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'Rajugadu' review: Steal a few laughs

A scene from Rajugadu

A scene from Rajugadu  

Sanjana Reddy’s directorial debut Rajugadu comes with a ‘been there done that’ trope of milking a protagonist’s condition to go on a comic spree. Raju (Raj Tarun) is a kleptomaniac and can’t resist his urge to steal. The director tries to sympathise with him often, but mocks at him more. This film proves that you don’t always need path-breaking stories to entertain. She pokes fun at the formula of weaving a narrative around a disorder in a hilarious parody sequence where protagonists from Raja The Great, Bhale Bhale Magadivoy and Mahanubhavudu come together to beat up Raju. And there’s an antagonist’s son who can’t speak.

Living with kleptomania leads Raju into trouble — at school, a police station, a hospital and even at his father’s retail store. The doctors give up on possible treatment to rescue him. More sensitivity would have helped, but his characterisation translates into humorous encounters with acquaintances. Things take an interesting turn when he meets his lady love Tanvi (Amyra Dastur). He hushes up the condition from her and plays safe with the help of his parents. A comedy of errors ensues. Not all of the outbursts work but there’s enough petrol in the tank to make it a watchable fare.

Rajugadu
  • Cast: Raj Tarun, Amyra Dastur, Rajendra Prasad
  • Direction: Sanjana Reddy
  • Music: Gopi Sunder

But everything is too familiar and predictable with Rajugadu. The director makes up for the outdated story by building many standalone sequences and introducing multiple quirky characters. Meet a goon who loses his hearing aid as he tries to beat up Raju, there’s doctor Saima (Prudhvi) who feels his MBBS degree would have credibility only when he treats a patient with a complicated disease. Saima feels Raju is his trump card to win a Nobel for finding a cure to kleptomania; Prudhvi makes these sequences work in his typical sarcastic tone.

Raj Tarun and Rajendra Prasad take regular jibes at each other, the formidable combo ensures a few laughs. Nagineedu and Raja Ravindra essay cardboard-like characters, Amyra Dastur fills up her frames with a single expression — smile that’s more annoying than pleasing.

The film lacks a major conflict point and the screenplay runs on the same thread. The crucial sequence where Tanvi knows of Raju’s disorder too doesn’t make an impact. Gopi Sunder’s music is perfunctory and doesn’t contribute much to the story. Slapstick comedy is the film’s strength, but it needed a layered story and better performances.

At the most, it makes for a decent television watch.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 5:55:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/rajugadu-review-steal-a-few-laughs/article24056858.ece

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