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Raraju Fails To Wear A Crown
APK | October 20, 2006
Rating: **1/2 (***** Very Good, **** Good, *** Fair, ** Average, * Bad)
Cast: Gopichand, Meera Jasmine, Ankitha, Sivaji, Chandramohan, Jayaprakash Reddy, Ashish Vidyarthi, Sumitra and Others.
Cinematography: Ramnath Shetty.
Dialogues: Chintapally Ramana.
Editing: Marthand K. Venkatesh.
Music: Mani Sharma.
Story, Screenplay & Direction: Uday Shankar.
Producer: GVG Raju.
Banner: SSC Arts.
Release Date: 20th October, 2006.
After 'Samanyudu' (Ordinary Man), it is now the turn of 'Raraju' (The King) to hit the theatres this week. From Chiranjeevi down south to Shah Rukh in Bollywood, two of the reigning Indian superstars have started out from being the baddie. There's still time to see if Gopichand treads their footsteps, but for this erstwhile villain, one thing is sure after Ranam and Yagnam-he is here to stay. Now Raraju might just be an average runner, but nothing more or less. Although it is clear that Gopichand has turned into a crowd-puller, judging by the full capacity theatre hall.
Plot Kali (Gopichand) has a mike shop and arranges sound and lighting for weddings. He is your regular rough and tough good guy, with certain eccentricities including a pet donkey whose face he sees first thing in the morning and an adoptive mother (Sumitra). Jyothi (Meera Jasmine) is your regular damsel in distress, a chorus singer struggling to earn to study for IAS living in Kali's area. After an initial tiff, he begins to adore her while she just looks on him as her protector. He helps her selflessly after he listens to her flashback and her quest to become a collector, while she continually rejects him. He even saves her from villainous cop Koti Reddy Venkat Reddy (Ashish Vidyarthi), and helps her reach her aim. What happens to this one-sided love is the rest of the story.
Story, screenplay and direction Incomplete endings are Tamil movies' speciality. Telugu makers never got the hang of it, not could the movie succeed with such an ending in Telugu. Apart from that, the first half is time-pass with comedy and Kali's beginning of love for Jyoti. The second half begins with Jyoti's flashback with Surya (Sivaji) making an entry, and from the time Vidyarthi enters, somewhere the movie begins to drag and one doesn't know where it's going anymore.
The ending is okay, but the climax drags. The screenplay could have been better.
There are certain scenes in the second half worth mentioning-where Gopichand disguises himself as Hanuman and beats up Vidyarthi, the scene where Vidyarthi calls all the drama company 'Hanumans' in town and makes them beat him and the scene in which Gopichand finally tricks Vidyarthi and gets him out of Jyoti's life. In the first half, the comedy concerning Kali's waking up along with the histrionics of Venu Madhav and MS Narayana generate a few laughs.
Performances Remember the bratty and evil Gopichand in Jayam or the magnetic villain of Varsham? Well, now that he's the good guy, he's donated a little bit of his presence-but still he's an above average actor and the crowds like him. He's got time to improve and has a long way to go. Meera Jasmine is the kind you'd want to take home to mom, and she acts well. Ankita as a police officer after Kali is okay. Venu Madhav and MS land up time and again with the same old roles. Vidyarthi is over-rated. Sivaji does justice to his role.
Song and dance Average-they are not an asset to the movie.
And the verdict is.. Now that people have expectations from Gopichand as a lead, as a star, he would do better to choose scripts that have more to offer. The second half fails to meet expectations, and this King turns out to be just about average.