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Naa Peru Surya Naa Iillu India review: Allu Arjun scores emphatically in appealing army drama

Release Date: 04 May 2018 / Rated: U/A / 02hr 48min

Cinestaan Rating

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Manigandan KR

Engaging content and some swashbuckling performances make this film deserving of a double thumbs up.

Allu Arjun makes a strong statement with Naa Peru Surya Naa Iillu India, which means, 'My name is Suriya and my home is India.'

The film is more than just a commercial entertainer as it reiterates some pertinent points strongly.

Director Vakkantham Vamsi's understanding of issues, be it at an individual level or at a societal level, is deep and his film's screenplay showcases that.

Surya (Allu Arjun), a soldier with the Indian army, is stationed at the prestigious Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, where he reports to Colonel Sanjay Srivastava (Boman Irani). Surya's ambition is to die someday in the service of the nation, while guarding its borders. His dream is to get to the borders, where he earns the satisfaction that over a billion people are sleeping in their homes peacefully knowing that people like him are at the border to guard their peace.

While everybody in the garrison, including Colonel Srivastava, is aware of his deadly skills, which include his close combat skills and his marksmanship, he has so far not been given the order to head to the border. That is because Surya has a problem and that is his inability to contain his short temper.

The straightforward officer with a devil-may-care attitude is fearless to the point that he does not stop to think about repercussions. He does only what is right, unmindful of the outcome.

One night, the prized soldier shoots down a dreaded terrorist who has been captured by the Indian Army. He is promptly kicked out after a court martial. Surya's world comes crashing down, but he simply refuses to come to terms that he is no longer a part of the army. Rao Ramesh, a retired military personnel and the man who brought him up from the time he was a teenager, pleads on his behalf with Colonel Srivastava, urging him to give Surya another opportunity in the army.

After a lot of pleading, Colonel agrees to give Surya one last chance, but on one condition. Colonel Srivastava says he will take Surya back in the army if the soldier gets a letter from a world renowned psychologist, Dr Ramakrishna Raju (Arjun), recommending his reinstatement.

Surya isn't exactly excited at this offer simply because Dr Ramakrishna Raju is actually his estranged father. But nevertheless, Surya agrees and sets out to meet his father and get him to sign the letter of recommendation.

The meeting between father and son isn't exactly cordial or warm. It ends in a contest between the two, with the father saying that he will grant Surya the letter he desires if he can show him that he has the ability to contain his anger. The challenge is for Surya to remain calm, not giving in to anger over a period of 21 days. If during this period, he loses his temper even once, he would fail the test. Surya agrees. But as fate would have it, it is at this time that the straightforward jawan comes face to face with the son (Thakoor Anoop Singh) of a feared landgrabber, Challa (Sarath Kumar), who believes in violating laws in any and every manner possible.

Does Surya manage to keep his temper in check and thereby earn the letter that will fetch him the right to realise his dream of manning the border?

The film has an overwhelming number of pluses and a few minuses as well.

Let's get to the factors that work in favour of the film. Vakkantham Vamsi's story and his treatment both earn this film brownie points. The film might have a proper commercial story to keep the masses pleased, but at its core, it emphasises the point that it is important for one to realise his or her dreams, but not at the cost of one's integrity. If to achieve a dream one has to sacrifice his integrity or character, then the dream is simply not worth it.

At a time when filmmakers across film industries know that it pays to indulge in male bashing, Vakkantham Vamsi refuses to toe the line. Instead, he is careful not to take sides on issues pertaining to gender.  

For instance, there is a sequence in the film in which Surya goes to rescue a girl being harrassed by miscreants. He says, "God has given us hands for two reasons. One is to help others and the second is to salute the national flag. It is not to harrass women." There is also another sequence in which a woman at a pub abuses a man just for the heck of it and thinks she can get away with it. When she tries to misbehave with him, Surya ensures she tenders an apology. This balanced approach makes the film a lot more appealing.

The film has some fantastic performances, starting with Allu Arjun. He looks every bit an army jawan. His body language, measured talk and mannerisms all reek of the arrogance of an honest man who takes pride in having a clear conscience and a fearless mind. It is simply perfect. The actor is good in the fight sequences and as always is exceptional when it comes to dancing. In all, he comes up with a clearly impactful performance.

Speaking of fights, a word of appreciation is due for the stunt choreographers and the stuntmen who have acted in the film. All the stunts are impressive, but it is the first stunt at the pub which stands out. It is clearly one of the best action sequences to have been seen on the big screen in recent times.

Anu Immanuel, who plays Varsha, does a neat job. She doesn't have much to do, save for play the hero's sweetheart who often gets hurt by his unintentional straightforwardness.

Sarath Kumar as Challa and Arjun as Dr Ramakrishna Raju do justice to their roles thoroughly. Both actors, who have proven themselves in the past, play their parts to perfection.

On the flip side, the film is a tad too long for people to enjoy. At a time when the attention span of audience is coming down, the film runs for almost three hours. It would be great if the film was tightened to fit in a 2-hour-15-minute runtime.

Next, there are some portions of the film that are highly predictable. If there is one element that hasn't worked here it is certainly the element of surprise. But then, other than that almost everything else works.

The film's music by Vishal and Shekhar meets all commercial standards and is reasonably good. Rajeev Ravi's cinematography is rich and engaging.

On the whole, Naa Peru Surya Naa Iillu India works big time.

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