February 25th, 2022
Finally after a gap of almost 2 years in production Pawan Kalyan's Bheemla Naayak is finally seeing the light of day today. The official Telugu remake of Malayalam blockbuster Ayyappanum Koshiyum, it features Rana Daggubati as Daniel Shekar and also has Nithya Menon, Samyuktha Menon (no relation to Nithya), Samuthirakani, Murali Sharma, Raghu Babu and Rao Ramesh in other roles. Directed by Appatlo Okadundevadu fame Saagar K Chandra, the film was adapted to Telugu nativity by Trivikram Srinivas who provided the screenplay and dialogues. The technical team includes renowed cinematographer Ravi K Chandran, Production Designer AS Prakash, Editor Naveen Nooli and music by the man of the moment Thaman S. With immense hype and euphoria surrounding the film, can Bheemla Naayak finally be a worthy remake in Telugu cinema after the OTT revolution where the original films are widely viewed to begin with? Let's find out in today's review.
Bheemla Naayak (Pawan Kalyan) and Daniel Shekar (Rana Daggubati) clash in a war of ego's where both men try to prove who the superior man is.
Pawan Kalyan is exceptional as Bheemla Nayak and delivers one of his career best performances. Pawan Kalyan has always been known for his energy and fantastic screen presence and both are on full display in Bheemla Naayak. His trademark swagger is evident in each and every frame whether it's playfully teasing his wife, spewing fire with Rana, or putting his job on the line. There are loads of elevation shots and Pawan Kalyan's screen presence and dialogue delivery add to the goosebump inducing moments. As always he is amazing in the action sequences and confrontation scenes. Bheemla Nayak is the type of movie PK needs going forward as it plays to his strenghts and works with a solid script and great direction as well. No more Sardaar, Katamarayudu, Agnythavaasi or Vakeel Saab please. From a film and performance standpoint, Bheemla Nayak is easily his best film since Attariniki Daredi and it's nice to see the Powerstar have a solid entertainer after a long gap and bring back that energy we have been missing all these years. It's a feast for Pawan Kalyan fans from start to finish seeing their matinee idol breathe fire as the title character.
Rana Daggubati might have delivered his career best performance as Daniel Shekar. The character gives an actor so much to work and with an actor of Rana's caliber, he just effortlessly slips into the character and owns it. The arrogance and negativity associated with the character is perfectly played and you always know somebody is doing a good job when you hate their character so much but respect the actor performing. Having a stunning screen presence and bass voice himself, Rana manages to hold his own against Pawan Kalyan in the confrontation scenes and at times steals the scene with his performance. He is a perfect foil for Bheemla Nayak and Rana just absolutely kills it in the film. Please give this man more negative characters because he is so entertaining when they're done properly.
Nithya Menon as Sugana Nayak is superb. As she says in the trailer, she's not just Nayak's better half but a strength for him. It's pefectly put. She has a solid role and the multi talented actress does a great job. Samyuktha Menon makes a great debut and shines in all her scenes. Her performance in the climax is amazing. She has a bright future and hope to see her more in Telugu cinema.
Samuthirakani and Murali Sharma are reliable as ever while Rao Ramesh gets an entertaining role and Shatru gets a fun role as a joke cracking sidekick for Rao Ramesh. Raghubabu as Danny's driver is brief and nice to see hm back in a big film after a long gap. All the others actors perform well and Bheemla Nayak is one such film where everybody is perfectly cast and abtly given scope for performance.
It's quite tough to tell who deserves the credit whenever director Trivikram Srinivas's name is associated with any project. The director's shadow always looms large due to his superstardom as one of the top 3 directors in Telugu cinema and his influence on modern Telugu cinema in general. On paper the director of the movie is Saagar K Chandra so we will analyze the direction and adapted screenplay in this section. Direction by Saagar K Chandra is perfect. The direction is intense and moves at a very good oace the entire time with no minimal lag in the screeplay. While the first half is relatively slow, the movie really gets going in the 2nd half with a lot of goosebump moments and action sequences. The direction never falters at any points and just sticks to the point the entire time. Saagar K Chandra crafts another intense entertainer that he's known for and will surely get more big offers after this movie. He's done a superb job.
Screenplay and Dialogues by Trivikram is masterful to be honest. The superstar director knows how to adapt remakes very well (see Nuvve Kavali) and while he was relatively inexperienced then, 20 years later he understands what it takes to make a good film and he did not disappoint. The adapted screenplay is supremely entertaining and offers very little boring moments. The changes he made were perfect and cut out a lot of the fluff and lag in the original. The flashback is perhaps the masterstroke of the movie and connects it the climax brilliantly. He knows how to use Pawan Kalyan the best (except Agnythaavasi of course) and it's almost the director wrote this film to make amends for that travesty. His trademark dialogues are always a delight to listen to and they're excellent. The shorter runtime was also a great decision and helps the movie a lot. Overall, Trivikram's involvement for the project was the biggest boon to the project and his inputs lead to the result of a very entertaining remake. Full credit to Trivikram and Saagar K Chandra for the film.
Songs and BGM by Thaman are MASSSSSSS RA AYYYYYAAAAAA. The superstar music director is in the form of his life and perhaps he's the real hero of the movie. The score of the movie is WORLD CLASS. Thaman elevates each and every scene to perfection and his score reverberates your seat through the screen in almost every scene. Even the most basic scene gives you goosebumps and special mention to the flashback episodes as it's unlimited goosbumps guaranteed. Rana's special theme after walking in the forest, the end credits theme, and the climax are all superbly orchestrated and composed. Thaman's god like form continues and Bheemla Naayak is a mass feast of an experience due to his score. The songs are decent on screen. Bheemla Nayak title song is disappointing while all the other songs are used as montage songs. La La Bheemla is the pick of the lot as it gives goosebumps as well.
Cinematography by Ravi K Chandran is fabulous. The renowed cinematographer weaves his magic into each and every frame. He effectively captures the rustic forest atmosphere the film is set in and the visuals are pleasing to the eyes throughout. Special mention needs to be made for the flashback episode as it's literally shot as if God himself had a camera. Goosebumps guaranteed. That was some KGF level stuff and reminds of a classic Clint Eastwood western drama with such stunning cinematography. Hope to see more of your work in Telugu sir.
Production Design by the master AS Prakash is WORLD CLASS as usual. All of the house sets and community villages designed compliment the film's setting perfectly. The flashback set is also brilliantly designed. Prakash garu once again outdoes himself with such amazing work.
Editing by Naveen Nooli perfect. Fights by Vijay master are very good. The pick of the lot would be the flashback fight. It's gorgeously choreographed and brilliantly executed. All the other fights in the film are fantastic as well.
Production Values by Sithara Entertainments are MAGNICIFICENT. Naga Vamsi was trolled a lot pre release but he proved his judgement when it comes to cinema rarely disappoints. He promised a mass feast and he delivered. By hiring the best techncial team and roping in Trivikram, Naga Vamsi and Sithara once again prove why they're one of the best production houses in Telugu cinema.
+ Pawan Kalyan
+ Trivikram's Writing and Saagar K Chandra's Direction
+ Production Design, Cinematography, Editing
+ Thaman's BGM
- Slow First 20 mins and 1st half
- Some boring scenes but 1 or 2 at most.
With the emergence of OTT platforms and readily available content at the flip of a button, it's a well known fact that audiences are consuming literally everything ranging from Indian content to Korean content to American to etc. The OTT revolution has caused a huge disruption in the way content is viewed and the audience themselves have become smarter and more aware as a result. With so many films being remade across India, naturally the OTT skewing audience cover the original first to see what the curiosity is about or how this film will translate into their industry. One such film was Ayyappanum Koshiyum, the Malayalam drama starring Biju Menon and Prithviraj Sukumaran based on the concept of ego clash. Running at nearly 3 hours, the film became a blockbuster in Malayalam but there was a lot of fluff involved in the original but has a lot of subtle mass moments and potential to be tapped into.
Seeing this, producer Naga Vamsi called Trivikram to watch the film as Naga Vamsi was going to buy the remake rights. After a viewing, Trivkram told him to buy the remake rights. naturally the curiosity spread through the Telugu filmdom universe after learning that the film was going to be remade with Pawan Kalyan. The question would be how would they be able to keep the soul of the original in tact while keeping an equal balance with two stars. Telugu cinema is well known for 'Masalafying' remakes and Bheema Nayak is no different. And it works like a charm. Bheemla Nayak is simply fire from start to finish.
The movie starts off like a scene to scene, line to line rehash of the original but after a point you forget you're watching a remake as the screenplay settles in and just absorbs you into the narrative and keeps you engaged. The first half plays out much like the original but the addition of Nithya Menon's character along with Rao Ramesh offers a lot of variety to the proceedings. The interval fight and bang are firecrackers and the film really comes into it's own in the 2nd half when Bheemla takes charge and really get's into Danny's skin. The flashback episode as mentione before is UNLIMITED goosebumps with god like direction and cinematography and reminds of KGF and other visually stunning Hollywood masterpieces. It's simply next level. The climax also connects to the flashback and is brilliantly done with a nice twist.
It's a treat to watch Pawan Kalyan and Rana in the same frame and breathe life and fire into these characters and they've outdone themselves. Trivikram's changes to the script and adaptation to Telugu audience proves to be the biggest masterstroke for the film and Saagar K Chandra ably supports him with his intense and watertight direction. Thaman's BGM is perhaps the real hero of the film and AS Prakash's sets along with Ravi K Chandran's visuals are added bonuses in already well made film. After a long gap, a film that checks all the boxes in being well directed, acted and technically sound.
Overall, Bheemla Nayak is a very entertaining mass remake that outshines the original Ayyappanum Koshiyum. Pawan Kalyan's performance along with Rana make this remake very well worth watching along with Trivikram's changes that are perfectly adapted to suit the audiences tastes. Pawan Kalyan finally has a winner in hand after a long gap of 9 years and this film will entertain fans and the general audience alike. Just two months into 2022, we might have a candidate for one of the movies of the year. Go for it!!!!
Signing off -
Teja Rao - Die hard Telugu Cinema fan.