Mass Maha Raja Ravi Teja is renowned for his high-octane energy and signature style. When he took on the role of Tiger Nageswara Rao in the biopic about the feared dacoit who terrorized Stuartpuram, Andhra Pradesh during the 1970s, it left everyone astonished. This was a departure from his usual preference for high-energy commercial entertainers, and it carried a significant risk. However, the teasers and trailers for the film quickly dispelled any doubts, generating considerable anticipation.
With the film set for a pan-India release, directed by Vamsee, it has become the center of attention. As the film is scheduled to hit theaters on October 20, 2023, let's discover how Ravi Teja completely immersed himself in the role of Tiger Nageswara Rao, the real-life fearsome dacoit, and captured the hearts of audiences.
The essence of Tiger Nageswara Rao's story lies in the transformation of an individual from the peaceful village of Stuartpuram into a notorious thief during the 1970s. DSP Vishwanath Sastry (Murali Sharma), embarks on an urgent flight to Delhi. There, he is questioned about Tiger Nageswara Rao (Ravi Teja), by IB Officer Raghavendra Rajpur( Anupam Kher). Upon learning the intricate details, Sastry takes it upon himself to enhance the security of the Prime Minister.
The film unfolds the intriguing connection between Tiger Nageswara Rao and the Prime Minister of India. It also delves into the journey of Nagi, a resident of Stuartpuram, Andhra Pradesh, as he evolves into the enigmatic Tiger Nageswara Rao. Additionally, the roles of various characters such as MLA Yelamanda (Hareesh Peradi), Kasi (Sudev Nair), Sara (Nupur Sanon), Mani (Gayatri Bharadwaj), CI Mouli (Jissu Sen Gupta), Gajjala Prasad (Nassar), Jayavani (Anukeerthy Vas), and Reformist Hemalatha Lavanam (Renu Desai) play pivotal roles in shaping the narrative and driving the rest of the proceedings.
Ravi Teja, as always, delivered a powerhouse performance brimming with energy and excitement. His portrayal was marked by impeccable expressions and emotions, igniting the screen with his dynamic presence. His body language and on-screen charisma elevated the scenes, and he effectively conveyed intensity through his expressive eyes. Ravi Teja's rejuvenated, younger appearance suited the character to perfection. This role was a departure from his typical mass entertainers, and he wholeheartedly did justice to a character inspired by real-life incidents.
Nupur Sanon, making her debut in this film, sizzled on screen and embraced the role of the typical glamorous character. Gayatri Bharadwaj, in the role of Ravi Teja's wife, provided glamour treats in a couple of scenes and the song where she romanced Ravi Teja. Anukeerthy Vas also delivered a similar impact.
Renu Desai, marking her return to the screen, portrayed the character of Hemalatha Lavanam with grace and skill. Her presence was particularly notable in the second half of the film. Jisshu Sen Gupta left a mark with his role as a notorious cop, showcasing his acting prowess. Murali Sharma and Anupam Kher, though having limited roles, delivered strong performances. Nassar added depth to his typical character, while Hareesh Peradi, portraying the role of a cruel MLA, acquitted himself decently in his part. The rest of the cast played their roles with aptitude, contributing to the overall ensemble.
Tiger Nageswara Rao, a creation of Vamsee's storytelling, delves into the world of a notorious thief from the 1970s, Nageswara Rao, who once cast a shadow of fear over Stuartpuram. In an attempt to take Ravi Teja down a path of villainy, the film aimed to evoke a sense of the modern-day Robin Hood on the silver screen. The narrative kicks off with an intriguing and exhilarating start, particularly the introduction scene of Ravi Teja, where he daringly robs a train on the Godavari bridge, leaving the audience captivated.
However, as the story unfolds within the first 30 minutes, it takes on a predictable flavor. Despite a certain level of interest generated by a security breach at the Prime Minister's Office, the film fails to deliver the anticipated thrills. The first half concludes by setting the stage for the transformation of Stuartpuram Nageswara Rao into the infamous Tiger Nageswara Rao. The entire second half is marked by a relentless display of violence and gruesome killings from both sides, with little insight into the legendary robberies attributed to Tiger Nageswara Rao. This approach inadvertently turns the film into a documentary, leaving the audience devoid of excitement.
Apart from a few moments within the third act, the romantic subplot and other scenes prove to be a tedious watch. The overall experience tests the patience of the viewers. Vamsee's storytelling, script, and writing fall short, resulting in a bland and uninteresting screenplay. The direction also falters significantly, leaving the dialogues feeling monotonous.
The music composed by GV Prakash Kumar emerges as a weak link in the film. The songs fail to make a significant impact and, in fact, act as speed bumps to the narrative. The background music, too, does not effectively enhance the scenes, disappointing movie enthusiasts. Madhi's cinematography is commendable, though not extravagant, and Kotagairi Venkateswara Rao's editing leaves room for improvement on multiple fronts. The production values from Abhishek Arts are decent, but they are unable to compensate for the film's other shortcomings.
Altogether, Tiger Nageswara Rao's story falls short of delivering an engaging and exciting entertainment experience. Vamsee took a daring approach by casting Ravi Teja in a completely negative role, which initially sparked excitement among his fans and movie enthusiasts. However, Vamsee couldn't meet the high expectations due to a weak storyline, illogical scenes, uninspiring screenplay, and a lackluster script. The film failed to harness Ravi Teja's energy to the fullest, ultimately overshadowing his trademark heroics. Taking all of these factors into consideration, Cinejosh gives Tiger Nageswara Rao a 2.25-Star Rating.