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FeaturesCinema & TVReview: ‘Republic’, feather in Sai Dharam Tej’s cap

Review: ‘Republic’, feather in Sai Dharam Tej’s cap

Published: 1st Oct 2021 2:46 pm

Hyderabad: One would wonder how realistic a movie like ‘Republic’ has been made while dealing with subjects like politics and how power influences the three arms of the government — legislature, judiciary and executive. Against the popular opinion that Telugu cinema is less realistic and more cinematic in dealing with the society and people, Sai Dharam Tej’s ‘Republic’ slightly fits into the bracket.

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All through his childhood, Panja Abhiram (Sai Dharam Tej) grew up questioning the illogical and irrational world that he is surrounded by. Reaching his adulthood, Abhiram is far ahead of his friends. As a young tech graduate, Abhiram is about to fly to the USA to study and lead a happy life. However, as destiny has it, a small sporadic incident during a polling day makes him see the stark reality.

The polling official Dasarath, played by Jagapathi Babu, is Abhiram’s father. And Abhiram’s vote goes missing, in fact, rigged on the day. There’s a backstory on why Dasarath had to become part of the system rather than questioning it.

Visakha Vani (Ramya Krishna) — daughter of a popular communist leader — wins the State Assembly elections, assumes charge as Chief Minister, and forms the government. She builds her kingdom step by step both as a politician and businesswoman. Her Maschyagandha Fisheries saw fortunes in the last 30 years. As they say, ‘behind every great fortune, there is crime’. Monopolistic Maschyagandha Fisheries dictated market terms in the shrimp business, often with unlawful practices. Subsequently, the fresh water lake, Thilleru, which has been the lifeline to neighbouring communities for years, has perished to a mere polluted filth. Vani’s business grew at a rapid pace thus disturbing the ecological balance and marine life in the lake.

Vishaka does whatever it takes to protect the livelihood of the fishing community living in Thilleru and surrounding areas. Sometimes, she would make people taste the sheer power of her power if anyone tried to revolt. Vani feeds her goons led by Guna (Tamil actor Boxer Dheena) to do all the dirty work — political murders, encroachments and illegal business practices right under the nose of government officials. And just before the penultimate period of election time, Vani would lure them with freebies.

Director Deva Katta projected the protagonist Abhiram as an ambitious upstart who takes the route of becoming a civil servant after a bitter experience at the polling booth. And the twist after which Abhiram clears his personality interview in Delhi. How would he take on the system that is being run by Vani? How does he clear the muck is the story.

Ramya Krishna surely gets elevated by her performance as a politician. The conversation between Abhiram and Vani’s government in the courtroom to save the lake from being polluted stands highlighted. Although the director claimed that a lot of research went into it, audiences are taken aback by some sequences. Such as how a newly-elected “experimental collector” is seen toting the gun in an encounter operation.

Srikanth Iyengar’s mannerism as a corrupt and callous top cop, has done fair justice to his role. Jagapathi Babu’s role as Dasarath, an official who wouldn’t bend but break, is another pillar to the story.

Aishwarya Rajesh’s character as Myra Hanson, NRI from USA, does well within the frame. A role different from regular romcoms, ‘Republic’ surely adds a cap in the feather for Sai Dharam Tej.

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