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Rowdy Boys review: A petty college drama that lacks vigour and takes itself too seriously

The Ashish, Anupama Parameswaran starrer has very little going for it and lacks substance or freshness

  • Srivathsan Nadadhur

  • OTTplay

Last Updated: 01.47 PM, Jan 14, 2022

cover image
Rowdy Boys


Akshay, a teenager barely interested in academics, joins an engineering college with great reluctance. The students from his college and another nearby medical college find petty reasons to quarrel. There's huge drama between the groups on the very first day Akshay enters college and tempers flare up when he falls for a medicine student Kavya. Kavya's supposed boyfriend Vikram is upset about their growing intimacy and will do anything to create a rift between the two. Does Akshay and Kavya's relationship have a future?


You don't watch college-centric dramas expecting maturity. Colleges as a backdrop lend themselves to a lot of drama, for so much about it is universal - the early years of adulthood, the first brush with worldly realities, the fearlessness, the confusions, the relationships, the heartbreaks, the friendships. It's relatable to young audiences and a source of instant nostalgia for the rest. As a storyteller, recreating that vibe and ensuring the rush of the adrenaline is not easy at all. Rowdy Boys is too serious to be a fun college film and too silly to be an engaging drama.

'Grow up' is what you wish to tell these bunch of characters in Rowdy Boys. They fuss over trivial things and imagine as if it's the end of the world - the age does that to them, agreed, but the film amplifies their pettiness to a different level altogether. Rowdy Boys is a good timepass fare as long as it deals with youngsters trying to navigate through their college years with a happy-go-lucky spirit, caring and fearing none. When it transitions into a serious relationship drama, it loses the plot and the fun quotient fizzles out rather quickly.

The girl Kavya is more or less a toy that two warring men, Akshay and Vikram, are desperate to grab hold of. They go to any lengths to impress her and apart from being a topper, there's no identity to Kavya. Kavya is smitten by Akshay easily. When Akshay's thrashed by Vikram's mates, her drastic step to move in with the former doesn't make sense. The trajectory of the story is too predictable from there, be it their togetherness, misunderstanding and ultimately a happy ending.

Rowdy Boys could've been a fun, coming-of-age tale if the struggles of the characters were grounded in reality. The live-in relationship angle was a fine opportunity to showcase the transformation of a man-child into a man but the director brings back the romantic triangle into the story and clutters it with pointless scenes. There's little or no struggle for Akshay to make a career out of music and everything about the music band he goes onto form later feels superficial. The story is too short-sighted and wafer-thin to be a drama spanning over a couple of hours.

The director Sree Harsha Konuganti's earlier film Hushaaru was about a bunch of guys who refused to grow up even after college. While he kept the proceedings in his debut so light-hearted and relatable, people make a lot of noise, shout at the top of their voices in Rowdy Boys. However, that energy is absent in the storytelling. If there's one reason you'll sit through Rowdy Boys, it's because of a few spirited numbers from Devi Sri Prasad. There's a genuine effort from his end to lend authenticity to the college setting.

Ashish has some distance to go if he has to prove himself as a capable actor. It's Vikram Sahidev, reduced to a loud-mouth antagonist, who impresses the most and has the acting chops to headline mainstream films in the times to come. You feel for Anupama Parameswaran when she is stuck in such a largely meaningless film that doesn't even work like net practice for her. Komalee Prasad and Tej Kurapati show promise. Shrikant Iyengar, Padmaja, Jaya Prakash are wasted in inconsequential roles. 


Rowdy Boys doesn't have much going for it. Launchpad or not, you need a genuine reason to make a film - entertain or tell a good story at least. This does neither. Ashish needs to work on his acting and take time to better himself. Devi Sri Prasad's energetic music tracks lend vigour to the college ambience. Disappointing is the word!

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