Bheemla Nayak Review: Pawan Kalyan is in commanding form in this remake of 'Ayyappanum Koshiyum'
Bheemla Nayak' is set in a village but everything from dialogue to background score is made to serve up a fairly good number of rousing, hero-centric moments.
Cast: Pawan Kalyan, Rana Daggubati and others
Director: Saagar K Chandra
Run-Time: 145 minutes
When Pawan Kalyan was enlisted for the remake of 'Ayyappanum Koshiyum' (Malayalam; 2020), not everyone was confident what writer Trivikram (the one creative mind who made the film under review possible) had in mind. The original, directed by Mollywood filmmaker Sachy, was a small-town film that bristled with respectable writing. But Tollywood's superstar vehicles can't be just respectable. They need to have immense scale. 'Bheemla Nayak' is set in a village but everything from dialogue to background score is made to serve up a fairly good number of rousing, hero-centric moments.
The titular character is played by Pawan. As a Sub-Inspector who doesn't succumb to pressure, he locks up Daniel Sekhar (Rana Daggubati), the son of an ex-MP, for a routine offence. Daniel does something to Nayak with the clear purpose of avenging his insult. From this point, there is no looking back for either.
The Malayalam original was a relatively noiseless movie. On the other hand, 'Bheemla Nayak' plays to the tastes of the mass audience without going ultra-loud or flashy. While being unapologetically commercial in its sensibilities, it lets Thaman whip up a new flavour of music. While the title track, as well as 'La La Bheemla', are intuitive (and the songs are filled with sass and scorching elevation shots), the rest of the songs suck the audience into the mood of the film. The BGM is consistently engaging. And it greatly helps that both Pawan and Rana are equally earnest in the way they emote in serious scenes. The latter looks wearier than how Prithviraj Sukumaran looked in the original.
Cinematographer Ravi K Chandran and production designer AS Prakash complement each other's craft to deliver a pleasing visual flavour. The colour palette chosen seems to have been guided by Trivikram's vision (the writer-director adopted a muted colour pattern for 'Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo').
The dialogues are enjoyable for the most part. But this is not to say that 'Bheemla Nayak' is a flawless outing. After the first 35 minutes or so and till before the interval, the graph of the titular character slackens. This is a major flaw in a superstar movie. Another unmistakable downside is the fact that it takes the songs and BGM to do the heavy-lifting in the second half instead of punch lines and splendid action choreography. The climax comes with an idea that humanizes Nayak in an old-fashioned way. If it works for you, it's only because of Pawan's aura.
Nayak's backstory is another cliche. It's too outdated to be taken seriously in terms of writing. But the stretch immediately following the flashback makes us feel that the writer is narrating a coming-of-age story. Trivikram reimagines whole scenes and presents them as if the film is an original one. The scene where Daniel suddenly takes his wife's side is an example.
Nitya Menen's chemistry with Pawan is cute; she is an able performer without a doubt. Samyuktha Menen is fine. The likes of Murali Sharma, Samuthirakani (as Daniel's arrogant father), Rao Ramesh (as Nayak's enemy no. 2), Shatru, Harshavardhan, Monika Reddy (as Nayak's lady constable), and Pammi Sai prove to be good casting decisions.