'Pushpa' review: Allu Arjun shines in the adrenaline-pumping commercial drama
Allu Arjun's Pushpa: The Rise, directed by Sukumar, is an absolute mass entertainer. What makes this film a winner is Arjun's spellbinding performance, armed with a unique mannerism. Also, the rich visuals, mass dialogues, stunt choreography and Devi Sri Prasad's background score make it all the more enjoyable. What does not work, however, is Arjun's romantic track with Rashmika Mandanna. Here is our review
Pushpa is an out and out fan service. Especially the first 30-something minutes, we are offered these: We get to see Arjun making a thumping entry, him shaking a leg, and him displaying his witty side (all are enjoyable!). Now, the mood is set and story begins. It follows the rags-to-riches template- A daily-wage worker pulling together some gimmicks and becoming a gang leader.
From the beginning, Pushpa amuses us with his devil-may-care attitude. To him, the rule is simple: Survival of the fittest. He starts off as a woodcutter working for a red sandalwood smuggler. In the end, he transforms into a kingpin of that smuggling racket. He uses ideas and influences people with his smartness. All those scenes brought the roof down in the theater!
About the time we get to meet the first antagonist—There are EIGHT of them—the plot actually takes a flight. The series of villains starts with one ruthless policeman, and then comes Pushpa's stepbrother, who is eviller. By the time we start to consider HIM as the main antagonist, there comes another, and then another and the cycle finally ends with Fahadh Faasil.
Having seen Faasil's super impressive performances in Mollywood films like Trance and Irul, I was desperately waiting for his entry. But it was...unsatisfying. Rather than being a fierce villain, his role was more on the comical side. It was promised in the end that the game has started only now, so, let's wait for the next installment before jumping to a conclusion.
Now, let's focus on the actress. Srivalli (Mandanna) has a crucial role in transforming Pushpa, in making him feel. But her scenes (like the ones with Pushpa's mother) come and go, with no solid background story. The number of villain-intros and fights (with each other and with Arjun) was rather given more importance, not fair! Also, those little flashbacks of Pushpa's childhood were draggy.
Samantha Ruth Prabhu's dance number comes at the right time, just when Pushpa Raju's character elevation happens in the story. Overall, Pushpa is designed to woo the masses. Having the basic template for a gangster story, and a few powerful screen appearances, the film will surely pull in crowds. Should you watch the film in theaters? A BIG YES! Verdict: This part bags 4.