An Uneven Political Drama
“UA” 2h 32m – Drama , Political Thriller
What Is the Film About?
Panja Abhiram aka Abhi (Sai Dharam Tej) is a super smart and honest kid who decides to enter the rotten political system and clean it from inside. He gets the opportunity and special powers as an IAS officer to do it.
Vishakha Vani (Ramya Krishna) is a Godmother figure with her son as the CM. Myra (Aishwarya Rajesh) is an NRI looking for her missing brother and the kids. How Abhiram, Vishakha Vani and Myra are politically interlinked? What are the challenges faced by Abhi in his work as an honest officer form the crux of the Republic.
Sai Dharam Tej started off playing mass roles at the beginning of his career. He then graduated to class love stories, which were mixed with his mass persona. With Republic, he is attempting something new and venturing into the heavy drama zone. The attempt, for sure, must be appreciated.
There are no punch dialogues, and funny quips, the character of Abhiram is as serious as it gets. Sai Dharam Tej puts in a sincere effort, no doubt, but one gets a feeling that more homework should have been done. All said and done, it will stand as a different character in his career. With a little more effort, it would have been a stand out one.
Deva Katta is back after a long gap with a new and original story. Barring the pandemic related issues, there has been no other problem with Republic.
The basic story of the Republic is about an honest IAS officer fighting the corrupt system. It is not a new premise and has been beaten to death across the decades. The difference is the presentation changes from time to time, and the writing along with it. We see that in parts, in Republic.
The entire first half feels like one elaborate set-up with different pieces put together to form a narrative. A feeling of a cohesive narrative is missing as a result.
Multiple characters pop up and do their bit and disappear. Some crucial roles are introduced as it is without much depth. They are supposed to be taken at face value. It is all fine as it allows in cutting down the predictable and opens up the space to show something more. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. But, more on that later.
The journey of the rise of Abhiram to power is intriguing despite the hiccups and lack of cohesiveness. ‘Intrigue’ is crucial here, as one hopes to witness a riveting drama unfold tying all the different threads. It makes the first half decent.
But, things take a predictable turn in the second half, and the hopes are dashed. It brings us to what we said above. Despite cutting short the critical character’s bio, what we still get is routine content. The core issue involving Myra and the pond is beaten to death. It is what we see in most of the movies centred on politics. Well, one could say that is what happens, but then again, there has to be a fresh perspective to make the ‘routine’ click, and that’s missing here.
Despite some well written, hard-hitting dialogues, one still gets a feeling of lack of clarity from the director. It is related to the story and the point he wants to convey. Is it the power politics (politicians versus bureaucrat), or is it the overwhelming corrupt system (the ending points at this) – multiple thoughts like this come to mind with the happenings on screen. And yet, at the same time, no new perspective is visible.
It is as if Deva Katta wants to convey a lot but is restricted due to the limits of cinema. One gets a feeling that so much has been trimmed (maybe on the paper itself) to come to its current form. Republic comprises of highlights of different issues plaguing the society. It doesn’t come together as a whole to deliver the punch narratively. So we have a few scenes and dialogues here and there that work and generate intrigue, but the sum of the parts is not equal to the whole.
Overall, Republic is an honestly made and well-intentioned political drama. It is, however, marred by a clichéd core story and uneven screenplay that fails to build any momentum. Give it is a try if you like to see a political drama, for a change, but have low expectations.
Republic has a big cast as far as known faces are considered. However, barring a few, none has significant roles. Even among those few, none have well-developed and rounded character arcs.
Aishwarya Rajesh is good, but there is nothing unexpected or surprising. It is on predictable lines, which is the same case with Jagapathi Babu. Both are adequate and do their parts clinically. Much was expected from Ramya Krishna and her role, but it failed to leave an impact. She is okay acting-wise, but character-wise, the graph is inconsistent. Rahul Ramakrishna does his part sincerely. Aamani, Subbaraju, and Posani Krishna Murali etc., are wasted.
Music and Other Departments?
Mani Sharma provides the music to Republic. It has a couple of punchy numbers audio-wise, but they don’t stick visually in the movie. He delivers with the background score, though. The cinematography by M Sukumar is alright. The visuals go well with the grimmer proceedings of the film. The editing by KL Praveen could have been better.
Routine Political Drama
There are three critical subplots in Republic. Focussing on only a couple of them and dealing with them would have made the narrative sharper and less uneven, thereby making a more engaging film.
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
With huge reservations
Republic Telugu Movie Review by Siddartha Toleti