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Raana review: A two-hour showreel for Shreyas Manju with some hits and loads of misses

Director Nandakishore presents a tale as old as time as a pucca commercial entertainer. 

2/5rating
Raana review: A two-hour showreel for Shreyas Manju with some hits and loads of misses
Shreyas Manju in Raana
  • Prathibha Joy

Last Updated: 12.43 PM, Nov 11, 2022

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Story: Raana (Shreyas Manju) is an aspiring police officer, who inadvertently gets caught in the cross hairs of a local thug, Kapali (Mutant Raghu). Before he can ‘straighten’ things out, Raana is suspected of launching a near-fatal attack on Kapali, which his murderous brother Suri (Mohan Dhanraj) is intent on avenging. Can Raana clear his name and pursue his dream after all?

Review: Raana is all of two hours long, in which the first 15-20 minutes have been dedicated to establishing that there’s a formidable villain, Kapali, who is capable of unspeakable atrocities and a righteous hero, Raana, who can fight and dance. That should give you an idea that director Nandakishore did not have much by way of a story to work with. But that’s not the worst bit yet. Nanda has taken a done-to death ‘story’ – aspiring police officer running into trouble that could ruin his career – and presented it as an action flick, limiting the necessity for actual story-telling.

The premise is simple and once Raana is on the radar of Kapali, and then Suri, the narrative is about moving from one fight to another. It’s a survival story, after all. For what it is worth, Shreyas does a fairly decent job in the action sequences. The youngster has toiled hard and that comes across in his body language during the stunts; he packs a mean punch and kicks hard. He is just as nimble-footed in the dance sequences too. But then, that about sums up his range as an actor as of now. He’s got miles to go as a performer and could do with some dialogue delivery coaching too.

Reeshma Nanaiah is the love interest who gets a few scenes and a peppy song. Thankfully, here they skipped the whole courtship and presented Shreyas and Reeshma as a much-in-love couple on the verge of getting married. While Reeshma’s debut film Ek Love Ya was a showreel for its leading man Raana, this time it is for Shreyas, leaving her with little to do. She really ought to choose better.

One of the film’s biggest failings, beside the lack of a story, is its depiction of women – either with Rajani Bharadwaj’s character or how all the men talk; there is a lot of sexual objectification - repeatedly. Chandan Shetty’s songs are rather forgettable, but he makes up for it with the background score, which passes muster.

Verdict: Raana is a tale as old as time that has not even been given a glitzy new-age makeover. It’s unabashedly commercial, including a random special number as well. It didn’t work for me, but if you like no-brainers like this, you could give it a watch.

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