Son of India’s duration is 1 hour 42 minutes, and that is the film’s only saving grace. The story harks back to the many revenge and vigilante dramas that have emerged in the years following director Shankar’s Bharateeyudu (Indian) and Aparichitudu (Anniyan). The story is narrated in a format that the film team thinks is experimental, but is amateurish.
As the opening credits roll, veteran actor Mohan Babu who headlines the film explains that the experimental narrative is built on the idea that he had once explored in stage plays, when his mono-act served to narrate the story and connect with the audience. He informs that in Son of India, viewers will mostly get to see him and a few actors who play television anchors, while the identities of the rest of the cast will be revealed towards the end.
Thereafter, a voiceover introduces Mohan Babu’s character (let’s not name him yet) as something of an enigma. The opening song places the actor amid a collection of stock footage and sub-par visual effects. Mohan Babu sets off on a mission after a cryptic message that follows a devotional song.
Son of India
Cast: Mohanbabu, Pragya Jaiswal, Srikanth
Direction: Diamond Ratna Babu
Soon, a central minister (Srikanth) is kidnapped and the National Investigation Agency gets to work. Since we’ve been told that for the most part, we will not see the other actors, we get a whole lot of top angle shots, point of view shots from random objects and plenty of blurred visuals. We identify the actors playing the officers through their ID cards, and sometimes voices. Prudhvi Raj perpetually sports PPE kits, Mangli breaks into a folksy song amid investigation and Pragya Jaiswal as officer Airawathy has to make do with sub-par dubbing.
The film doesn’t trust the intelligence of its viewers to grasp what is unfolding on screen. The voiceover delineates every action soon after an event unfolds, even when the characters have themselves explained things. It goes, ‘Oh, you thought he was an NIA officer, then you assumed he was a temporary driver, and now you are wondering if he is a kidnapper. What must be his motive?’. You get the drift…
The sliver of the plot revealing Virupaksha (Mohan Babu)’s backstory happens post-intermission. A peace-loving man who owns a printing press embarks on the path of revenge after he loses his family, and later takes up cudgels on behalf of other victims like him who languish in prison.
Sure, the story is outdated and clumsily narrated. What makes the experience all the more annoying is how the camera treats some of its women. The film doesn’t reveal the faces of the actors but has no problem tracing the curves of the women officers in the gym. Elsewhere, a corrupt and sinister doctor is portrayed to be all the more pathetic since she indulges in a same-sex relationship for money. Again, the camera lustfully moves on her. The same is the case with the woman featured with Posani Krishna Murali later.
Ali, Vennela Kishore and Sunil are somewhat lucky to play television anchors since their identities are revealed and they get to deliver a few dialogues in their trademark manner.
Son of India ends up as a vain, indulgent exercise that made me wonder what the film’s team was thinking, if they were thinking at all. The mission is apparently incomplete and there is more to come. The hint at a sequel sounded like a punishment.