Bheemla Nayak : Overburdened by God Syndrome
Bheemla Nayak Review.
Star Cast: Pawan Kalyan, Rana Daggubati, Nithya Menen, Samyuktha Menon, Rao Ramesh, Tanikella Bharini, and Samuthirakani
Music Composed by Thaman S
Edited by Naveen Nooli
Directed by Sagar K Chandra
Pawan Kalyan is a huge star in Telugu Cinema and one of the biggest Demigods on-screen that Indian Cinema has ever produced. This kind of image is not derived from his on-screen persona but off-screen character. He is the man who brought back “garu” and “Shri” words into our vocabulary when we are talking about others in general in public. He just reminded us “how to respect another person in Telugu way when bro culture is dominating”. He took issues that not many politicians are showing interest in as a politician and grew into a leader today. Had it just been an image developed due to his on-screen persona, then he would have remained a hero whose transition to action films cannot work if there are no martial arts, mannerisms in his stunts. He would have resorted to putting his hand on his shoulder and hitting thugs in MMA martial artist style even today. But his off-screen political agenda has seeped into his films and that is the major problem for Bheemlanayak.
Take Ayyappanum Koshiyum film. It is a commercial drama between two male egoists who don’t know when to draw the line. Ayyappan is okay with bowing his head down when he is just an SI but Moodar Madan, he is bloodthirsty if someone even dares to cross his path. Koshi is a drunkard, good for nothing, arrogant, damaged, spoilt brat who feels comfortable in showing his power. He feels wronged when he is arrested wearing his undies. Ayyappan asks him to be decent and Koshi rebukes him saying, “can you not handle a proper man”! See the contrast in characters. Now, by the end of the film, Ayyappan decides to drink Koshi’s blood as Moodar Madan is awoken in him and Koshi rather than pleading to him for his life, keeps up to Moodar Madan’s intensity, insanity but then looks to cage the animal awoken in his enemy by being a real man. The man who disrupted his life and became a cause for Ayyappan’s rage has returned that back to him with a promise to never intervene again. Ayyappan decides to start their journey afresh as friends, in a way thanking Koshi for giving him a chance to be the once-forgotten person again. He never wanted the beast to be awoken but the caged animal in him needed to vent out one last time and Koshi needed to unlearn what his father taught him about manhood. Even in a simple commercial film about two men going bull-headed at each other while locking horns, Malayalam writer Sachy managed to write the journey of two characters who seek to fight it out and learn important lessons from life. They cannot take it easy at all.
Everything has a flow. It all happens for a reason and in a progressive way. At every point, one man pushes the limit and the other man retaliates. The retaliation could have stopped after a point but both push it to a point of no return and still survive the onslaught. What about our Telugu celebrated writer’s version of the same story? He just wanted it to work out as an egoistic man coercing another man, who is so perfect that he is perceived as God by his village, into an extreme battle. The Malayalam version did not want a protagonist and an antagonist. It just wanted two powerful characters to be mad, and angry. Here, can God be antagonized? So, the silly man who cannot see for what kind of God he is dealing with and perceive the godly kindness he bestowed upon him by respecting him, is the antagonist. While his father, who needs to be taught a lesson is just warned once by God, other character traits that made Koshi an ill-tempered egoist are neither reformed nor cared upon in Daniel Shekar.
Like Martha’s (Batman Vs Superman) connection, here again, God and his promise become the only stopping point to end the brutal battle. What is the issue, if fans perceive their star hero as God then representing that same cannot be a crime? Rama is perceived as God and even Krishna is perceived as God, to an extent if someone even remotely suggests an idea to look at them as just good men or humans who triumphed against evil, then they will be harassed and abused for life. We love giving such status to humans because we find Demi-gods to worship everywhere. In a simple commercial format film like Akhanda‘s hero had to be equated to Shiva, the Lord.
Telugu Cinema suffers from God Syndrome. This is the final conclusion one can arrive at after watching Bheemla Nayak. Hero is God and antagonist is Devil God. The transformation and life lessons that became a part of a simple commercial format film narrative don’t find their way. Can you transform God? Can you tell God that he did a mistake by allowing an arrogant man to prevail in the first place by willfully obliging to bend law for him? Can you ask God to help Goddess learn from her mistakes and properly devote her blessings to humans living in forest village? Can you tell Devil God to give his ungodly father a tight slap and do something to transform him? Can you? Can you really? Try to do so, I dare you…
They need to be humans and not Gods to have a reasonable conflict. As a writer, Trivkram Srinivas is still good but his sense of story, character arcs, growth is going downhill. If he couldn’t identify the basic plot that worked in Ayyapanum Koshiyum and to satisfy his friend, Pawan Kalyan, if he made such changes that kill the entire meaning, then what can we say? He is another God, when it comes to writing. In Khaleja, he toyed with the idea of humans being perceived as God. Here, he made him one by making him Village deity, Kokkili Devara. What does he do? He saves three women & supports the oppressed. Yes, Vakeel Saab qualifies to be God, and Bheemlanayak is promoted to that status. Thaman gave his best and even recreated Khaleja in climax portions. Cinematography, production values are good too. Just to point out the positives as well as this could seem an essay about negatives. All we can do as humans is to hope that one day Gods give way to humans to be seen on screen. As they say, “Gods must be Crazy”, let’s hope and pray that they don’t turn us into crazy fools for worshipping them blindly.
Bheemla Nayak Review