- Release Date: – 01/06/2023
- Cast: – Ravi Sharma, Priyam Pallavi, Preety Kongana, Siddhartha Sharma, Arun Nath
- Director: – SUV
Some subjects never get old or dated- revenge, retribution, and setting things right in the most gung-ho fashion. These evergreen plot points have fueled countless films worldwide. When executed with passion and panache, a good revenge story always strikes a chord with audiences, providing not only entertainment but also a sense of wish fulfilment. When the plot revolves around a wronged female character and a man seeking retribution on her behalf, the stakes are raised even higher. The hero isn’t just fighting for the wronged character in the film but also for all the wronged women who may have endured similar ordeals but were unable to do anything to the perpetrators. Thus, the reach of the film instantaneously amplifies and touches everyone who might have felt protective about female members of their household.
From here on, the film’s creators and cast must establish an unshakable connection with the audience through storytelling, performances, music, drama, and thrills. This is no easy task. Interpersonal drama is the most crucial element that must be extracted with honesty and realism. It is essential to make the audience feel for the characters and the leading man’s struggle. Could “Sri Raghupati” accomplish this difficult task? Could Ravi Sharma enthrall the audience with his return to the big screen after a long hiatus (excluding his cameo in “Black N White”)? I will attempt to answer these two important questions throughout this review.
The story: –
Raghupati Rai Baruah (Ravi Sharma) is an ACS officer who is never afraid to do what is right, even if it requires unconventional methods. His sister Pori (Priyam Pallavi) is a dedicated teacher who wants to make a difference in rural Assam. Raghupati is in love with Monisha (Preety Kongana), and they are set to marry soon. Pori lands a job in an unnamed village’s primary school, bringing great pride to the family. However, disaster strikes when Pori meets a gruesome fate, and two more of her students are declared murdered, although their bodies are never found. Devastated by these events, Raghupati tries to uncover the truth but realizes that he cannot do so through conventional means. He resigns from his post and starts his own investigation, which leads him to a nefarious syndicate involved in women trafficking, drugs, and arms smuggling.
Ravi Sharma is “Raghupati,” and Raghupati is Ravi Sharma: –
“Sri Raghupati” relies heavily on Ravi Sharma’s heroism and charm. Sharma is perfectly suited to play the character and brings forth a range of emotions that elevate the character from just being a pretty sight to behold. He excels in action sequences and delivers well in dramatic exchanges, of which there are many. The character is also aided by good writing and nearly flawless dialogue. Credit should be given to Ravi Sharma, who also wrote the film for keeping the character somewhat grounded and brooding. The character has minimal theatrics. It primarily derives its power from Sharma’s dynamic charm and heroism in every scene and this ensures that the audiences are always receiving what they bought their tickets for; A healthy dose of Ravi Sharma. Sharma appears in almost every scene, leaving a lasting impression on the audience. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that without Ravi Sharma, the film would have very little to capture the audience’s attention. Few stars in the country can command the attention of their audience and keep them engaged from start to finish with their presence. In Assam, Ravi Sharma is undoubtedly that star, and “Sri Raghupati” is corroboration of that fact.
Emphasis on a great evil that is creeping into Urban and Rural Assam: –
The film draws attention to one of the most dangerous menaces that have slowly infiltrated Assam and continue to grow stronger with each passing day. Flesh trade and drugs are two evils that can practically destroy generations. It is heartening to see Ravi Sharma weave these issues into the story’s focal point of conflict. However, the film could have benefitted from more emphasis on this plot point rather than the various diversions that impact the narrative. Nonetheless, it is commendable that the film raises awareness about such important issues and depicts the annihilation of the symbolic representation of these societal demons who endanger and destroy lives every day.
Limited but well-executed action sequences: –
The film doesn’t have as many action sequences as it desperately needed since they brought the film to life and made the audiences go berserk. SUV demonstrates a flair for capturing Ravi Sharma in action, making the most of his heroism and persona. The editing of the action sequences sometimes falters but remains interesting enough to be appreciated. Ravi Sharma and his electric presence are again the primary reasons why this aspect of the film works.
However, I have a few reservations about the action sequences. Some parts of the editing could have been improved. The scene featuring Ravi Sharma using an M134 gun lacks significant impact and comes and goes too quickly. Such a sequence should have been milked and used to its full potential, as seen in films like “Kaithi”. The action sequence where Sharma kills the goon who tormented his sister needed better execution and should have had a lot more impact. There should have been more payback and the perpetrator’s suffering doesn’t come out through his essay in the scene. The other goons involved should have been visibly eliminated but this is also something that is merely brushed over. These are minor details, but they do affect the overall likability and the exhilarating feeling that we associate with a crowd-pleaser like “Sri Raghupati”.
The screenplay drags on numerous occasions: –
Despite all the positive aspects, there are some things that I didn’t like about the film. The screenplay drags on numerous occasions, and I was eager for it to move to the actual plot point. The sequences between Ravi Sharma and Preety Kongana feel forced and unnecessary. Kongana’s character adds nothing to the story, and her absence wouldn’t have made any difference. Furthermore, her character becomes annoying in the second half, not due to her performance but rather because of how the character is written.
Similarly, the first half of the film initially meanders. Numerous family moments don’t feel organic and become repetitive. The comedic elements fail to deliver enough laughs and overstay their welcome. While the script spends too much time on these unnecessary issues, it neglects to dedicate more time to the actual plot involving the flesh traders. We learn little about them through their actions, and whatever we do learn is conveyed through exposition and flashbacks. This is not necessarily engaging when establishing antagonists and the primary plot element in a film.
The film feels confused in its tonality: –
I might be scrutinising too much considering that “Sri Raghupati” is a masala film, but I felt that the film had a tonal shift between the first and second halves. This shift was often intruded by sequences of forced comedy and undercooked tragedy arising from failing romance. This further complicated the already inconsistent tonality of the film. Such tonal shifts, even in a crowd-pleaser, subconsciously indicate that something is amiss, even if viewers cannot pinpoint it quantitatively. Some tragedies impact a story in such a way that the resulting tonal shift should never be intruded upon. This aspect of the storytelling is ignored in the film. While keeping in mind mass appeal and various audience tastes, Ravi Sharma might have decided to infuse comedy and romance into the second half, but it proved detrimental to the serious and mounting tragedy that his character was shown experiencing.
Too many convenient coincidences and a lack of urgency in the screenplay: –
Ensuring the suspension of disbelief is crucial in a film of this nature, as the realism and emotional connection of the audience with the characters depend on it. Unfortunately, in “Sri Raghupati,” this aspect is only marginally addressed, with numerous moments where the drama fails because we struggle to accept the characters for who they are and what they are shown doing. The severity of the gruesome events involving Pori is diluted to some extent due to how the scene is handled. Raghupati’s investigation also feels flimsy, as he conveniently stumbles upon one clue after another, mostly resulting from coincidences. Coincidences should never serve as a substitute for thorough and intelligent investigation and should be used sparingly. Ravi Sharma’s character is shown engaging in actions that should result in certain jail time, yet he effortlessly walks away from these situations without consequences. All these factors lead me to question the realism and believability of the film.
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Final words: –
Despite the aforementioned flaws, “Sri Raghupati” will undeniably please the crowds and resonate with audiences throughout Assam. The film’s biggest draw is its leading man, Ravi Sharma. His hard work and dedication to portraying a full-blown action hero with a pan-India appeal pays off. The film also tackles an important issue that needed attention, and a large-scale spectacle shedding light on such a menace might bring it to the notice of those who can address it, as well as the general public, so they can be more protective and vigilant with their loved ones. Overall, “Sri Raghupati” is a mildly entertaining extravaganza with Ravi Sharma as its only USP.
Rating: – 3/5 (3 out of 5 Stars)
The views expressed in this article are that of the reviewer and do not reflect EastMojo’s position
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