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Rama Naidu Is The Armpit  Of Crime Dramas



Rama Naidu

Rama Naidu(Netflix, 10 Episodes)

Rating: *

There is a widespread fascination  in  Rama Naidu for  oral sex and for using the crude Hindi word for the male genitals,shared by almost every character. One of the first  visuals in the film is  that of a  gentlewoman performing fellatio on a drugged  sports star and then highjacking his semen to an unknown destination.

For what purpose, I really don’t know. Just as I have no clue why actors like  Venkatesh, Rana Daggubati and Surveen Chawla would want to be any part  of this cheesy trashy  low-blow  of  an endeavour where the language is so crude it would make a streetwalker blush.

Sample this: a  producer played  by  Ashwin Mushran is  delighted about his girlfriend, “She  goes  around  with  my penis  in her mouth.”(This is a crude translation; it sounds much cruder in Hindi).

The characters, male or female, lace their daily conversations with expletives  in English and  Hindi. I tried to keep count of the  ‘l’ word in Hindi for  the male genitals ,but gave up  after Episode 2. Or  for that matter the number of times that part of the body  meets  the mouth.Countless.

Foul-mouthed and frighteningly pointless, Rana Naidu is the crime-thriller equivalent  of  all-expenses paid vacation to  Afghanistan.  You  never  know  where the next explosion is  coming from.  Or in this  case. Who is doing whom,literally and  metaphorically .

Rana Daggubati,scowling throughout as  though he knows what he got himself into only after accepting the paycheck , plays Rana Naidu  a Bollywood  fixer who  cleans up the mess that  Bollywood stars create when drugged and drunk. One such human mess(superstar Prince, played by  Gaurav Chopra, his lucky day, I guess)  lands Rana in mess.  His father Naga Naidu goes to jail  for fifteen years  and is now out  meeting with his  various legitimate/illicit sons.

“I  had sex  with many women . But your mother was  one of the best. I rate her 10 out of 10(said in crude  Hindi again)” Naga  tells one of his sons who seems  quite pleased with marks.

Naga Naidu is  played by Telugu superstar Venkatesh who has an eminently vegetarian  image as a star. He seems  to have fun with the raunchy role. But to see him get into this vigorously sexualized  zone is  a more of an embarrassment than a  shock.

The women are sexualized  to the point of seeming like recreational toys. Funnily, every time they are wanted for sex they are first thrown against a wall, or some hard object. Though the  presentation is high on sleazy suggestions, there is a curious coyness about actual nudity. The maximum we see of a woman being stripped-down is  a bikini  body.

Rana Naidu transposes  the mythic  hedonism,crime and debauchery  of  Hollywood to Bollywood. The transition is  awkward and frequently ill-conceived. The  depiction of  showbiz decadence here is far less shocking , much more risible, than in Damien Chazelle’s  Babylon. There are some bizarre characters masquerading as superstars. One producer  played by  Rajesh Jais gets elaborate hallucinatory attacks in the middle  of  stage speeches.  He, by the way, is doing his wife’s sister.

The characters are either cheating on their spouses, or beating up their  enemies  , or both. There is no  respite from the torrent of assault to the  senses that this series  unleashes on  the  audience. After  watching through the ten  episodes, in the hope that somewhere down the  road the  series will justify its  existence, I was left wondering. Why?  Why this unearthly  crime  against good taste  from directors  Supern Varma and Karan Anshuman who   have in the past given  us some memorable  content on  the  OTT? Perhaps this is a one-off aberration for all concerned. One can only hope for  the  best.

Rana is the Bollywood fixer that Bollywood doesn’t need. But who  is there to fix this series? It seriously needs  repair.

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