Well, we all know what this quarterly ritual of unleashing Tamil and Kannada blockbusters in town has come to mean - 3 guaranteed hours of all-consuming boredom every 3 months. And this season, Rangam takes upon itself the task of living up to what 99% of its predecessors did.
Rangam is basically an over-simplified us vs them story involving politicians and the rest of us. Jeeva stars as Ashwath, a spunky press photographer who fits the usual hero's character template of helping the police nab notorious robbers, etc.
In the local political cesspool are the evil yet seasoned Kondalrayudu (Kota Srinivasa Rao), the tough-talking CM (Prakash Raj) and the aspiring youth politician Vasanth (Ajmal). For the upcoming elections, while Kondalrayudu's men zoom up on the approval ratings among the masses thanks to their free flow of money, Vasanth's rousing speeches on "youth power" have no takers.
The obstacles in Vasanth's rise to power, and Ashwath's role in his ascent are what the movie is all about. Ashwath's colleague Renuka (Kartika) also plays her part in uncovering some political muck.
There indeed are reasons Rangam is a hit in the land of its release. The star power, the good-looking presentation, slick editing and the performances come together in creating a rather energetic film. Also, the action sequences are quite nicely done.
While Jeeva seems every bit as resourceful and full of life as the enterprising journalist he plays, and Kartika does well in her limited list of specifications she's given, the two aren't enough to make the script appealing. At least not in this part of the country, where they aren't even stars, leave alone being bankable.
The plot is dressed up to be a thrilling crime suspense, but ends up being too preposterous. For instance, the clues that Ashwath puts together to nab the perpetrator of a high-profile bomb blast are far-fetched, to say the least. So is Renuka's "astonishing" discovery of Ashwath's past - which she stumbles upon by piecing together 2 totally random pictures from random places. Also, there's a romantic track that lacks fizz.
And then there's the question of length. Rangam indulges in l-o-o-o-ng sequences of situations that are totally uninteresting in the first place. The fight with the terrorist gang in the end is a case in point - the scene stretches to way beyond the limit legally permitted to be shown to audiences without mortally wounding them.
Kota Srinivasa Rao essays a humdrum part, but seems as enthused about it as he always is. Ajmal has screen presence, and Piaa Bajpai makes a great impression with her limited role. Prakash Raj plays a character that has no logical ending.
Meanwhile, Harris Jayraj's tunes are pretty good, and the song with all the celebrities is a treat for the star-gazers.
Let's just put it this way - leave this film alone and it will leave you alone.