Review Telugu

Narappa review: Venkatesh's earnest performance elevates this textbook remake of Asuran

Release Date: 20 Jul 2021 / Rated: U/A / 02hr 33min


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Haricharan Pudipeddi

While Narappa largely stays faithful to the original, unlike Asuran, it underplays the caste angle, choosing to depict the clash between two families as a rich-versus-poor issue, reducing the film's impact.

Srikanth Addala’s Narappa (2021) is one of the more faithful remakes in recent years. The best thing about the movie is that it doesn’t tamper with the original material and that is an achievement in itself.

While Narappa largely stays faithful to the original, unlike Asuran (2019), it underplays the caste angle, choosing to depict the clash between two families as a rich-versus-poor issue, reducing the film's impact. Nevertheless, Narappa is a satisfying watch when you see it as a standalone film and take notice of Venkatesh’s earnestness in portraying a character that is devoid of any heroism. 

Venkatesh plays Narappa, a doting father who has left his violent past behind and is now living a quiet life with his three children and wife. He is content farming his small patch of land and has no major expectations from life apart from getting his eldest son (Munikanna) married.

Munikanna is a hot-headed youngster and when he crosses paths with a powerful upper-class family, things take an ugly turn. Narappa and his family have to pay the price. To save his family, Narappa is pushed to walk down the path he had left behind many years ago. Whether he takes that path forms the crux of the story.

Asuran, which had revenge as its core theme, also touched upon themes like the class divide and caste and power politics. Narappa plays it safe by simply projecting the clash as one between the haves and the have-nots without any mention of caste politics.

The film also talks about how land is a symbol of identity. After a terrific first half, the film loses a bit of steam, especially in the second half, when a flashback takes away the joy of the riveting first half. The flashback portion, which introduces us to Narappa’s violence-ridden past, is the weakest segment of the film which otherwise works effectively as the story of a father trying to stop his family committing the same mistakes he did when he was young.

Asuran was Dhanush’s show all the way and while his performance remains unmatchable, it is refreshing to see Venkatesh take up something so serious after so many years. More popular for playing light-hearted characters, with the exception of films like Drushyam (2014); Venkatesh takes a big leap of faith with Narappa as he confidently steps out of his comfort zone to play something powerful. He brings so much of earnestness in portraying the helplessness of his character who will do whatever it takes to protect his family. This will go down as one of his best works.

Priyamani chips in with a decent performance. But it is Karthik Rathnam in a brief role who makes the strongest impact among the supporting cast.

Narappa is now available on Amazon Prime Video.

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