Narthanasala - Movie Review

Thursday, August 30, 2018 - 13:00
Narthanasala (2018)
Cast & Crew: 

Film: @Narthanasala
Cast: Naga Shaurya, Kashmira Kulkarni, Yamini Bhaskar, Shivaji Raja, Jayaparakash Reddy, Satyam Rajesh, Ajay and others
Music: Mahati Swara Sagar
Editor: Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao & Tammi Raju
DoP: Vijay C Kumar
Art Director: Kiran Kumar Manne
Banner: IRA Creations
Producer: Usha Mulpuri
Written and Directed by: Srinivas Chakravarthi
Release date: August 30, 2018
CBFC Rating: UA

What’s it about!
Radha Krishna (Naga Shaurya) loves a girl named Manasa (Kashmira) but his father fixes his marriage with a girl named Satya Bhama (Yamini). When truth is revealed Sathya Bhama’s father threatens to kill him if he doesn’t marry her. To come out of this situation, he tells them that he likes men, not women. When Satya Bhama’s father (Jayaprakash Reddy) excuses him, Raja (Ajay) proposes to Radha Krishna. What happens next?
In 1963 ‘Nartanasala’, regarded as great classic in Telugu cinema that won awards at International film festivals, NT Rama Rao played the role of Brihannala, Arjuna living in the garb of women as part of Pandava’s exile. Brihannala teaches music and dance. This film was based on part of Virat Parvam from The Mahabharata. In the latest Naga Shaurya starrer that has the same name of NTR’s classic, the protagonist poses as gay to avoid marriage to a girl his father fixed.
A character in the film says, “Ninnu choostente Narthanasala lo Brihannala gurtostunnadu. Akkada gay lover ledu neeku unnadu. Anthe teda” (Your situation reminds me of Brihannala in Narthanasala except that he didn’t have male lover). This dialogue sums of the plot. The director must have thought that what if Brihannala gets proposal from a guy. Although this twist seems right to weave a comedy out of it, the idea has remains exciting on the paper, not on screen.
New director Srinivasa Chakravarthy begins with the story of Shivaji Raja wanting a daughter. But his wife gives birth to a son and he starts raising the son with women’s clothing. This thread is used only for some outlandish comedy, it doesn’t affect the main storyline. Later it is showed that the boy turns out to be a guy who trains women to be Jhansi Ranis’, being good at self-defense. From here, the film turns totally farce.
An actress as damsel in distress introduced. She wants to become nun to avoid harassment from a cheater (Satyam Rajesh). Enters the protagonist to teach this cheater a lesson. Around 15 to 20 minutes, we get to see hero doing some silly comedy (beating him constantly). Satyam Rajesh cheats more than dozen women and hero makes all the woman slap him. By end of the scene, we get the feeling that the director is also slapping us. Such silly comedy is shown.
Then some songs follow. Only at the interval we get to the main twist- hero rejecting a marriage fixed by his father and he getting proposal from a homosexual. In the entire second half, the scenes and situations rally around hero and the guy. 

Objectionable comedy is woven around homosexuals in the entire second half calling them as ‘Pothram’ (Stone mortar with a pestle, a kitchen item with a hole and the grinding stick) but in the climax hero tells a one-line dialogue: “Homosexuals are also like us, we should treat them with affection and love, not ridicule them.” Ah!
The first half itself is so boring. Post-interval inane comedy is shown. The film lacks sensible moments and is full of inane situations.
As far as performances concerned, Ajay gives an honest performance. Naga Shaurya is plain. Both the heroines have not much roles. Jayaprakash Reddy’s acting is in his usual style.
Mahati Sagar’s compositions are neat. “Egireney Manasu Seethakokalla” is good melody. Cinematography and production values are decent. The new director fails to impress with his work.
Bottom-line: ‘Narthanasala’ has attempted to narrate a gay comedy but it turns out to be bland and full of objectionable (homophobic and offensive) and inane comedy scenes. A farce happens in the name of comedy.

Reviewed by: 
J Gudelli