‘Yuva’ movie review: Yuva Rajkumar debuts in an utterly formulaic film

The debutant actor is dashing in action sequences, but director Santhosh Ananddram’s routine story stops this film from being an all-out entertainer

March 29, 2024 05:48 pm | Updated 06:25 pm IST

Sapthami Gowda and Yuva Rajkumar in ‘Yuva’.

Sapthami Gowda and Yuva Rajkumar in ‘Yuva’. | Photo Credit: Hombale Films/YouTube

Yuva marks the debut of Yuva Rajkumar, and the film industry has a template for launching heroes. Make him an angry young man who doesn’t miss a chance to deliver punch dialogues and transform him into someone who cares for his family, and there you go! A star is born… or that’s what the filmmakers believe. 

For all the hype of the next actor from the revered Dr Rajkumar family, Santhosh Ananndram’s Yuva disappoints as it’s nothing but utterly formulaic. The film strongly resembles Mr. and Mrs. Ramachari, Santhosh’s debut starring Yash. That film showcased a flawed hero with anger issues getting into trouble with regular fights in college. The protagonist also had a tumultuous relationship with his father, which he eventually resolves in an emotional episode.

Yuva (Kannada)
Director: Santhosh Ananddram
Cast: Yuva Rajkumar, Achyuth Kumar, Sapthami Gowda, Sudharani
Runtime: 153 minutes
Storyline: A rebellious youngster known for gang wars in his college is forced to be responsible and mend his attitude when his family falls in trouble

The fact that Yuva also has a similar kind of hero tells the sorry tale of Santhosh’s decline as a filmmaker. Repeating your pet theme is alright, as long as you have newer ways of dealing with it. But Santhosh plays it safe and offers a hero who is your traditional invincible man bound to win eventually despite all the hurdles thrown at him.

Yuva begins with a gang war between local students and hostel students in a reputed college in Mangaluru. Yuva (Yuva Rajkumar) represents the hostel students, and he is soon banned from other troublemakers as things go out of control in the college. The attempt to present Yuva Rajkumar as a ‘mass’ hero is evident, but the result is far from organic. The gang war, stretched more than required, is uninteresting, and the debutant actor’s monotonous dialogue delivery adds salt to the wound.

In the second half, it’s time for Yuva to become an ideal man and be the pillar of strength to his family when his father, unable to repay humongous debts, goes missing. And knowing Santhosh, it’s not tough to predict how the film progresses from that point. Yuva becomes a melodramatic drama reflecting the struggles of the middle-class community. While the director’s intentions are well-meaning, it would have been better if the director had portrayed a sensible and self-respecting middle-class family instead of milking the age-old trope of an emotional and gullible family carrying big dreams.

However, it’s heartening and surprising that the women, in a commercial Kannada film, are more sensibly written when compared to men. Sapthami Gowda, Yuva’s girlfriend, is a fearless and practical woman who advises her lover to control his hasty decisions. Veteran Sudharani, playing Yuva’s mother, warns her husband about unnecessarily spending lavishly for their daughter’s marriage. Hita Chandrashekar essays the role of Yuva’s sister, and is impressive as someone who is quietly resolute for her family’s cause. However, none of these female characters are fleshed out completely, as the film is focused mainly on amplifying Yuva’s character.

Santhosh is never happy serving a simple meal made with the right proportions of ingredients. He is always insistent on overstuffing his films, and Yuva is no different. From a college rogue, the hero becomes a hard-working food delivery boy who is a ray of hope for gig workers seeking respect. If that’s not all, Yuva resurrects his reputation by pursuing his passion for being a wrestler and competing in the national championship. If you feel the film is going all over the place, you aren’t wrong!

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The unabashedly hero-centric film lacks memorable characters and terrifying antagonists. With the entire spotlight on him, Yuva Rajkumar isn’t completely off target as he excels in action sequences. He is also convincing as a ruthless wrestler, offering a glimpse of his potential as an action hero. With better expressions and body language, the actor can ace the role of a ‘mass’ hero in commercial cinema. As for Yuva, he is let down by a story too routine for its own good.

Yuva is currently running in theatres.

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