Disco Raja Movie Review: A pointless potpourri of excessive melodrama
The film is a classic example of a promising premise that doesn’t fully translate into a compelling movie
There's a scene in Disco Raja where Ravi Teja's character, an infuriated gangster shouts at the villain because he is being provoked and troubled. "I am done with the freaking crap," he hollers. You may respond saying, "So am I!" Directed by Vi Anand, Disco Raja is a pointless potpourri of excessive melodrama in the guise of a sci-fi thriller. It's neither thrilling nor engaging and has many logical loopholes that cannot be overlooked after a point.
Cast: Ravi Teja, Nabha Natesh, Payal Rajput
Direction: Vi Anand
The film takes off in Ladakh, where we see a group of men on snowmobiles drag an unidentified man, who has been badly beaten up, and leave him in a snowdrift to die under the avalanche. The build-up to this scene hints that it could be none other than our protagonist. While you think he will leap, stand, and fight back, nothing happens here. The dead man is retrieved in a frozen state by a group of mountaineers and sent to a biological laboratory, where doctors employ all possible means to bring him back to life. Cut to Delhi, we see a family waiting for the return of their caretaker, Vasu (Ravi Teja).
Meanwhile, the doctors revive the dead man, who loses his memory in the process. The chief doctor (Shishir Sharma) treats him like a laboratory rat and tells his subordinates — Parineeti (Tanya Hope) and Phalguna (Vennela Kishore) — to not help him get his memories back. While the ‘subject’ struggles to recollect his memories and tries to break away, he is attacked by a group of goons, who, as it turns out, work for a gangster Burma Sethu (Bobby Simha). This situation throws up a revelation the ‘subject’ had no idea about. What follows is a series of 'twists' we've come to expect from director Vi Anand.
Disco Raja is a classic example of a promising premise that doesn’t fully translate into a compelling film. Despite some stray moments of wit, the absence of any real dramatic conflict in the first hour makes you feel tired and bored. And you find yourself wishing for the interval card to arrive fast to know the real twist in the tale. The director has tried to set the stage for a promising thriller but failed — especially in the second hour — to deliver any edge-of-the-seat moments.
Post intermission, the film falls into a predictable mess and you see the twists from a mile away. The retro sequence involving Payal Rajput comes off half-baked as her character lacks the depth and fails to evoke any emotion. The climax scene, filmed in the cold chamber, seems hurried and feels cliched. There are some over-familiar sequences of inter-gang rivalry too.
Still, the film isn’t all bad as there are some portions that are watchable. The characters of Ravi Teja and Burma Sethu play off nicely against each other and their scenes — particularly the chicken biryani sequence — work well.
Ravi Teja delivers a fairly robust performance in a character that fights with a dilemma, loss, and revenge. He is ably supported by Vennela Kishore as a doctor, who is impatiently waiting to know what happened in his patient’s life. Bobby Simha breathes life into the menacing character of Burma Sethu.
After portraying a lovable character in her last outing, iSmart Shankar, one of the female leads of the film, Nabha Natesh has been relegated to the sidelines, as if she is a supporting character. Payal Rajput too doesn’t get a worthwhile arc. Sunil, meanwhile, gets a solid role but is never entirely convincing and fails to give an authentic portrayal in the second hour.
The film benefits from Karthik Gattamneni’s avant-garde camera work and SS Thaman’s booming background score which tries to create the drama that the script fails to.
With a run-time of nearly 150-minutes, Disco Raja is a film that hardly entertains. As you leave the theatre, you can't help missing the real sense of fun and thrills that Vi Anand's films delivered in the past.