If you head to watch ‘Bheemla Nayak’ keeping in mind the Malayalam hit ‘ Ayyappanum Koshiyum’ (2020) which this movie is a remake of – then don’t. This Saagar K Chandra-directed flick may feature the crux of what the Prithviraj-Biju Menon film had but everything from concept and screenplay to execution are a million miles apart. ‘Bheemla Nayak’ is a pace action thriller that is full of ‘Power Star’ Pawan Kalyan moments and will have his fans jumping out of their seats in joy. The battle of the egos between SI Bheemla Nayak and aspiring politician Daniel Shekhar is well orchestrated and fuelled by Trivikram Srinivas’s screenplay.
The movie starts at the Andhra Pradesh-Telangana border where an ex-MP’s son Daniel Shekhar ends up clashing with the cops thanks to the umpteen liquor bottles – an offence – stashed in his car. A drunken Daniel takes pangas with the police when in walks SI Bheemla Nayak to smoothen the situation. However, Daniel’s arrogant attitude and unruly behaviour snowballs the issue and upright officer Bheemla arrests him filing an FIR with extensive charges to boot.
Daniel’s arrest spells doom for Bheemla and his team and the entire first half of the film is devoted mostly to the clash between these two men at the police station. Anger and ego give rise to powerful dialogues and humour is thrown in for good measure as well. As with numerous films, we have seen earlier, money and political power come into play in trying to keep Daniel out of jail but unfortunately, they do not work. Police officer Kodandaraman (Murali Krishna) tries to be a buffer between the two men while Bheemla’s fiery wife Suguna (Nithya Menen) constantly urges her husband to take Daniel to task. With both men at each other’s throats, things start to go awry.
It is in the second half of the movie that we are introduced to Bheemla’s backstory and the pace starts to turn quite sluggish here. With the SI suspended and fighting for his family, the war between the two men ends in a battle royal. Like Kondandaraman tells Daniel, ‘Bheemla isn’t a police officer, he’s a wild animal’ – and we meet the wild animal in the second half. The climax was somewhat disappointing as it lacked the necessary punch sadly. However, throughout the film, it is music director S Thaman’s foot-tapping BGM and songs that keep the tempo up.
The original movie has been tweaked extensively to suit Pawan Kalyan’s image and his fan base. We get to see his trademark moves and seeing him transform from a rule-abiding police officer to a mass hero who is loved and worshipped by the tribals and villagers is a fan treat. Nithya Menen, as Suguna, is spirited and efficient while Samyuktha Menon, as Daniel’s wife, has a smaller role but shows that she can make an impact. Both the women’s roles in the film are assertive and empowering alongside the men who are like yin and yang.
In this film, though we see Pawan Kalyan as a police officer, he downplays his character a great deal while Rana Daggubati essays his role with a lot of bindaas and flair. The two stars of Telugu cinema now have a pan-Indian audience and with ‘Bheemla Nayak’ releasing in Hindi as well, their performances are sure to be appreciated across the country. This Telugu/Hindi remake is made specifically for Pawan Kalyan and Rana Daggubati and that is what makes it radically different from ‘Ayyapannum Koshiyum’. There is no talk of communism or class or caste and what is political is mostly confined to dialogues. Despite this, it is a film that all Pawan Kalyan fans will rejoice in. And those who do not know Pawan Kalyan will get to know why he is a mass hero and why his fans worship him.
Score: 3 out of 5.