Cinema

Raja Cheyyi Vesthe: Lost in a melee

Nara Rohit and Isha Talwar  

Raja Cheyyi Vesthe is the third film starring Nara Rohit this summer. After a comedy and a family drama, he explores a part-romance-part-thriller film directed by debutant Pradeep Chilukuri. The title is borrowed from the famous song featuring Kamal Haasan in Vichithra Sodarulu, standing as an allegory for what Kamal’s character, Raja, is capable of with damaged cars and also for (Ilaya)raja’s prowess. In this film, it tries to show what the lead character — aspiring filmmaker Raja Ram (Nara Rohit) — can do if he’s thrown in the middle of a situation from where there’s no way out.

Pradeep Chilukuri takes his time to establish the two pivotal characters, Manik (Nandamuri Tarakaratna) who gets away with murder and Raja Ram, who has a penchant for writing action thrillers and hopes to be a director.

The two worlds unfold independent of each other, with the filmmaker making the audience privy to the links that would matter when they cross paths. In the time taken to establish these characters, the debut director also comments on the ways of the film industry, where a first-time director has to bide his time and not bow down to pressure, failing which he will have to turn a menacing villain into a comedian.

Now and then there’s some sermonising about following your dreams. No prizes for guessing that Raja Ram is an engineer who ventured into filmmaking, much to the disappointment of his mother.

A scene involving an orphanage is a riot, where the children take on the hero and his friends for flogging the tired template of using them to impress a girl.

The girl in picture is Chaitra (Isha Talwar) and the romantic track unfolds through Raja Ram penning his love story, the most interesting part of which involves Chakri (Srinivas Avasarala), a character who succumbs in a failed attempt on Manik’s life.

The film plods on, trying to weave together different tracks, punctuated with songs and gags. The film’s best segment has Raja Ram being commissioned to write a climax of a story where a ruthless murderer has to be killed. In a matter of time, he realises he is a pawn in a murder plan.

The narrative has the potential to be a gripping tale of reel life overlapping with the real, but never comes together as a whole. The director pieces together the puzzle of the mysterious characters that control Raja Ram way too early, and what remains is a stale revenge saga. The villain identifying his adversaries in a series of photographs is absurd. Think of it, who would be silly enough to be within the frame of a man they want killed?

The transformation of the aspiring filmmaker to a gutsy hero is sketchy and Manik, too, ends up as a caricature.

Raja Cheyyi Vesthe is an example of a film that may appear reasonably good in parts, on paper, but might end up being absurd on screen.

Raja Cheyyi Vesthe

Cast: Nara Rohit, Isha Talwar, Nandamuri Tarakaratna

Direction: Pradeep Chilukuri

Music: Sai Karthik

Rating: 2


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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 2:13:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/raja-cheyyi-vesthe-lost-in-a-melee/article8537156.ece

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