Pushpa The Rise review: Allu Arjun shines in this battle of egos

Pushpa The Rise movie review: Allu Arjun steals the show with his powerful performance. He accepts his deglamorized appearance and gives an unforgettable performance.

In Pushpa: The Rise, unlike previous big-budget extravaganzas, the hero does not come from a well-to-do family. The hero, played by Allu Arjun, is not burdened with the obligation of upholding his family’s history, culture, or tradition. In reality, it is his lack of familial support that propels him to take risks in the film.

Pushpa Raj, an outcast, is the protagonist of the film. Pushpa, who was born out of wedlock, is denied respect and stripped of his identity at an early age. In the mountainous village of Seshachalam, his name is now worthless. Pushpa, driven by this humiliation, promises that his name will mean something even without the backing of his father’s family.

And what better way to raise one’s status than to make rapid money and accumulate genuine power? Pushpa is born in the kingdom of ‘red gold,’ Seshachalam, which is endowed with an abundance of rare redwood. It is in high demand on the worldwide markets.

A large crime gang led by Mangalam Srinu (Sunil) supervises the unlawful felling of trees, transporting and smuggling them throughout the world via maritime route. Pushpa begins at the very bottom of this criminal organization. He’s merely a gear in the system, extremely expandable to the top dogs until he demonstrates his worth.

Pushpa’s fortunes gradually shift as he swiftly accumulates money and power via his never-say-die attitude. While other woodcutters abandon their load and flee when they see authorities, Pushpa refuses to back down.

He defends himself and outwits the cops. When the authorities gather up the smugglers and threaten to shoot them if they don’t surrender, Pushpa leads the initial offense, inciting the others to follow. Because, as his motto goes, “Pushpa Raj, Thaggede Le (I will not relent).” His meteoric ascent has also put him in the crosshairs of a formidable adversary.

All Pushpa wants is to outrun his history and have the world accept him for his achievements rather than undermine his existence because he can’t publicly acknowledge his father. But, just when he believes he has beaten his past and is in complete control of his future, his history returns to haunt him.

For some, no matter how great and powerful he grows, he is still a man who deserves to be feared and obeyed but not respected. The story isn’t only about how the protagonist amasses wealth and power by brute force and fast thinking. It is, however, a critique of a severely biased, class and caste-obsessed society.

Pushpa The Rise is filmmaker Sukumar’s second film in which the hero comes from the lowest social class. Rangasthalam, his previous film starring Ram Charan, likewise dealt with a tiny person taking on the big men. His narrative becomes more daring in Pushpa.

He strips both his hero and villain down to their underwear to make a point: it’s not who you are underneath that defines you, but what you do. Yes, I lifted that phrase from Christopher Nolan’s Batman series. And it wonderfully sums up Sukumar’s film, which is a vast narrative of an underdog rapidly ascending through the ranks of the underworld.

With his great performance, Allu Arjun wins the film. He accepts his deglamorized appearance and gives an unforgettable performance. He also makes us laugh with his bromance with his sidekick. The ladies in this story, on the other hand, are deeply entrenched in stereotypes.

Rashmika Mandanna’s Srivalli has a bright start, but she loses her independence along the line and joyfully sits at Pushpa’s feet. Dakshayani, played by Anasuya Bharadwaj, gets to re-enact the “Wake Up Henry” scene from Goodfellas as she sits on top of her husband, preparing to cut his neck. However, it has no meaning or contributes to the overall dynamics.

Then there’s Bhanwar Singh Shekhawat by Fahadh Faasil. We see very little of him in this film since he only comes in the final act, just when Pushpa believes he is untouchable. Sukumar returns us to the beginning at the end of the film. Pushpa, true to his character, is still unable to roll over and play dead in the face of ultimate authority.

That doesn’t make Shekhawat a bad officer. He’s just another crook with the system’s support. The film closes on a cliffhanger, with Pushpa drawing battle lines and laying out all the cards for the sequel.

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