'Republic', which is produced by J Bhagavan and J Pulla Rao, arrived at the theatres today. Let's find out what works and what doesn't.
Panja Abhiram (Sai Dharam Tej) as a powerful District Collector is at loggerheads with Visakha Vani (Ramya Krishna), a supreme power-wielder who is misusing her absolute power to exploit the ignorance of the residents of a village. Abhiram now has to become the face of the IAS system and take on the might of Vani in legal ways.
His girlfriend Myra Hanson (Aishwarya Rajesh) and his father Dasaradh (Jagapathi Babu as a government servant), besides a thug named Guna (Sai Dheena), have a place in the story.
Playing serious roles is not new for Sai Dharam Tej. 'Jawaan' had him as an idealistic RSS activist, while 'Nakshatram' cast him in the role of an IPS officer. In 'Republic', the Mega hero sheds his 'Prati Roju Pandage' and 'Solo Brathuke So Better' vibes and gets into the skin of a serious character. He delivers a thorough impact.
Ramya Krishna, who has played the second most important character and the main antagonist, packs a punch with her attitude. She shows aggression effortlessly and subtly. Aishwarya Rajesh is diametrically different from her roles in 'World Famous Lover' and 'Tuck Jagadish'. Jagapathi Babu is somewhat routine, even though he is not playing a boring villain here. Srikanth Iyyangar as a cop, Jayaprakash as an IAS officer, Rahul Ramakrishna as a farmer and Subbaraju as a bureaucrat fit the bill.
Mani Sharma's songs may not be memorable, but his background music lends a touch of grace to the heavy subject. The BGM is fine in the scenes where Abhiram and Visakha Vani have a face-off.
M Sukumar's cinematography is adequate. KL Praveen's editing is another good element.
'Republic' is not a simple-minded film. There are heavy moments. The template of a sincere civil servant challenging a corrupt politician has been used several times in our films. Writer-director Deva Katta, who admittedly read a handful of books while writing the movie, shows an understanding of the flaws of the system.
The first half establishes the characters with conviction. Abhiram, who is about to attend an interview for IAS, comes across a series of incidents that change his perspective of the system. He shares a unique relationship with his father, a compromised government officer.
There are two back stories, one involving Ramya Krishna's character (narrated verbally) and the other involving Jagapathi Babu's character. Had they been more effective, the drama would have carried greater heft.
The film loses the track in the second half. A number of scenes are seriously flawed. The courtroom battle is simplistic. It is shocking that there is no detailing whatsoever. The track involving Abhiram and Myra are boring. The dialogues carry no ability to invest in Myra's story.
The action scenes are ordinary. While this is not an action movie, at least some imagination should have been shown in staging them. The climax is moving and changes the way we perceive the film, at least to a small extent.
'Republic' may not be a thoroughly engaging film, but it has its moments. A decent first half helps. The second half fizzles out before acquiring weight in the climax.