Review Movies

'Nene Raju Nene Manthri' review: Curious case of Jogendra

Rana Daggubati and Kajal Aggarwal in the film  

In the writing process, authors often state that once they give a certain form to their central characters, these characters dictate the journey and take the story to its conclusion. It can be both fascinating and tricky while dealing with characters that become tough to contain. Watching Nene Raju Nene Manthri, it felt as though Teja was in a similar situation.

The character that becomes larger than the story is Jogendra (Rana Daggubati). He starts off as a nice guy, a moneylender with a good heart. His world revolves around his charming wife Radha (Kajal). Hell breaks loose when the couple suffers a setback. A position of power is the culprit here. If his lack of power can cause pain to his wife, Jogendra wants that power, if only to see her happy.

The transformation is swift. Jogendra’s six-foot frame stoops and he feigns submissiveness as he takes on a sarpanch, a police officer and an MLA. The veil is lifted with smartly written segments. You root for Jogendra in these clap-worthy moments but feel it’s all happening quickly. Does Jogendra know what he’s after? Is he doing it only for the love of his wife? His recklessness becomes his Achilles’ heel and the portion involving Navdeep is nicely dealt with.

Nene Raju Nene Manthri
  • Cast: Rana Daggubati, Kajal Aggarwal, Catherine Tresa
  • Direction: Teja
  • Storyline: A personal setback turns a small-time money lender power hungry. Is he ready for the wily game of politics?

We also want to see more of the bond between the couple than being rushed through a song with vintage charm. The bond is revealed by and by. He calls himself ‘Radha Jogendra’ and we understand why she has that pull over him. Radha appears calm despite hurting after a personal tragedy. She doesn’t mind the power and money that come with Jogendra’s politics, but she doesn’t lose the core qualities that make her endearing. In her 50th film, Kajal revels in her part, playing it beautifully.

The trouble for the narrative comes with Jogendra. It beats reasoning that he will have an affair but still claim he only loves his wife. This thread to the story involving Catherine Tresa is a sore thumb.

The other undoing of an otherwise interesting story are the elaborate hospital and funeral episodes. To Teja’s credit, he makes these intrinsic to the plot and gives Jogendra scope for introspection. But the drama gets stretched and the events leading to the end, through a people-driven movement, seems far-fetched.

Rana tries his best to smoothen these rough edges in the narrative. Jogendra is one of the most intriguing characters Rana has played and he serves it up with attitude, earnestness and charisma. From the small-town way of talking to an unpredictable character turn with shades of grey, he shoulders it well.

This is an interesting film that merits discussion, even if it doesn’t sweep you off your feet. If only the later segments were as sharp as the earlier ones. The many slow motion walks and witty lines don’t conceal the pitfalls.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 9:34:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/nene-raju-nene-manthri-curious-case-of-jogendra/article19472303.ece

Next Story