A still from ‘NRNM’
A still from ‘NRNM’

The title- Nene Raju Nene Mantri- itself is a clear giveaway about what is on offer. Director Teja making a comeback after a hiatus does not deviate from the theme which he sets out to present – a violent political love story.

Having a beefed up Rana Daggubati playing the aspiring neta and bringing in a comely Kajal Agarwal along with him into his banner after a decade and more, the helmsman whips up a kitsch of a film, which has power mongering, love and lust, dishoom dishoom and a barely convincing romantic track between the lead pair.

The flick begins steadily, in flashback mode, as the protagonist narrates his story to a television channel before his death sentence. Before one gets involved in the proceedings, the little scope that Rana gets to emote sadly gets lost in the first few reels itself. Despite a 152-minute running time, Teja hurries through the making of a top-class politician in the form of Rana, who is pitted against the chief villain Ashutosh Rana, whom he takes on to  ensure his progress in the power games he encounters.  

In fact, some of the scenes reminds one of a ‘90s film of Mohan Babu – M Dharmaraju MA- in which politics plays the main component of the film. Anyhow, what could have been an engaging cat-n-mouse kind of a structure gets lost thus, in the usual blood and gore sequences by the time it touches the halfway mark.

In the second half, the film just drags on with the villain and the hero taking each other on and Catherine Tresa, a television journalist, playing the other woman in revealing costumes. Her character, ill-defined and trivialised is just used to bring in the tearjerker element where Kajal confronts Rana on his extra-marital flings. Moreover, the hyperactive kind of a person that Rana is shown as leaves him with little chances to showcase his acting talents, with only his cigarette flicks a la Rajinikanth appreciated by the audience. 

Building up the hero as a crusader for the common man, despite his questionable and violent tactics in retaining his political status is the main contradiction that one feels, the film suffers from. Then comes the amateurish handling of how real politics is played out with the hero, taking his dead wife in a funeral procession across his hometown and gaining a sympathy wave!

He also is shown blowing up buildings in which corrupt politicians are seated in the climax, which earns him the capital punishment. Such a patchy kind of a treatment mars the pace of the film greatly, which had raised a lot of expectations and a repeat success for Rana Daggubati after ‘Baahubali 2’.

Film Name : Nene raju nene mantri 

Cast           : Rana, Kajal Aggarwal, Ashutosh Rana and Catherine 
Direction     : Teja
Genre         : Political drama
Likes           : Hype generated on the film 
Dislikes       : Indifferent treatment 

Rating: 2.50