to talk about the most obvious aspects of narappa, now streaming on amazon prime video, is a faithful and almost frame-by-frame remake of the tamil film asuran (2019). With its story inspired by Poomani’s Tamil novel Vekkai (Heat), Asuran was adapted for the screen by director Vetri Maaran and influenced by the Kilvenmani massacre in Tamil Nadu in the late 1960s.
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Director Sreekanth Addala and actor Venkatesh Daggubati take up the moving and personal story of the protagonist’s struggle for dignity and keep it as close to the source material as possible. If you’ve seen Asuran, you can remember every scene, right down to the dialogue and even the location and similar movement of the actors on the screen. Narappa works best if you haven’t seen Asuran (it also airs on the same platform) or if you can overlook these similarities.
the story may ring true in the context of caste and class conflicts in any part of india. A flashback in Narappa goes back to a time when footwear-wearing lower caste was frowned upon and brought about humiliating punishment. Times might have changed in Ramaagaram village in Anantapur; Narappa (Venkatesh) can now buy his son a new pair of shoes without a second thought, but the caste and social divide continues. The upper class has now installed an electric fence and is eyeing a three-acre piece of land owned by the Narappa family.
read more | venkatesh: ‘narappa’ stays true to the emotions portrayed in ‘asuran’
in a broad sense, narappa is a story of revenge and the transformation of the protagonist is reminiscent of rajinikanth in baasha. It’s the quintessential Masala movie template with a thrilling pre-intermission crash, but Narappa revels in its raw, rustic setting. the terrain adds a lot of charm to the narrative. the vast forest, cliffs and barren land play a crucial role in the chase and escape.
The template of the struggle between the privileged and the underprivileged may sound familiar, but the little comments and observations sprinkled throughout the film keep us interested.
eldest son munikanna (karthik rathnam in a rooted and effective interpretation) comments that it takes time to build and a fraction to tear something down; sundaramma (priyamani is effortlessly hot, and in places reminded me of his previous tamil movie paruthiveeran) stating that he would have been happy if the two grown men in the house had committed an act of violence and not his youngest son. ; narappa casually states that brother-in-law (rajeev kanakala) has been spared for a reason, and much later emphasizes that education is the one thing that cannot be taken away from them in their struggle for survival.
In a revealing scene, the teenage son is heartbroken after the death of the family’s pet dog who gets caught in the electric fence. Narappa comments that he is relieved that the loss stopped with the pet dog and not the family members.
performances work in narappa’s favor. Venkatesh is believable as the meek middle-aged man eager to save the family from him, Rao Ramesh is in sync as a lawyer advocating social change, and Nasser is dependable as ever. ammu abhirami and aadukalam naren pick up their parts from the original, and both manage to evoke the same emotions as before.
if one were to look closely at the difference between asuran and narappa, it would have to do with the minute differences in ammu abirami’s characterization. She is charming and touching, and Jhansi casts a brief role as her mother.
mani sharma’s songs complement the narrative without overpowering the proceedings.
(narappa streams on amazon prime video)