Having delivered commercial hits in a row, Stylish Star Allu Arjun this time preferred a message oriented patriotic entertainer through NPS. Also, he chose top writer Vakkantham Vamsi as the director produced by Lagadapati Sridhar, Naga Babu and Bunny Vas. Let us see, how good NPS stands over all.
Surya (Allu Arjun) is an angry soldier in Indian army. Although he is immensely patriotic and dedicated to duty, his irresistible anger turns a curse. Higher Officer (Boman Irani) orders him to get a clearance certificate from India's number one psychology professor Ramakrishnam Raju (Arjun) in order to get back his position in Army. And this psychologist happens to be none other than Surya's father whom Surya defies way back in childhood and leaves home.
Surya’s aim is to get a no objection certificate from his dad to render his services as a Jawaan at border. 21 days anger management conflict between father and son soon deviates with entry of local goon Challa (Sarath Kumar) and Kargil soldier Mustafa (Sai Kumar). When Surya realizes to have lost his character, how he fights back is rest of the story.
Writer Vakkantham Vamsi, who stepped into the shoes of director with NPS has left his own character in a confusion like his muddled up screenplay and protagonist characterization. Though proved his mettle in parts with gritty writing, the central theme chosen finds no relevance in present India. Bringing in family drama, romance and unnecessary commercial elements to make NPS a wholesome commercial entertainer backfired miserably thus diluting the broad natured patriotism element in total. Father-son conflict established well in early parts later became an over dragged, illogical psychology lecture. Except in mapping Surya’s characterization, rest all including watering of sturdy villainy in pre climax laying way for unconventionally lengthy preachy climax, Vamsi’s immature and imbalanced direction is a total letdown.
Camera work by Rajeev Ravi is commendable though visuals aren’t bright. Various locations in North India’s army camps are projected well. Kotagiri’s editing was lethargic, made narrative very slow. Then comes, Vishal- Shekkar's BGM is good while songs like O Sainika, I am A Fight Also Lover Also are composed and shot well while Iraga Iraga is a disappointment without Bunny mark steps. Production values from Ramalakshmi Creations stood out.
Onto artists, Allu Arjun's hard work and dedication as Surya can be sensed in every frame. He hasn't indulged in unnecessary shouts to exhibit extreme anger. Instead, he flaunted emotions through eyes and body language which in fact turned him a settled, matured performer. Anu Emmanuel has nothing much and is seen at parts just for the sake of songs. Senior Tamil actor Arjun is a decent, dignified father while Sarath Kumar who fits the bill initially in antagonist getup loses the hold in last key 20 minutes. Sai Kumar, Charu Hasan characters as Muslim patriotic soldiers leave an impression. Vennela Kishore fun is a relief. Rest all like Rao Ramesh, Pradeep Rawat, Posani, Nadiya and others did their parts.
Feeble, Forced Emotions
Slowly and steadily inching towards next level of stardom, Allu Arjun adventured on an impossible theme of angry army man by reprocessing himself both physically and mentally to fit in. As a protagonist, he is flawlessly macho in a rather low key script whisked in weak direction. Right from scene one, Vamsi’s untutored direction becomes evidential as lengthy, slow shots eat away time.
For example, the build-up for establishing hero’s angry soldier characterization in three separate episodes (Pub fight, Police station fight and prison gunshot) haven’t got any emotional connectivity to sympathize with Surya. Rather, Surya’s inspiration towards joining the army through his childhood episodes would have done a great deal of justice in elevating and establishing the hero. First half did not actually take off till the entry of Sarath Kumar with a bloodshed introduction episode, well designed and superbly captured. Propelling Allu Arjun to get a no objection certificate from his father psychologist is a dead logic to steer the story and narrative onto Surya’s personal side where the love track on Anu Emmanuel and comedy on Posani did not fit the bill. Pre interval scene on Arjun-Allu Arjun in a big conference hall with 21 days challenge and the following fight at interval leaves much more to expect from second half.
Along with anger management and family melodrama killing the real characterization of Bunny in second half, there’s other parallel thread Vamsy smartly wrote on Sai Kumar, Charu Hasan guiding the script towards more of hero’s self-discovery and the track of Anwar, a young boy finding India as not his own country reflected a meaningful message. By this point of time, NPS message of the loud and clear. Enemies within the country are more harmful to Nation than the neighboring countries cultivating terrorism. Vamsy though wins game in this part but loses the steam immediately.
All in all, NPS is an unfamiliar sandwich of non-commercial patriotic point and commercial flavored melodrama, romance and action missing on basic, substantial emotion under the unqualified direction of Vakkantham Vamsi. Though Allu Arjun excelled in his character with visibly honest efforts, Vamsy succeeded as a writer to large but failed faithfully to do justice as director. With Allu Arjun's magnificent performance as backbone for this average film, CJ rates NPS with 2.75 stars waiting for Box Office to speak the rest.