PUSHPA: THE RISE Part 1 (Hindi)
Producer: Manish Shah
Cast: Allu Arjun, Rashmika Mandana, Fahaad Faasil, Rao Ramesh, Ajay Ghosh, Dhananjay, Ajay Ghosh and Anasuya Bharadwaj
Platform of Release: Theatrical
By Jyothi Venkatesh
Pushpa Raj (Allu Arjun) is one of the many workers in the dense jungles of Seshachalam who chop down red sandalwood illegally and sell it by the kilo to powers-that-be, who buy them dirt cheap and make crores of profits by selling them at steep price. In a syndicate that consists of numerous players, Pushpa slowly learns to find his footing and succeeds to rise in ranks till the man who becomes the one giving the orders.
However, his Achilles heel is not his lady love Srivalli (Rashmika Mandanna), or the big-wigs Konda Reddy (Ajay Ghosh), Jolly Reddy (Dhananjay), Mangalam Srinu (Sunil) and his wife Dakshayani (Anasuya Baradwaj). When he feels that he has settled down in life, in comes the Haryanvi spouting IPS Bhanwar Singh Shekhawat (Fahadh Faasil) who threatens to upset the carefully constructed order that Pushpa has put in place.
What makes you get engrossed with the three hour long first part of the franchise is the manner in which director Sukumar sets up Pushpa’s character for a whole film, spanning three hours, before getting into the thick of things, without making you yawn or look for the loo without boring you even for a minute.
You remain gawking when Allu Arjun is introduced with his heroics and smirk with him when he dances with his shoulders cooped up and you rejoice when he makes it out with his lady love or fights down his opponents. Allu Arjun scores throughout the film with his bearded looks and succeeds in projecting his own brand of arrogance. You laugh with him and you also weep with him when he is sad. In short, Allu Arjun makes his fine debut with panache as Pushparaj who rises to fame as a gang lord on his own terms and conditions.
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On the Rashmika Mandana just adds color to the sordid and violent drama and has her own moments and etches out a memorable character as the sultry Srivalli. Yet another femme fatale Samantha’s cameo in Oo Antava Oo Oo Antava elicits whistles, to no one’s surprise. Samantha ensnares you with her lean look and voluptuous body all through but by far the best role belongs after Allu Arjun to none other than Fahaad Faasil as Pushpa Raj’s arch enemy IPS Bhanwar Singh Shikhawat.
Also equally important in the film are the roles enacted off the camera by music director Devi Sri Prasad besides his BGM which blends well into the story. Cinematographer Mirosław Kuba Brożek and director Sukumar complement each other with their work. The face-off between Allu Arjun and Fahadh Faasil towards the end makes you wistfully wait for the second part of the marathon exercise that you watch in Hindi, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam.
To sum up, it is a film which I suggest you watch for the sake of its grandeur and build up. I am sure you would fall in love with Allu Arjun instantly, like I did.