Every time Upendra dons the lead role in a film, you expect his trademark quirkiness, and even lunacy at times. However, it's a totally different ball game when it comes to reprising a role originally enacted by Ravi Teja - there are very few actors around who can match Ravi Teja's antics and energy, and Upendra isn't one among them. At least if his acting in this one is anything to go by.
Rajini, starring Upendra and Aarthi Chabbria, is a remake of Ravi Teja's Krishna
. The film was been made in Kannada back in 2009, and has now been dubbed in Telugu. Watching the movie is like fiddling with a pirated version of an iPhone after having fallen in love with the original.
Upendra stars as Rajini, a happy-go-lucky guy who whiles away his time hanging out with his friends in Rajahmundry. One day he happens to see Sandhya (Aarti Chabbria), and instantly falls in love with her. In an attempt to woo her, he convinces his family to move to a new house, where Sandhya stays with her uncle named Baby.
Soon Sandhya leaves for Bangalore to stay with her brother Sharath, and Rajini follows her. Meanwhile, there's Jakka's gang that's searching for Sandhya. All hell breaks loose when they catch Sandhya and Rajini off-guard. How Rajini saves Sandhya from this problem forms the rest of the story.
Thriller Manju, who directed the film, ends up concentrating way more on the action sequences rather than on getting the actors' facial expressions right. We don't know how the Kannada audience reacted to the film, but Rajini is nowhere close to its original, despite being a frame-to-frame copy, with even the dialogues being the same. If bad acting is one reason the film fails to work, the bigger problem with the movie is how sluggish it is on the whole.
Upendra, who's usually quite reliable, sheds his quirkiness and opts to do an action role. There's nothing impressive about his acting or dialogues despite his role having an interesting characterization. Aarti Chabbria has hardly anything to do in the movie, but she's quite some eye-candy.
Among the supporting actors, the actor who reprised the part of Jayaprakash Reddy is the only one who stands out. Mukul Dev as Jakka maintains the same ferocity in his role. Rangayana Raghu plays a comic character as Baby, but his antics are no match for the hilarious ones by Brahmanandam in Krishna.
The music, by Hamsalekha, is pretty bland. R Janardhana Babu's cinematography is allright.
Strictly avoid this one - and if you want to see how this movie could have been, buy the DVD of Krishna.