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Ruler Review

Chaitanya Karthik /
Can watch again
Good for kids
Good for dates
Wait to rent it
He dives from the sky to save lives because he is Thor. He can turn bloodshot with rage and bellow the bad guys to death because he is Hulk. He can do some seriously insane stunts because he is Black Widow. He can shoot in random directions and still kill every bad guy because he is Hawkeye. He can do it all day because he is Captain America. Also, he is rich and still keeps saving lives all the time because he is Tony Stark.

He is Balakrishna (cue to screams of "Jai Balayya" now), the equivalent of all the original Avengers combined, and the man who has dedicated himself to saving the lives of everyone - except the audiences.

There is something about Balakrishna's movies of late that beckons your amusement. You have too many spots where you just want to blurt out in laughter, but you don't do it because whatever you find funny wasn't intended to be funny. And whatever was intended to be funny never manages to tickle your funny bone. It feels like our dear Balayya has created some kind of an image of himself inside his head (a saviour of the underprivileged from a bad guy) and decides to do the same role over and over. Either you have two Balayyas (one of them will die), or only one Balayya who is driven to a near-death situation after which he returns with a new wig.

In case of Ruler, it's the latter. Sarojini Naidu (Jayasudha) saves Dharma (Balakrishna), who is driven to a near-death situation. She adopts him and names him after her dead son, Arjun Prasad. Balakrishna doesn't feel bad about the name change because he has memory loss now. Sarojini makes him the chairman of her company, and you have the "Balakrishna becomes Nandamuri Tony Stark" transformation.

He goes to the US, and there enters Harika (Sonal Chauhan), who is the CEO of Arjun's rival company and wants to be the numero uno in the market. One way of doing it is getting the project file stored in Arjun's laptop. And what is her plan? Hire three horny hackers who can get the job done. Of course, nobody can hack Balayya's laptop except himself. And the whole sequence is so cringeworthy that it makes you question yourself for watching Ruler.

Anyway, you are soon introduced to a UP Project File, that leads you to Dharma, the Balakrishna before he was Nandamuri Tony Stark. What follow are things you've seen countless times and countless reasons for you to stop watching Balakrishna movies.

Ruler feels like Balakrishna and his directors now make movies to offend our sensibilities. While logic was never really Balakrishna's forte, some of his larger than life performances endeared him to many people. His performances recently have however been nothing but stale. And the wigs he uses are worse than the stories he selects - there is a scene in the flashback where the goons are bashing him up, and you half-suspect it must be because they are pissed off by his wig. Whatever it is, this is not a performance anyone is going to remember.

What is Sonal Chauhan up to these days - apart from suddenly showing up in a Balakrishna movie, dancing in a couple of songs, falling in love with whichever character Balakrishna plays, and then silently disappearing because she understands how inconsequential her character is, that is? Vedhika too has such a shallow character - she asks Dharma if her figure is okay, and tells him that if he feels any part in her body is not in the right proportion, she is going to get plastic surgery done. Please kill us already.

The rest of the characters - Bhumika, Prakash Raj and others - look like they have taken up the "try not to laugh while shooting scenes" challenge, and really have nothing much to do except for being saved by Balayya.

But hey, who doesn't want to be saved by Balayya? Only the audience watching his movies. Because they don't want to be saved by him - they want to be saved from him. We're sure Balakrishna's favourite command is Ctrl+S because he loves saving, and his directors' is Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V because they keep churning out the same old crap nobody wants to watch anymore.

The only good thing about the movie is Balakrishna dancing, even if you can't help but laugh at it. Kudos to the man for at least attempting to do so at his age. If only he put that kind of diligence into selecting scripts as well.
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