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Rudramambapuram review: Ajay Ghosh's relevant story drowns in its stale treatment

Ajay Ghosh’s story, inspired by true incidents, needed a better, focused screenplay to make an impact

Rudramambapuram review: Ajay Ghosh's relevant story drowns in its stale treatment

Last Updated: 02.35 PM, Feb 26, 2024



Seenayya, a Ph.D holder in oceanography, returns to his village - Gundayapalem - after many years, only to witness local fishermen forcibly moving out of the town for livelihood. His greedy father Tirupathi is notorious for his quarrels with a good-hearted fisherman Sivayya, who strives for unity among his community. How far will Seenayya go to ensure justice to fishermen in his village?


Good intentions or even a good story isn’t always enough to make a good film. The director’s job is to preserve the essence of the written material and also ensure a gripping film. Rudramambapuram, directed by Mahesh Bantu, deserves praise for putting the spotlight back on the fishermen community in mainstream cinema, but does it succeed as a film? The answer is a no.


The film initially unfolds through the eyes of an oceanography student, who bats for nature conservation, and how he comes to terms with the drastic changes in his village over the years. The stale, old-fashioned screenplay haphazardly alternates back and forth between timelines, shifts from infighting among the fishermen to rural politics to family drama.

The directionless storytelling hurts the film’s cause. Right in its first hour, Rudramambapuram loses track with its bloated/trivial subplots surrounding Tirupathi and Sivayya’s past that contribute little to the story. The awkward casting, jarring wigs, loud performances and the melodramatic background score add to the cacophony.

The director hurries through the crucial segments of the film surrounding ring nets, threats to marine life, that could’ve benefited from better detailing. While the oceanography student from the village constantly talks about change and a better future, his actions hardly match his pompous sermons. Rudramambapuram focuses more on the power struggles at the top and the dull execution barely warrants your interest.

There are too many cinematic liberties and very little effort to capture the minutiae in the daily lives of the fishermen with authenticity. The twist in the climax is too obvious to have any shock value and the essence of the story is diluted amidst the director’s effort to ‘commercialise’ it. The film is stuck in the 1970s-80s mould with its simplistic treatment of a serious issue. The tolerable music (Vengi) and the impeccable cinematography (N. Sudhakar Reddy) salvage the film to some extent.

Ajay Ghosh proves he’s also a writer to watch out for but his performance leaves a lot to be desired. He often tries to override the story with his persona, booming presence though a restrained portrayal could’ve bettered the film’s aftertaste. Debutant Arjun Rajesh has the right screen presence and good looks but his role lacks enough meat.

Janardhan, in a done-to-death avatar of a morally corrupt politician, passes muster. Subhodayam Subbarao makes a mark as the measured leader of the fishermen’s union. Prameela doesn’t get to add much value to the film. The exaggerated performances of the supporting cast remind you of hammy Telugu serials. In terms of its structuring, the film is all over the place and better editing could’ve ensured some damage control.


Rudramambapuram is an important, relevant document of the fishermen community and the issues that affect their daily lives but it struggles to be an engaging film. Watch it only if you can stomach the melodrama and the 70s styled storytelling.


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