Rajaratha Review: A colourful, but bumpy ride
The director Anup Bhandari seems to have been unsure if he wanted to make a romantic comedy or a message film, and it ends up being an uneven mix of the two
Three years after the highly successful Rangitaranga (2015), talented filmmaker Anup Bhandari is back with Rajaratha. And now, he appears to better understand the importance of idea segregation -- what to keep, what to throw. Unfortunately, the director seems to have been unsure of the film he wanted to make, and consequently it fluctuates between a full fledged romantic comedy and a message film, ending up as a film that does not fall into either bracket.
Director: Anup Bhandari
Cast: Nirup Bhandari, Avantika Shetty, Puneeth Rajkumar, Arya
The film about a bus journey begins with the character introduction of the passengers voiced by Puneeth Rajkumar, who plays the role of the narrator. The story revolves around the love drama between Abhi (Nirup Bhandari) and Megha (Avantika Shetty), who are just out of college. Along with them, the film gives scope to the multiple passengers and their reactions to the budding relationship. While this is the heart of this road movie, beyond the journey is the commotion between a group of activists, who are fighting over an interstate dispute. Among them is Vishwa (Arya) an extremist. The bus gets stranded because of a landslide and the passengers are later caught in a riot. How the bus and its passengers are interlinked to the riots and Vishwa, and what is the fate of the young couple’s love story form the rest of the plot that takes the film to a message-oriented climax.
With its host of characters, the film moves at a slow pace. There is a sense of excitement with Puneeth’s voice adding humour in bits, but the journey gets a bit tiresome. Of course, it takes courage to handle issues between states, but Anup has miscalculated in his efforts to balance the love track and the dispute, and make both crucial to the film.
Nirup Bhandari gets ample opportunity to showcase his acting, dance skills and comic timing, but doesn;t take full advantage of it. Avantika Shetty handles her character with a sense of responsibility, and is not just being relegated to being eye candy. The supporting cast come and go in the story without making much of an impression. Arya's role does not give him much of a scope to perform. Ravi Shankar leaves a mark with his special song appearance.
Technically, the film stands out with its rich production values. Willaim David captures some beautiful locations and makes the film visually interesting. With all the songs well placed in the film, the highlight is the love track, Gandaka Mandaka, and Ajaneesh Loknath’s neat background score. Credit should also go to the colourist, BVR Shivakumar.
Rajaratha’s journey is bumpy and it is up to you to decide if you want to go on this road trip.