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Changure Bangaru Raja review: Karthik Rathnam’s crime comedy works in parts

Beyond the quirky characterisation and establishment of the premise, the film gets repetitive and loses its direction

Changure Bangaru Raja review: Karthik Rathnam’s crime comedy works in parts
Changure Bangaru Raja

Last Updated: 02.35 PM, Feb 26, 2024



Somanaidu, a villager who does odd jobs for a living, is found murdered under a bridge. All the fingers point towards his rival - Bangarraju, an orphan and a small-time, arrogant mechanic, who is head over heels in love with a constable Manga. How far does Bangarraju go to prove his innocence? What connects his friend Tata Rao and a contract killer Gateelu to this mess?


Changure Bangaru Raja, at heart, is a whodunit mystery, set in a sleepy Narsipatnam, focusing on the protagonist’s fight to bail himself out of a tricky situation. Yet, the beauty of debutant Satish Varma’s film lies in its innocence and street-smartness, how the storyteller sets up the village ambience and weaves his tale through a bunch of eccentric characters with different motives.


There’s a lot to like about the laidback (yet self-aware), lush green setting and the conviction in the storytelling. The town residents are after coloured stones (rangurallu) to make a living. The timid German shepherd Veerabobbili, which has a voiceover by Sunil, takes a dig at opportunistic humans. A constable Appanna is better at gathering gossips than the clues for his cases. A Ghajini-like contract killer has a partial memory loss whenever he listens to a horn.

The director drives his story forward through four characters - Bangarraju, his friend Tata Rao, a contract killer Gateelu and the cop Sanyasi Rao. The comedy is so alluring that the plot ceases to matter in the first hour and you don’t question the characters’ naivety. The quirks are hilarious, the actors bring in remarkable spontaneity and improvise well written sequences. The film is largely dialogue driven but the screenplay is sharp until the intermission.

Once, the direction of the story is clear and the foundation is set for a gripping finale, you expect Changure Bangaru Raja to explode. However, the struggles for the director begin when there’s nothing new to discover about the characters or the situations they land amidst. The brand of humour gets slightly repetitive later, the plot keeps running in circles and the murder mystery is not as enticing.

The second hour is tolerable but there’s no magic to the madness. The climax offers a few good twists though the hurried, slightly wayward execution sans clarity, is disappointing. The mechanic-cop romance, which had some spunk initially, takes the mainstream cinema route towards the ending. All Changure Bangaru Raja needed was more focus and a tighter screenplay post intermission.

Despite its problems, Satish Varma is a promising find and displays a good knack for clean humour, creating unique characters in a rooted setting. While his writing is sparkling, there are a few lapses in terms of execution and sustaining the film’s mood on an entirety. Narsipatnam’s rustic beauty serves as an intriguing backdrop for a crime comedy.

The cast comprises an interesting mix of young blood and experience. One gets to explore a different dimension to Karthik Rathnam in the comedy segments and he makes the most of a flawed yet multi-layered role. Goldie Nissy is impressive as the feisty cop. Satya yet again is a show-stealer in a meaty part and Ravi Babu’s dead-pan humour style complements his unusual characterisation.

C/O Kancharapalem girl Nithyasri has a lively screen presence while she lasts. Ester Noronha has a key role, though her character loses its impact amidst many subplots. Raj Tirandasu, the ever-dependable Ajay, Vasu Inturi and Moin do what’s expected of them in brief roles. The music score keeps the tension in the film alive; on the technical front, there’s little to complain about.


Changure Bangaru Raja is a largely impressive, partly inconsistent crime comedy with superb humour and fine performances. Debutant Satish Varma displays a good flair for comedy, writes quirky characters and establishes the rural backdrop with earnestness. With a better final act, it would’ve been a wholly fulfilling experience.

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