After Baahubali, what to expect from Rana Daggubati’s new superhero act
In Nene Raju Nene Manthri, he starts off as a simple moneylender who stutters when nervous.
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Amid high stake political games, bundles of currency hidden behind whitewashed walls and much artificial blood, Rana Daggubati’s latest, Nene Raju Nene Manthri - translating to “I’m the king and I’m the minister” - gives us a superhero of another kind.
The kind who gets a live streaming from the gallows with thousands waiting outside the jail for the “saviour of the state”.
But he starts off as the simple, if something of a small-time Godfather-like, moneylender in a village who stutters when nervous. He finds not just his voice but also the ambition to become the chief minister soon enough.
Along the way, he kills, he wounds himself when the act serves a purpose (with a poker face) and plays mind games with politicians. All rather effortlessly.
In comes a Rajinikanth-ish swag too, with a cigar flying high in the air only to fall perfectly between his parted fingers. He also obliges a much smitten TV channel owner so she doesn’t rake up old crimes.
All this is Radha kosam or done for Radha (Kajal Aggarwal), Jogendra’s (Rana) beloved wife with a heart of gold and a slim waist that is zoomed into more than a few times pre and post pregnancy, keeping with Telugu cinema’s midriff obsession.
After an unfortunate fall comes the classic Bollywood-Tollywood question of who to save, the mother or the child since both cannot be saved. It is the mother he chooses although she’ll never bear a child again. The superhero is, in fact, born thereafter.
Among other feats, he manages to pull forward an upturned car balanced precariously on a bridge railing, with goons constantly attacking his arms. But the shirt rips, large biceps are seen and an injured Radha is extracted eventually.
He played Bhallaldeva in Baahubali.
If Bhallaldeva could tame a huge wild bull with sheer muscular strength, Jogendra does this. Despite how much your mind protests, you cannot help but reluctantly remain engaged in how he does what he does. Did we also mention tactfully escaping from before an approaching train?
Defying physics, logic and his own conscience, Jogendra hops between white and black and white again, with drama galore and unshaken confidence, a steady stare and menacing stride.
Take Rana out of the picture and we would have been left with little to cheer for amid a bevy of characters, except for Kajal Aggarwal, surely, who exudes charm and warmth on screen. But who would have held the film firmly on big shoulders all the way till the end? The end is when one act of detachment (yes, Radha kosam) puts him on an even higher pedestal.
Who cares about the unrealism? We have somehow come to love Rana’s superhero acts. More coming?