Ragada

Actors: Akkineni Nagarjuna, Anushka, Priyamani, Brahmanandam, Pradeep Rawat
Genre: Mass, Masala
Rating: 2/5
Nag’s self-introduction all-through was “Ooru Kadapa, Nachhithe cheruku gada lekapothe ragada”. For those who still are not sure what to expect from this film, genre type above Mass and Masala should ring a bell. Without feeling the necessity to define the genre type, the plot of this film is about a Kadapa dude Satya (a 50 going on 30 Nagarjuna) coming to the *city* (Hyderabad) to take care of a big goon by systematically eliminating his three main henchmen. As you know but would like to read, in this process, Satya falls in love with Shirisha (Anushka) and *also* Ashtalakshmi (Priyamani) who are also connected to this web. Imagine a revenge angle, a foster mother and sister, many unwarranted murders or fight sequences, songs, etc. If you could think up all this on your own, I understand. No credit to the writer, irrespective.
PERFORMANCES:
Nag looks incredibly younger (helps the role), and although this type of role is a dead horse in Telugu cinema, it builds into the versatility of one of Tollywood’s great actors of this era. His command over Kadapa slang, his body language, action scenes all reflect his experience. For a movie in the genre, hamming is a plus and Nag has comfortably stood in this zone, mouthing overbearing dialogue, gunning down people at the drop of a hat, behaving brashly, etc. All of these attributes in excess, it helps build the character of Satya, which is Ragada’s core requirement. It’s a different thing altogether that Ragada as a concept appeals to few only. Anushka and Priyamani are merely eye-candy and if it is of your interest, there is more skin show by the latter. At the same talent level almost, Anushka as Shirisha and Priyamani as Ashtalakshmi share good on-screen chemistry with Nag. Their range of emotions is pretty limited as well, so a new parameter is necessary to measure the real reason why an actresses is even present, *cuteness* that is. Not a formal term yet, both ladies measure up well, say 7/10.

Brahmanandam as ‘Brahmam from Khammam’ is the comic relief and his on-screen entry commanded more claps and whistles than any other actor.  But there are limitations – old jokes, slapping others to elicit laughs, broken English, and minor tussels with the protagonist over their opposite. This workable formula would fail miserably as a stand-alone, but is unintentional relief in purview of the entire film. Pradeep Rawat as Peddanna does the same thing over again, the role of a menacing goon/politician who needs to eliminate anyone treading into his zone or even vaguely challenges his power. Pradeep’s Telugu hasn’t improved, but he has built the character well (out of experience), scaring people away over phone and his angry outbursts. Not his very best, but cannot think of another actor to replace Pradeep either.

DIRECTION, SCREENPLAY, CINEMATOGRAPHY & MUSIC:
There is one revenge element and a small surprise element, all adding up the protagonist’s talents. Those are the only two areas Director and Screenwriter Veeru Potla could have shown any creativity within bounds of this time-tested script. Sure enough, the story has good direction and brings in diversions at appropriate times. The other skill though of screenwriting is clearly not Veeru’s virtue where there is much monotony, unwanted violence, unwanted song sequences. Imperative possibly, and some of this is got to do with the genre as well – Mass & Masala.  Cinematography for this genre of film making has already reached epic proportions. Sarvesh Murari does a fine job, especially in action sequences. Other notable specifics are song videos and close-ups when one character is warning the other, which happens almost in every other scene. The close-ups are much appreciable, and Sarvesh has worked well with the light department (seems like) to highlight the glamour quotient of the leading actresses and the man himself, Nag. Music by Thaman, just an FYI. Not worth peanuts.

Why 2/5:
As explained throughout, Ragada is a formula film with very little happening from the story’s standpoint. The Direction and Screenplay is mediocre. The only positive things about the movie are the performances. You could venture and try watching Ragada if you are a fan of the actors, or the genre at large.
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