Pretty much early into the film Raja Huli, an animated Lakshmidevamma thunders in her inimitably comical style, “When it comes to Cauvery, we will not shy away from setting ‘that lady’ ablaze”. But if you know a little background about Raja Huli, this roar from the old lady almost sounds hilarious, rather than sounding like a war cry. That’s because the film is a remake of Tamil film Sundarapandian!
Sorry mates, we have all the rights in the world to remake your films, use your stories and even copy your narrative styles. But that will not stop us from uttering profanities against you in that same film. We are like that only!
That apart, Raja Huli is a well made film. No, actually, Sundarapandian is a well made film, which has been zealously copied by director Guru Deshpande and his ilk to the last frame. Yes, changes have been made to cater to the box office interests back here in Karnataka. So there is a customary song about Kannada and some done to death dialogues on how we will fight till our last breath for Cauvery. The heroine is named Cauvery and the film is set in Mandya, and yeah, Yash, with his experience with Mandya dialect in Drama, sleepwalks through his role.
Since the quintessential Mandyada Gandu Ambarish stopped acting in movies in a major way, many actors, including Darshan, and Yash have been battling it out in the box office for that throne. Yash comes with one more attempt to win Mandya with this film and he does a pretty decent job at that. He is the most promising of the new generation Kannada actors and has pretty much everything going for him; the looks, acting and some hit films in his kitty.
Meghana Raj is another pleasant surprise in the movie. She may not be a best looking babe on the block, but she displays a remarkable ease about her acting which is endearing and effective at the same time. She essays her role, which has limited scope for acting, with aplomb and makes you take notice.
So what makes Raja Huli (read Sundarapandian), which has an unoriginal storyline a better attempt than many other such movies? Well, while watching this movie, you will discover that they really worked on the script and built every scene with a touch of realism. Every character has exactly that; a character.’ In fact, the dude who plays hero's friend has the best dialogues throughout the movie.
Raja Huli is no trendsetter, and nor does it break any new grounds. But is has a bloody neat narration and some first rate acting by everyone involved. A nice time pass.