Gully Rowdy Movie Review: A forgettable, even if harmless, crime-comedy
The fun ideas in G Nageswara Reddy’s family-comedy-meets-crime-thriller never see fruition
While watching Vivaha Bhojanambu a few weeks ago, I wondered what Sundeep Kishan’s business was in the film in which he appeared in an extended cameo that protrudes the film’s core storyline. Sadly, while watching Gully Rowdy too—where Sundeep plays the titular role—I felt the same. While his character arc stuck out like a sore thumb in Vivaha Bhojanambu, Sundeep’s protagonist feels lost in the joyless pandemonium Gully Rowdy is and his storyline gives the impression of a subplot shoehorned into the screenplay. The absence of a strong protagonist to invest in is perhaps the weakest link in this family-comedy-meets-crime-
Directed by: G Nageswara Reddy
Starring: Sundeep Kishan, Rajendra Prasad, Neha Shetty
Equipped with an able story from Bhanu Bogavarapu, the G Nageswara Reddy directorial has ample space for quirky humour but fails to tap its full potential. Instead, the film settles for meagre, lazy jokes that we have all seen with stoic faces a million times.
The ever-reliable Rajendra Prasad plays Pattapagalu Venkat Rao, a middle-class head constable (imagine a funnier iteration of Rao Ramesh’s character from Bharath Ane Nenu or simply, Rajendra Prasad’s own portrayal in Julayi); he is the closest character the film has to a hero, despite the lack of ‘masala’ flourishes that come along Sundeep’s way.
When Bhairagi Naidu (Mime Gopi playing Mime Gopi), the local bigshot occupies a piece of land belonging to Venkat Rao, the helpless cop relents to take part in a crime his family of oddballs orchestrates. As expected, the plan fails to take off and the family finds itself amidst a much bigger conundrum. It’s a Drishyam-meets-Kolamavu Kokila kind of premise and you may wonder where Sundeep’s Gully Rowdy fits into this wacky premise about a family trying to find their way out of a crime they are inadvertently pulled into. Spoiler alert: he doesn’t. Vasu, at best, feels like a glorified Yogi Babu from Kolamavu Kokila.
Gully Rowdy has two interesting plots at its centre; one, Vasu, who hails from a family of rowdies (Rowdy Parambarai?), is trained against his will all his life to be a ruffian by his grandfather (Nagineedu), but finally becomes one, only to help the love of his life, Sahithya (Neha Shetty), Venkat Rao's daughter. Second, Venkat Rao and his family pulling off a heist. Sahithya is the tissue connecting these plots and the film expects us to believe that both the stories are equally important. One more spoiler: the family's track takes the center stage and rightfully so. In fact, Vasu goes missing for long stretches in the film.
However, the family’s crime angle has some fun to offer, especially after a threatening police officer (Simha) enters the scene. The humour, though, plods on tried and tested lines with hardly any inventive gag or, say, a laugh-out-loud moment; imagine the mediocrity of humour even when a competent comic like Vennela Kishore barely manages to evoke a smile.
The writing is content with throwing measured and predictable blague at us. Posani Krishna Murali is beaten by a gang of youngsters, Venkat Rao insulting his elderly mother is a running gag and there is also a neighbour who keeps requesting household groceries. This should paint a picture of the film’s humour.
Gully Rowdy is far from a temper-testing watch, but it has little novelty to offer. Despite having a couple of interesting ideas at its disposal, the film fails to collate them into a coherent and, more importantly, funny outing.