After the horrible events in Charlottesville on Saturday, on the spur of the moment, I went to a packed late show of Nene Raju Nene Mantri (I am the King, I am the Minister.) Whoo boy, it was not an escape from violent politics.
I did like the film, but the ending, not just the very last moments, but the last ten minutes or so were very much wtf plot turns. I left shell shocked and so did the audience. I had to approach some women in the lobby to talk about their reaction to the ending. I went by myself, and it was one of those kinds of films where you just have to talk to someone and say — what about that ending?? What did YOU think?? So please, if you’ve seen the film, please leave a comment and tell me what your takeaway was from that ending.
It was just delightful to see the chemistry between Rana and Kajal. This is a tour de force film for Rana Daggubati, but Kajal gets to show depths of acting that I have not seen in her other roles, especially in the melodramatic scenes. Rana starts the film very sweet – he’s a money lender, but a soft hearted one who helps poor farmers, not the kind who bashes heads to demand payment.
We don’t see the romance of Kajal and Rana, but do see a flashback of them as childhood sweethearts. The film shows them as an established happily married couple. Jogendra (Rana) is obsessed with keeping his Radha (Kajal) happy. When a tragedy befalls them, then he is hell-bent on revenge. He sees a path through politics to gain the power he needs to rain down justice. But then the power corrupts him as he climbs up the political ladder. Nothing and no one can stand in his way. He says it is from the love of his wife, but she points out that that is not really true.
Frankly, Jogendra becomes a monster. I felt like it was an abrupt change of his personality when the tragedy happens, but the descent thereafter was somewhat believable as the power corrupts him more and more. The last 10 minutes though. Yowza. I’ll leave this spoiler free, but again, please comment if you saw it!!
It was a worthy film to see, and Rana gave a great performance showing a range that he wasn’t able to fully show in the Baahubali films. The people in the packed theater were there to see him, and I’m looking forward to see where he goes next in his career. While the director Teja, tried to give a critical look at a corrupt political system, where he took it left me rather stunned as he showed crowds sympathizing with the extremes of Jogendra’s acts.
What was also fun for me was now that I’ve seen more Telugu films that just about every character actor in the industry had at least a small part in the film. There was a lot of “Hey, it’s that guy!” for me.
I soooo want to see this one!
I felt the ending was sort of poetic. People supported Jogendra as he killed those politicians harming “them”, a reminder of what RGV said in Rakta Charitra: When an alternate force seems to protect you as justice fails, people tend to support it. But someday, that alternate force too shall receive the final nail in the coffin as people are never really loyal. And, if the change in Jogendra in the preclimax was real, Radha’s death confirmed soon that Jogendra would die. It is basically a love story in the backdrop of politics. If Radha dies, Jogendra has no interest in life and would die anyway. So, the ending made so much sense to me. They uniting near a dreamy waterfall… Dheevara vibes!
PS: This is Kajal’s 50th film, and I am glad she chose this, given that her debut was directed by Teja too. And, Teja was an assistant and DOP of RGV’s earlier films. So, similarities with Rakta Charitra might be more evident.