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Pushpa, Allu’s Terrific Performance In A Crude Melodrama



Pushpa: The Rise

Pushpa: The Rise (Telugu)

Starring: Allu Arjuns, Rashmika Mandanna, Fahadh Faasil

Written & Directed by Sukumar

Rating: **

Allu Arjun is exceptionally effective  as  the  forest-bred bandit who takes on the sandalwood mafia. The film,  sad to say, is woefully crude and tactless, unleashing the kind of melodramatic maelstrom that may have appealed  two decades  earlier. Now, it all seems way too gruff grisly and  oldworld   to be  forgiven as mere “entertainment”

I feel  sorry for those who get entertained  by the endless surge  of villainy and  the  tiresome  torrent   of  tyranny that  is unleashed by  the volley of  unscrupulous  villains with sundry  mafia-like  agendas. Our unlikely hero  is named  Pushpa Raj.Don’t make the mistake  of considering him  a flower, for he is  not a damn phool but  a raging fire:  Pushpa reminds  us  more than once during the course of this coarse and  often  repugnant action drama which makes the  cardinal mistake  of  distinguishing the  Good Antisocial from the Bad Antisocial.

Since  a huge star Allu Arjun  plays  the  Good Antisocial he is seen to be an outlaw with  a sound moral code underlining his  criminal  behaviour. For example, he treats women  with respect.Or so he tells us early in the long-and-winding,  loud-and-whining melodrama. The   facts tell another story.When the spunky village girl  Srivalli(Rashmika Mandanna)  refuses  to reciprocate his  feelings for her,  Pushpa’s  sidekick bribes  the girl to smile  and  kiss Pushpa.

   In a sequence that  audiences have  objected to, he gropes  her in  a car . We don’t know how money much exchanged hands  for this deed. Or  for the  suhaag raat which  will probably happen in Part 2 of this ongoing nerve-wracking  monstrosity  of  an action-adventure drama.

The writing is  so  dated  that the whole romantic subplot feels  like it belongs to  a museum of the defunct arts. In a notably obnoxious   twist of the plot,  one of the villains(don’t ask , which one, as they all crowd the bustling canvas and they are  all for some  strange reason,dark-complexioned) tells Srivalli to  go home ,bathe and  soap and  bedeck herself in a silk saree come back, spend the night with him in exchange for her father’s life.

Srivalli dresses  up and heads for the hero home and knocks his door for help, yes the same one whom she was bribed  to kiss. What  follows is  an orgy of mayhem that leaves the camera and the audience in a spin.Even before we recover from this  aggressive onslaught on  our senses, the extraordinarily  talented Fahadh Faasil shows up at the  fag-end of  the film as  the baap of all corrupt cops,shaven head  twirling  moustache and  all.The  conflict  between  Allu Arjun and  Faasil , replete  with dialogues insulting  the hero’s  parentage  and  the  villain’s greed, has to be seen to be  believed.

 Pushpa The  Rise  frequently has  us  scratching our heads in disbelief  stretching all  incredulity  beyond breaking point to show the loutish hero making his way up the crime syndicate with the kind of streetwisdom that wouldn’t fool  a  child from a primaryschool let alone all these  hardened  sadistic criminals  who don’t just threaten to blow off their enemies’ heads, they go right ahead  and do the dirty deed.

Standing tall  in the morass  of mayhem is Allu Arjun  in a career-transformative  performance , his slouching body language,his  nervous dance moves and  his  gravelly  dialogue delivery are  all a marvel to behold. I would  gladly  look at Pushpa as a showcase for Arjun’s  talents were it not for the  film’s shoddy moral dynamics and  the  motorized  mean machinery which  steamrollers  any  of the work’s good intentions, if any .

By the time the  great  Fahadh  Faasil walked in  belatedly it was too late  wonder  why he was  there in the film practicing the  Gulshan  Grover brand  of villainy. All  one wants is  for this  trippy and violent homage to anarchy to end.

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