‘Republic’ hit the cinemas today (October 1) after a long delay caused by the pandemic. In this section, we are going to talk about its hits and misses.
Panja Abhiram (Sai Dharam Tej) is the son of a compromised Group I officer. While on his way to attend the UPSC interview for IAS, he discovers that the system is plagued beyond repair. When he tops the Civil Services Examination and becomes the District Collector of West Godavari, he has to lock horns with Visakha Vani (Ramya Krishna), a powerful politician of the ruling party. Myra Hanson (Aishwarya Rajesh) is an NRI who is in India, while Sai Dheena plays a muscleman named Guna.
After a superficial performance in ‘Solo Brathuke So Better’, Sai Tej shows earnestness and verve in this film. Deva Katta’s heroes, right from Sai Kumar to even Sanjay Dutt (in the Hindi remake of ‘Prasthanam’) have been able. The Mega hero is impressive in the role of an angry IAS officer.
Ramya Krishna was supposed to channel her inner Nilambari, but she is not so great. The ‘Baahubali’ actress is only mildly effective as a wielder of crushing power. Aishwarya Rajesh, who was good in the recent OTT release ‘Tuck Jagadish’, is okayish. She speaks less and emotes more with her eyes. Jagapathi Babu, for a change, plays a nuanced role. Srikanth Iyyangar, a cop siding with the powers-that-be, is routine. Jayaprakash and Subaraju pass muster. Ravi Varma and Rahul Ramakrishna make a mark.
‘Jor Se’ and ‘Gaana Of Republic’ sound good as part of the film. This is not definitely Mani Sharma’s novel album, and perhaps it was never meant to be. M Sukumar’s cinematography is not out of the ordinary. There are potential elevation moments that could have been much more potent. KL Praveen’s editing is alright.
“You fear, ignorance, naivete and loyalty are the four legs on which their throne stands,” says Panja Abhiram, the activist IAS officer who is out to wage a war against the unhinged political executive. Visakha Vani, who believes that where ignorance has formed its nest, treachery lays eggs, is his biggest enemy.
The story also involves a courtroom battle where the male protagonist, out to make the Indian Republic stand on its feet, questions the judiciary. The judge, played by CVL Narasimha Rao, is flummoxed by his arguments.
Writer-director Deva Katta, despite a decent premise, delivers a half-baked film. He supposedly read books like ‘Malevolent Republic’ before making this film. But frankly he could well have read a few press notes issued by the Jana Sena Party and be done with it. The monologues are generic and dramatic. They are not specific and informative.
After a point, the stock elements test your patience. The second half becomes utterly ridiculous with low-end fight scenes and silly face-off moments.
The film’s intentions are alright, but the impact is just about ok. The male lead laments about a regional party whose leader propagadated xenophobic politics, while also calling out the freebie culture. Considering that it’s the latter that is more relevant to the Telugu States, the prioritization should have been better.
The climax is engaging. To an extent, the slice-of-life ending makes us overlook some of the flaws.
‘Republic’ could have been so many things, but it is a formulaic good vs. evil film at the end of the day.