Bangarraju review: Naga Chaitanya plays a man child, while Nagarjuna plays his guardian angel in this abomination of a film.
Bangarraju review: This film, featuring Naga Chaitanya and Nagarjuna, makes one question what kind of lies certain performers tell themselves in order to sign such lousy films. Those lies, however, must be more intriguing than the ones they approve of.
Bangarraju is the follow-up film to Kalyan Krishna Kurasala’s 2015 supernatural thriller, Soggade Chinni Nayana. If you haven’t seen the first film, you could be at a loss when it comes to comprehending the nature of the characters’ connections in the sequel. It is safe to infer that Soggade Chinni Nayana did well at the box office and that the filmmakers sought to capitalise on its residual box office potential. Otherwise, there would be no motive for anyone to make such a bad film. It almost smells like desperation to score a movie office smash by rehashing the tired theme of an affluent family who makes a big deal out of the tiniest of things.
Naga Chaitanya plays Bangarraju junior, a typical pampered brat. Coming from a wealthy family, he was raised by an overbearing grandmother and inherited his grandfather, Bangarraju senior’s, promiscuous gene. Now that his grandma Satyabhama (Ramya Krishna) has died, don’t ask how she died, he sulks and pouts when his housekeeper doesn’t wash his hair with the same tenderness. He has been spoiled beyond belief, and it is nearly difficult for any guy to recover from such an upbringing and learn to deal with real life.
It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. However, heaven and hell must be relocated before a fully-grown Bangarraju can be born. Satyabhama pushes Bangarraju senior, who was dancing with the celestial ladies, out of the heavens and back to earth to help her grandson manage the day-to-day obstacles of his life. Bangarraju, you see, is still a 25-year-old youngster who can’t deal with grownup concerns.
When we first encounter Bangarraju senior (Nagarjuna), he is playing kabaddi with angelic ladies on a flower-filled court. He is a lone player up against a group of five or six girls. Back on Earth, Bangarraju junior has earned the undeserved reputation of a skirt-chaser. But, unlike other womanisers, the females in his community don’t find him scary at all, because to his good looks.
The female characters appear to be entirely fine with him, playing footsie with other girls while making eye contact with them. For a while, we see Bangarraju surrounded by throngs of girls cheering him on. It appears that the entire village is dedicated to stroking his ego and making him feel good at whatever cost. There are few men and women who believe in the concept of self-respect.
Such films promote the problematic notion of women as a valuable commodity to be purchased by men who are affluent, attractive, and blessed. The larger the number of girls dying to be with the man, the more valuable he is. When all the villagers huddle together and decide to keep the young girls in their family in control because they think Bangarraju is too sexy and girls in their family don’t have enough self-control to reject the advances of a man who is an established flirt, the film adds another layer to its problematic understanding of what are desirable characteristics of a man.
And the piece’s villain, oh the horror. No, the evil guy does not instil fear in our souls; rather, it stems from the manner the director establishes him. The villain performs a ritual in order to obtain the almighty’s favour to slay Bangarraju. He cries in front of strangers and friends that he wants to assassinate Bangarraju, only to discover that the nefarious plot was a major secret. He is subsequently forced to murder his companion, who evidently overheard his diatribe.
There are also Lord Yamadharma Raja and Lord Indra, both of whom are sympathetic to Bangarraju’s family. Satyabhama’s pleas to the gods to safeguard her family are so ludicrous that they are granted. Not to mention the director’s oversexualisation of women’s navels, problematic male gaze, unoriginality, lack of common sense, and basic respect for logical thought and honest narrative. Bangarraju makes one wonder what kind of lies certain performers must tell themselves in order to sign on for such poor films. Those lies, however, must be more intriguing than the ones they approve of.