Movies

'RX 100' review : Rawness minus intensity

Payal and Karthikeya in the film  

RX 100, based on a true incident of love turning sour, is a motor enthusiast’s ode to an emotional love story, the bike being a witness to the ups and downs of a much-in-love couple’s journey. The story set amid a West Godavari backdrop is about two opposites — Shiva and Indhu. Sparks fly when they meet, they are more different than similar, one longs for physical pleasure in the relationship, the other stresses on commitment, one treats this as a casual fling, the other wants to take the next step to make the relationship more concrete. The obviousness of the poor boy-rich girl love story in a village gets a unique twist in RX 100, the film breaks new ground in exploring the male psyche and the destructive side of one-sided love.

Shiva (Karthikeya) is introduced as a symbol of masculine energy; channelised with aggression, his character arc features action from all dimensions (with men and women too), an opportunity that the actor uses more to flaunt his biceps than acting chops. The good-at-heart orphan raised by a village leader Daddy (Ramki) isn’t in the good books of many. Indhu (Payal Rajput), fresh after her graduation in Bengaluru returns to the village, finds herself attracted to the guy. That she is the daughter of another village leader Viswanatham (Rao Ramesh) invites obvious tension into the under-wrap relationship. Things aren’t as rosy they seem, the equation of couple takes vicarious turns.

There are grey shades all around, but for a surprise twist, you are unsure of whom to root for. Shiva owns a movie theatre in RX 100, that some of the drama unfolds within a theatre, a la a film-within-film backdrop, creates interest.

RX 100
  • Cast: Karthikeya, Payal Rajput
  • Music: Chaitan Bharadwaj
  • Direction: Ajay Bhupathi

Director Ajay Bhupathi’s raw storytelling is a plus for RX 100, the narrative borders on voyeurism at times, but the filmmaker displays enough maturity to not make it seem crass. His inexperience still shows though, too many moments of nothingness, an indulgent screenplay goes overboard in exploring the angst of the male protagonist. The second hour is inconsistent, the intensity of a full-blown action-romance is amiss despite potent writing. The lead protagonist Karthikeya gets a dream role, yet it’s too big a shoe to fill in his debut.

There are occasional sparks — fantastic performances by Rao Ramesh, Ramki, the sizzling chemistry between the lead pair and Chaitan Bharadwaj’s sparkling music score that lights up some of the film’s duller moments — but these don't come together as a whole. RX 100 as a title may sound racy, yet it undermines the emotional content. The film is a pro-male gaze at love. The conversation between Rao Ramesh and his daughter on the bruises that certain relationships leave behind is among the film’s high points. Lesser preaching of infidelity issues, more tightening of the loose ends and RX 100 could have been the surprise of the year.

This article has been edited for a grammatical error.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 3:28:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/rx100-review-rawness-minus-intensity/article24408344.ece

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