What is NTR good at? He can make you groove with his dance numbers. He can bash many goons with his towering machismo. He can make you laugh with his comic punches. He can woo girls at the drop of a hat. He can render lengthy dialogues and effortlessly throw some incisive one-liners. That’s not all. He can also create a new mannerism for himself by testing the elasticity of his T-shirt. The last one finds its way in this film. And if you have all the aforesaid activities that are typical of NTR in the form of a long show reel, that becomes the film Ramayya Vastavayya.
Ramayya Vastavayya is the story of a student who is flippant and never bothered about his studies. In a filmy way, with the background song of Ilayaraja’s Kalaya Nijama from Coolie No. 1, he sees a girl and falls for her. The remaining part of the first half revolves around the hero getting close to the heroine and shelling some song and dance numbers. Oh, there is also a villain who’s shown in glimpses and someone planning for an attack on him. After a pre-interval twist and a heavy duty interval block the movie introduces the second heroine and gets into flashback mode. She becomes the key plot point of the movie and drives it forward and subsequently helps unleash hero’s objective. That’s a time tested template patented by Tollywood.
Director Harish Shankar has a rare distinction of exalting his heroes to another altitude. He did that in Mirapakay and Gabbar Singh, and repeats the same in Ramayya Vastavayya. Most of the movie belongs to NTR and the director gets into the business of idolizing his hero. He also tries to fix a story-line but that’s heavily influenced from many Telugu movies. You can see the execution style of S S Rajamouli, Boyapati Sreenu, V V Vinayak and many others crossing paths with that of Harish Shankar. On the flip side, overdose of violence makes it unpalatable to an extent.
NTR is at the helm of affairs. He tries to induce many shades in his character and prove himself as a versatile actor, and he succeeds at it. He dances like there is no tomorrow in Pandaga Chesuko, and shows a variance in his moves in Jaabilli Cheppamma. His introduction scene playing the role of Duryodhana is a treat for his fans. Samantha has more screen presence than Shruti Hassan, but the latter’s role gets registered in our hearts. Though she plays a little role with one song, the character is quite different and forms the crux of the story.
Cinematography by Chota K Naidu is striking and adds life to many pivotal scenes. The colorful songs and the massive fights are canned well. S S Thaman tries to dabble with melody and he’s successful to an extent but the background score is similar to his other movies. The movie offers great scope for him to explore, but he fails to capitalize on that. Gautham Raju should have trimmed the movie a little and cut the melodrama. The movie’s runtime is close to 2 hours 50 minutes.
Ramayya Vastavayya is an out-and-out NTR film. This is an attempt by the director to take the hero’s acting prowess to next level. In this process, he didn’t make an attempt to pen a good story. He simply culled the plot and the screenplay from various films and laced it with humor, songs and fights. It seems the reputation of Harish Shankar became a cast-iron straitjacket from which it’s difficult to break out, or he doesn’t want to break out.
My Rating: Expectation – 7/10; Reality – 5/10