Rana_Naidu_Series_ReviewBOTTOM LINE
Watchable Show, With an Overload of Sex and Cuss

OUR RATING
2.5/5

PLATFORM
Netflix

Caution: Overload of cuss words, sexual innuendo, sex scenes


What Is the Film About?
Netflix’s latest Indian Original series ‘Rana Naidu’ is the official Indian remake of Showtime’s hit show ‘Ray Donovan’.

Rana Naidu (Rana Daggubati) is a high-flying fixer for the rich and famous in Mumbai. But while he cleans up the mess for celebs, his own family is a mess, mostly because of the questionable past of his father Naga (Venkatesh). Rana tries to fix things for his brothers Tej (Sushant Singh) and Jaffa (Abhishek Banerjee), and his wife Naina (Surveen Chawla) and kids, but things only go downhill.

Rana Naidu is created by Karan Anshuman, written by Karmanya Ahuja, Anany Mody, B. V. S. Ravi, Vaibhav Vishal and Karan Anshuman, and co-directed by Suparn Varma and Karan Anshuman.

Performances
Rana Daggubati grabs eyeballs in the powerful, author-backed role of a fixer. He’s simply outstanding in the role, and you just can’t tear your eyes away from him whenever he’s in the frame. Venkatesh matches Rana Daggubati in every sphere, even going one step beyond, with delightfully wicked humour giving a sheen to his performance.

Sushant Singh, Abhishek Banerjee and Surveen Chawla lend superb support in roles tailor-made to leverage their unique strengths. Gaurav Chopra, as Bollywood star Prince, Ashish Vidyarthi as the quintessential don Surya, Rajesh Jais as wily politician OB, are well-cast in their respective roles.

Two standout characters in Rana Naidu are Lara (Lauren Robinson) and Srini (Adithya Menon), underlings to Rana Naidu, who do most of the fixing for the master fixer. The rest of the cast is adequate.


Analysis
Rana Naidu starts off in blistering fashion, with a gripping first episode that unfolds at breakneck speed. The pace drops from the second episode onwards, struggling to maintain the taut and tightly-coiled nature of the first episode that holds the viewer in its unrelenting grasp.

As the plot thickens, we are drawn deeper and deeper into the narrative. The tone and tenor of the story get bleaker with every episode. The air gets increasingly heavy with drama, and most of the scenes are shot with a grim darkness hovering on the fringes. But Naga Naidu’s unique brand of slapstick humour lightens the grim tone each time it gets too heavy for comfort.

The storytelling is slick and sharp throughout. But amidst all the slickness, one element in the series keeps niggling the mind – there’s too much happening in the story, with nothing really happening most of the time. Subplots build up to pressure-cooker levels, only to end rather tamely each time. The honest CBI officer track, featuring actor Mukul Chadha, is one such subplot.

Also, most of the subplots just serve to drag down the story, and are simply not needed. Rehan’s track, for instance, seems out of place in the story. Same goes for the starlet’s subplot, played by Priya Banerjee in the series. And mind you, there are several more, rather uninteresting ones. All of it just seems like a waste of time, efforts, and celluloid, not to say, needlessly adds to the runtime. At ten episodes, 45-50 minutes each, Rana Naidu is anyways tediously long. Chopping off the redundant bits would definitely serve to keep the narrative crisp and taut.

While it’s true that the aforementioned subplots are a part of the original Ray Donovan series, it beggars the question whether the remake really needed to incorporate all the subplots. The makers mustn’t forget that the original show was broadcast one episode per week, thereby needing the subplots to keep up audience interest. The same subplots prove to be a drag in the remake, given that it follows the binge-watching trend of today. To put it bluntly, there are one too many dispensable subplots in Rana Naidu, which, ideally, should have been mercilessly chopped off.

The other thing that rankles — quite a bit — is the foul, expletives-laden language used in the series, as also the needless sex scenes. Do the rich and famous in Mumbai really use such colourful language in real life? We don’t think so. Also, we all know that sex scenes in Indian content are the height of cringe. Will the day ever come when Indian content creators will produce visually-pleasing sex scenes in our films and shows? Maybe, maybe not. But until then, how about desisting from showing loud, sloppy, awkward copulation on our screens, pretty please?

That being said, Rana Naidu is watchable only for Venkatesh and Rana Daggubati’s sizzling chemistry. Both stars hold the series together with admirable ease, carrying it through to the end on their capable shoulders.

To sum it up, Rana Naidu is a largely watchable series, with a few chinks in its armour. If the series is renewed for Season 2, which we suspect it will be, the writers must work on keeping the story crisp and devoid of redundant tracks.


Music and Other Departments?
John Stewart Eduri’s background music is peppy and evocative. It helps in keeping the tempo of the storytelling high. Cinematographer Jayakrishna Gummadi’s camera captures the sights and sounds of Mumbai well, perfectly bringing out the essence of the story. Ninad Khanolkar’s editing could have been crisper.


Highlights?
Venkatesh
Rana Daggubati

Drawbacks?
Too long, tediously so
Too many needless subplots
Too much sex and expletives


Did I Enjoy It?
Yes, but with reservations

Will You Recommend It?
Yes, only for Venkatesh and Rana Daggubati

Rana Naidu Web Series Review by M9News