Reviews

Jenda Pai Kapiraju: Can be a drag

Nani in a still from Jenda Pai Kapiraju  

With two simultaneous releases this week it’s been a busy time for Nani. While Yevade Subramaniam has garnered much critical acclaim setting the bar high, Jenda Pai Kapiraju falls short of expectations. While the protagonist taking on the system and butting heads with corrupt officials is nothing new, it is the packaging and treatment of the film that makes all the difference. With Jenda Pai Kapiraju, Samuthirakani fails to deliver a taut and well-made package rendering it a little tedious for the audience. That said some stellar performances save the day to some extent for Nani’s second outing this week.

The film is about Aravind Sivakumar (Nani), an honest-to-boot IT professional. He grapples with life’s idiosyncrasies and the rampant corruption that seems to be taking place all around him — right from blatant violation of rules to the traffic cop taking a bribe to return people’s bike keys. After a particularly nasty run-in with the cops, who are apparently hand-in-glove with petty thieves, Aravind decides to take things in his own hands and lodges complaints against specific officials leading to severe backlash from the ‘accused’ before being saved by Indumathi (Amala Paul), his love interest.



Genre: Drama
Director: Samuthirakani
Cast: Nani, Amala Paul, Vennela Kishore, Siva Balaji
Storyline: One man’s crusade to change the corrupt system
Bottomline: A tedious film saved by stellar performances


Unbeaten, Aravind is determined to bring about a change and joins hands with the few honest government officials that exist to bring to organise a massive sting operation to bring to light the sorry state of affairs. Aided by his close friend Ramachary (Vennela Kishore) and an enthusiastic newsreader (Siva Balaji) they set the ball rolling. That is where comes the twist when his rivals produce his lookalike Maya Kanan (Nani) to beat him at his own game. What happens next forms the rest of the plot.

The first half of the film is rather engaging and draws quite a few chuckles when we see art imitate life with Nani pulling off his innocent, honest do-gooder act with élan. If as Aravind, Nani seems convincing as the guy next door, in the second half as the cunning Maya Kanan Nani portrays his versatility as an actor. Amala Paul as the street-smart Indu holds her own, while Vennela Kishore as Ramachary provides good comic relief and support.

However, by the second half of the film, the plot just drags and becomes a bit too loud for comfort. The issues the plot raises are valid, no doubt, but the way the protagonist goes about taking on the system seems half-baked at best. If the director makes us sit up and take notice of the sorry state of affairs of our country in the first half, he completely loses us by the second half. A plot like Jenda Pai Kapiraju calls for tighter editing and a tauter script minus the loud shenanigans. It’s a film that had potential but didn’t get a chance to reach it.


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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 9:14:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-reviews/jenda-pai-kapiraju-can-be-a-drag/article7024338.ece

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