‘Pakka Commercial’ movie review: Commercial but far from entertaining

The sliver of smartness in director Maruthi’s Telugu courtroom drama is buried underneath cringy jokes

July 01, 2022 03:45 pm | Updated 06:49 pm IST

Gopichand and Raashi Khanna

Gopichand and Raashi Khanna

That director Maruthi is unabashedly commercial in his approach to his movies is known. A few of his films guaranteed hilarious moments while others ended up flat and listless. Pakka Commercial falls in the second category and is ultimately an old wine in a new bottle, despite the writer-director asserting through his characters that they are not treading the old route. 

The courtroom becomes the playground for this story. Surya Narayana (Sathyaraj) is a sincere magistrate who repents a wrong judgment of his that ruined a victim’s life while letting the perpetrator go scot-free. In contrast, his son Lucky (Gopichand) grows up to be a conniving lawyer who basks in being commercial. 

The film would like us to believe that Lucky is smart enough to hoodwink his sincere father. Lucky’s plans to sport a clean image in front of his father seem so fake that unless the father is too naive or has been living under a rock, he would have seen the real picture. A string of inane incidents establishes how the son and his assistant (comedian Praveen) keep the former magistrate in the dark. For anyone who has grown up watching mainstream cinema, it will not come as a surprise when a former perpetrator, Vivek (Rao Ramesh) returns stronger and more powerful.

Pakka Commercial
Cast: Gopichand, Raashi Khanna, Sathyaraj, Rao Ramesh
Direction: Maruthi
Music: Jakes Bejoy

The new entrant to this power game is Sirisha aka lawyer Jhansi (Raashi Khanna). Raashi seems to have had a ball enacting this over-the-top role of a melodramatic lawyer-actor. Her character becomes a tool for Maruthi to take potshots at at the workings of the entertainment industry — actors who will not reduce their fees, their assistants becoming dialogue prompters, and so on. 

Some of the gags written for Raashi’s character keep the laughs coming. For instance, she suggests IPC sections and the next course of legal action by recalling the plotlines of the TV series she has acted in. If only the writing had avoided crass humour. Sample this: When Jhansi and her assistants gloat that she studied law to portray the part of a lawyer and had she been cast as a cop, would have trained to be an IPS officer, the hero remarks that thankfully she was not given the role of a prostitute! The humour in the later portions involving Rao Ramesh is also in bad taste, replete with double entendre. 

There is scope for the drama to get interesting when Lucky and his father are pitted against each other and inspired by Samsaram oka Chadarangam, a line divides the house into two. However, the promise of a crackling face-off between the father and son fizzles with a lopsided showcase of how conniving Lucky can be and the father’s moves are just drab. 

Gopichand enacts lawyer Lucky with shades of grey and does reasonably well. Sathyaraj looks lost in an underwritten part, while Rao Ramesh tends to go over the top in the final portions. The song and dance sequences also add to the boredom.

Pakka Commercial banks on a few lame comic moments and loses the larger picture.

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