In his decade-and-a-half career as lead actor, Allu Arjun has chosen mostly good roles to suit his star image. He comes from a family of actors and filmmakers. Certainly, the knowledge he’s received within the four walls of his home has worked in his favor.
I’d rank his role from his latest, Naa Peru Surya, amongst his most interesting ones, though it presents abundant flaws.
The title isn’t just Naa Peru Surya (My Name Is Surya). It has Naa Illu India (it literally translates to – My House Is India) as the tagline. Surya is the sort of guy who’d bash you up in a movie theatre for not standing up during the National Anthem. He’d also unhesitatingly tear down the screen, vandalise the property, and walk away without apologising to the patrons. Or, he may simply light up a cigar in the movie hall.
You cannot guess his next move. He’ll leave you in tears of fear and anticipation. Surya doesn’t end his lines with the phrase “Jai Hind,” the way Pawan Kalyan does every time on stage; however, he sincerely feels that he’s always right. That kind of untethered audacity can be harmful.
His symbolic patriotism – saluting the flag, preaching about oneness – is birthed in the love for his country. The introductory song, “Sainika,” is more than enough to take you through the journey of a soldier’s life.
Allu Arjun definitely looks the part in the movie. His crew cut isn’t an ornamental factor; it goes with the mood and theme of director Vakkantham Vamsi’s vision. I can’t think of another Telugu film actor who can pull off that look. The Stylish Star tag is surely a deserved one. He plays Surya with an Angry Young Man (AYM) kind of fire in him.
Vamsi’s AYM has a twin in the South Indian film industry. If you go back a year, you can find him in Kaatru Veliyidai. KV’s Varun Chakrapani (Karthi) also served in the armed forces. And then, a thought steeps in. Have filmmakers started equating pride and anger with the defenders of our nation?
Varun, like Surya, cannot control his anger. He says (and does) things that cannot be unsaid (or undone), and regrets later. He pushes his ladylove around and treats her awfully. The same adjectives can be used to describe Surya, too. In fact, Surya goes a step ahead. If VC is satisfied with questioning Leela Abraham’s (Aditi Rao Hydari) parents, Surya doesn’t mind slapping his girlfriend’s (played by Anu Emmanuel) uncle in a fit of rage.
Naa Peru Surya also lacks finesse in handling Muslim characters. Surya shoots a Pakistani terrorist in the first few scenes, and, after an hour-and-a-half, lectures about how the sentiments of minorities towards India are affected because of the way they are treated.
The intention behind Surya’s powerful dialogues is, perhaps, to show how Muslims are lured towards the dark side of the underworld, but it doesn’t come off as a convincing sub-story. Vamsi must have picked up a few stray examples from newspapers and magazines for this thread of his directorial debut. Its ineffectiveness is one of the major reasons for the film diving South.
Likewise, Anu Emmanuel’s forced entry into the proceedings in the latter half does not steer the movie in the right direction. When Surya begins to narrate his love story to Ramakrishna Raju (Arjun Sarja), you can see the faint promise of a well-written character. Alas, that goes away when she’s re-introduced in a comedy scene.
Vamsi’s “content-driven film” has some superb stunt choreography and a fantastic performer in the lead. Had the script provided an anchor to Allu Arjun, it would have ended up as a much better entertainer.
The Naa Peru Surya review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.