Review: Whenever there’s a remake announced and Pawan Kalyan headlines it, you know the original will not just be remade but will be adapted to ensure his fans remain happy. So if the original is a drama about two men’s bid to show up each other with class and caste disparity making for an imbalanced power dynamic, the remake will have ample fight scenes, massy moments and a touch of the actor’s political ideology thrown in. While sometimes such films work and other times they don’t, Saagar K Chandra’s adaptation of Ayyappanum Koshiyum, with screenplay and dialogues by Trivikram Srinivas, definitely works for the most part.
Sarhad Bheemla Nayak (Pawan Kalyan) is a sub-inspector at Srisailam tehsil in Andhra Pradesh. He belongs to the tribal hamlet and has a haunting past. Daniel Sekhar (Rana Daggubati) is an egoistic son of an ex MP (Samuthirakani) who gets caught with bringing in liquor bottles illegally from Telangana to Andhra Pradesh. The former is a stickler for rules; he will fulfil his duty at any cost. So when Sekhar gets physical with one of the constables, Bheemla drags him to the police station. Humour soon kicks in and racy dialogues make it entertaining. Bheemla’s wife Suguna (Nithya Menen) is a firebrand too who adds salt to the wound. Saagar does a good job of tweaking her character to suit this adaptation.
Soon there’s a cold war raging between Sekhar and Bheemla, with the former deciding to humiliate the latter. The transformation of the latter from a strict police officer to a complete mass role is the highlight of this adaptation. It is indeed a treat for Pawan’s fans, who haven’t seen their favourite hero in such a role for a while now. But Trivikram’s politically charged dialogues seem unnecessary, even if fans seem to enjoy them.
Once Bheemla unleashes the wild animal in him, things get bad for Sekhar and soon Suguna is also involved in the face-off. A lodge scene fight is well-choreographed and it’s not just a whistle worthy moment for fans, but for everyone. The film however soon loses pace; an unnecessary flashback seems to be there just to show off another well-choreographed fight scene – when there are already too many of them to begin with. The tribal hamlets from the interiors of Nallamalla are well-depicted but one questions the political intentions behind them, given who’s headlining this show. The climax also could’ve been dealt with better because after a film full of mass scenes, the pale ending seems unjustified. The emotional scenes in the film are definitely lazily written.
Bheemla Nayak is an example of what makes Pawan Kalyan such a huge star – his trademark antics are on full display in the film and his simple dance steps are endearing. Rana Daggubati is top notch and this film is proof of how well he can act. Nithya Menen is decent in her role but it’s Samyuktha Menon who delivers a mature performance that’ll bag her numerous roles in the future. Thaman also deserves a shout out for keeping his promise and delivering a score that’ll stay with you. The folk songs he composed for Bheemla help drive emotion and he makes full use of singers like kinnera artist Darshanam Mogilaiah and Kummari Durgavva.
With all said and done, it feels unfair to compare Bheemla Nayak to Ayyappanum Koshiyum. The makers keep only the bare skeleton intact, fleshing out the rest of the film to suit the star power. If the original is a film driven by its story, this Telugu adaptation is driven solely by the stars. And that means, the makers do their best to sugar coat the economic and caste disparity that existed between the lead characters in the original. Any mention of communism is also done away with and anything remotely political seems only driven by agenda.
Fans of Ayyappanum Koshiyum can’t go into Bheemla Nayak expecting a remake that stays true to the original in ways that matter. But at the end of it all, this is definitely a film that will entertain, irrespective of whether you’re Pawan and Rana’s fan or not.