull at places. The story that binds the three characters together has potential. It’s certainly better than what K S Ravindra toyed with in his last two outings and that isn’t saying much. He falls into the trap of using an oft-repeated and boring trope of mining mafia and suffering villagers. The romantic portions are half-heartedly etched. The track involving Rashi Khanna is somewhat better than Nivetha’s which is rushed through.. Nivetha and Rashi are good but they have little to do in a film where three NTRs vie for attention.

A stage play towards the end works as a good tool to redemption. Then there’s a fun sequence of what happens to a loot of currency notes at a pub on the night of demonetisation. If only something smarter could have been done with all that uninteresting mafia and political game play as well.

Jai Lava Kusa gets predictable and even melodramatic, but NTR holds it together with a class act.

Jai Lava Kusa

Cast : NTR, Rashi Khanna and Nivetha Thomas

Direction : K S Ravindra

Story line : Childhood hurt turns a young boy into a demon and it’s up to his brothers to redeem him.

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Printable version | May 6, 2022 11:10:05 am |