In the early 20th century, Stuart Puram, a small settlement colony nestled between the districts of Guntur and Prakasam in Andhra Pradesh, became a significant chapter in the annals of history. Established by British officer Harold Stuart in 1913, this colony was home to families belonging to a tribe that had been branded as criminals by the British Government. Stuart Puram remained notorious for its criminal activities, and one name stood out in infamy – Nageswara Rao. This is the backdrop for Ravi Teja’s film, “Tiger Nageswara Rao,” which loosely draws from the true events that unfolded in this intriguing region.
Challenging Narrative Choices and Gender Stereotypes in Tiger Nageswara Rao
The movie unfolds in two distinct halves, each shedding light on a different facet of Nageswara Rao’s story. The first half delves into establishing the legend of Nageswara Rao through a series of daring robberies. However, it’s not without controversy, as the film initially presents some gory and morally troubling acts that might challenge the audience’s trust in the protagonist, played by Ravi Teja. These acts are later revealed to be misconceptions, much like many other fabricated tales surrounding Nageswara Rao. This narrative choice raises the question of why the audience’s trust is tested in the first place, only to reveal him as a misunderstood messiah who sacrificed his life for the betterment of his people.
The movie also delves into the portrayal of women, often stereotyped and subjected to negative treatment to establish the ‘macho identity’ of the hero, a recurring theme in Telugu cinema. For instance, there’s a scene where Teja’s character kicks a woman in the stomach in front of a court of law in broad daylight. Though this is later strongly denied as a misconception, it leaves a lingering unease. The necessity of using such actions to shape the hero’s identity is a point of concern.
Mixed Elements in ‘Tiger Nageswara Rao’: Impressive Heist Sequences and Performances
Despite these controversial elements, “Tiger Nageswara Rao” does feature some impressive robbery scenes, including one set on a running train, offering thrilling viewing experiences. However, the character development of Ravi Teja’s role is somewhat limited, as he is portrayed as a ‘child prodigy’ who embarked on his ‘leela’ at the tender age of 8.
The portrayal of female characters in the movie, such as Nupur Sanon’s Sara and Gayatri Bharadwaj’s Mani, has faced criticism for being cheap and vulgar. These portrayals contribute to a wider discourse on the treatment of women in cinema.
The film does boast strong performances by its cast, with Jisshu Sengupta convincingly portraying a vile and corrupt police officer. Anupam Kher’s portrayal of an officer from the PMO is commendable, and his Telugu dubbing adds to his performance. Hareesh Peradi, Nasser, and Renu Desai also seamlessly fit into their respective roles.
Artistic Excellence and Missed Societal Exploration in ‘Tiger Nageswara Rao’
The movie’s production elements deserve recognition, with art direction capturing the essence of the period effectively. Madhie’s cinematography employs subtle color patterns to transport the audience to the 1960s-1980s era. GV Prakash Kumar’s musical score complements the commercial template of the film. However, it’s notable that the film misses the opportunity to explore the social issues related to the region’s forgotten history, particularly the Criminal Tribes Act of the British Government, which is never mentioned in the entire film.
In conclusion, “Tiger Nageswara Rao” aspires to be a grand narrative, but it seems to lack a clear focus on its underlying themes and social issues. While it attempts to break and reshape the audience’s perception of the central character, the approach raises questions about the necessity of certain controversial elements. Ultimately, the film struggles to convince and leaves room for improvement in its storytelling and character development.