‘Naa Saami Ranga’ movie review: Nagarjuna’s village drama is a remake undone by templated approach

A remake of ‘Porinju Mariam Jose’, Vijay Binni’s ‘Naa Saami Ranga’, starring Nagarjuna and Ashika Ranganath, is a ‘masala’ affair that plays it safe and misses the point of the original

January 14, 2024 06:22 pm | Updated 08:11 pm IST

Nagarjuna in ‘Naa Saami Ranga’.

Nagarjuna in ‘Naa Saami Ranga’. | Photo Credit: Jungle Music Telugu/YouTube

Naa Saami Rangathe Telugu film starring Nagarjuna, is a remake of the 2019 Malayalam film Porinju Mariam Jose. In both movies, the heroes get a rousing introduction scene but how he sets out his journey is a great example of how drastically different the sensibilities of the two film industries are. When it comes to commercial entertainers, one believes in realism, while the other revels in excess.

Vijay Binni’s film isn’t entirely a scene-to-scene remake, however, the additions to the original story seem like an unnecessary digression from the core conflict. Porinju Mariam Jose, with a wafer-thin plot, isn’t a classic. Yet, it seems a better product now than it was four years ago, thanks to the templated approach of its remake.

Naa Saami Ranga (Telugu)
Director: Vijay Binni
Cast: Nagarjuna, Nasser, Allari Naresh, Ashika Ranganath, Mirna Menon
Runtime: 144 minutes
Storyline: The lives of two brothers from a humble background in a village gets wrecked by evil-minded people from an affluent family. Can the hero overcome the complicated scenarios and lead a happy life with his loved ones?

Nagarjuna gets all the attention from his director in this film whereas in the original, Joju George’s role is never made to overshadow other prominent characters. Naa Saami Rangabegins by establishing the brotherhood between Kishtaiyah (Nagarjuna) and Anji (Allari Naresh). Kishtaiyah falls for Varalu (Ashika Ranganath), a girl from an affluent family. He is also a loyal henchman to the village head, essayed by Nasser.

Vijay Binni adapts the original material to local taste. While it’s a common approach, one wishes there was some amount of freshness in his execution. Director Joshiy gave us well-rounded characters and firmly established the background (Thrissur, the vibrant festive city) in the Malayalam version. Joshiy amped up the intensity of the scenes, and his ideas worked courtesy of the superb performances of Chemban Vinod, Nyla Usha, and Joju George.

The people in the world of Naa Saami Ranga are derived from movie stereotypes. Allari Naresh is reduced to a comedian, while Ashika is more or less the typical heroine devoid of distinct personality traits, as opposed to the fiery character essayed by Nyla in the original. The long and unremarkable romance track (absent in the original) drags the movie down further. The makers also indulge in another futile deviation by elaborately delving into the chaos around an eloped couple.

ALSO READ:‘Porinju Mariam Jose’ review: Lack of a solid script proves to be the undoing of Joshiy’s latest

Naa Saami Ranga can be a decent affair, if not memorable, for those who haven’t seen the original. Perhaps the point of the original was to weave a tale around the everydayness of its main people. The film’s leading man was a brooding and vulnerable personality, seeking love and being loyal to his loved ones. In Naa Saami Ranga, the hero gives an impression of being invincible, and that can become boring after a point in a predictable script.

Nagarjuna does his best to a ‘massy’ role. An impending doom loomed large over the protagonist in the original movie. But, in a templated ‘masala’ film, will the hero die? My goodness gracious, no! 

Naa Saami Ranga is currently running in theatres

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