Pogaru Movie Review: Mass drama based on old formula

Pogaru was touted as one of the most expected films from Sandalwood this year for the simple reason that both Dhruva Sarja and director Nanda Kishore took almost a year to make this 'exclusive' project. Dhruva Sarja's Pogaru tries to replicate time-tested mother-son sentimental drama as it portrays protagonist Shiva (Dhruva Sarja) leading a fearless life. The director goes overboard in casting the hero in the mould of a mass character. Dhruva Sarja spends too much time mouthing mass dialogues as he takes too much screen space looking like a ruffian.

The film opens with the murder of a man as his young son Shiva (Dhruva Sarja) waits for his return. Shiva's mother Lakshmi (Pavithra Lokesh) is compelled to get into a second marriage with Ramakrishna (Ravi Shankar), a government official and father of a month-old daughter from his first marriage. The director gives a twist here. Lakshmi keeps her second marriage a secret from her son for 10 years by giving the impression that Ramakrishna is a family friend.  Shiva grows up in a residential school, missing his mother's love. Shiva never forgives her mother for marrying another man after his father’s murder and this sets the tone for the rest of the story. The director struggles to portray Dhruva Sarja in every frame as an impetuous young man in line with the title Pogaru leaving the audience without any doubt about the denouement of the story.

Shiva grows up to be a violent person living life on his own terms without worrying about people around him. Director Nanda Kishore tries to deliver some romance and sister sentiment in the first half, without much success as the title of the film doesn’t allow him the freedom. Rashmika as the female lead who appears as a teacher ends up as a showpiece. What happens when Shiva gets emotional with his sister (Mayuri Kyatari) and how he acts when the residents' lives are at risk form the substance of the second half.

Dhruva Sarja carries forward his masculine appearance in Pogaru and sticks to his 'signature style' mass looks, delivering lengthy punch dialogues which appears unnecessary. The main villain played by Sampath Raj appears only in a few scenes, as the hero tries to engage the audience with his lengthy dialogues.    

As Pogaru turns out to be Dhruva's one-man show, the director leaves little space for other characters like Dhananjaya, Rashmika, Kuri Prathap.

Overall, the film is overloaded with typical Dhruva stuff meant only for mass audience. The film features four top bodybuilders and models Kai Greene, Morgan Aste, Wayne Lucas and Jo Lindner in the climax fight. The concept of using top bodybuilders in climax fights hardly adds any value to the film except perhaps as a promotional. Music by Chandan Shetty is also disappointing.

Technically, Pogaru looks very rich in every frame and thanks to cinematographer Vijay Milton and childhood flashback episode that shows the Dhruva Sarja in a physical transformation as a teenager will definitely be remembered by the audience.

Written by Nischith N