Express Raja - Movie Review

Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 18:00
Express Raja (2016)
Cast & Crew: 

Film: Express Raja
Cast: Sharwanand, Surabhi, Urvashi, Uttaman, Posani, Prabhas Seenu, Saptagiri, Shakalaka Shankar, Nagineedu, Brahmaji, Supreet and others
Music: Praveen Lakkaraju
Cinematography: Karthik Ghattamaneni
Editing: Satya G
Production Designer: S Ravindar
Dance: Raju Sundarm, Vishwa, Raghu
Banner: UV Creations
Producers: Vamsi - Pramod
Story, Screenplay, dialogues and directed by: Merlapaka Gandhi
Release date: January 14, 2016
CBFC Rating: U

What's it about?

Raja (Sharwanand) and his friend (Prabhas Seenu) lead a life without any responsibilities or jobs in Vizag. Raja's father, a social worker, scolds him for not doing anything. One day his father's sishya and Police Inspector finds a job for him in Hyderabad and sends him there. Soon after landing in Hyderabad, Raja falls in love with Amulya aka Ammu (Surabhi) at first sight. He meets her as salesman of Oxford Dictionaries and this leads to some funny romantic track between them. As he fears dogs, one day, he hands over Ammu’s pet dog to Municipality team and she break up over this. So, he decides to go to Municipality dogs’ squad and bring that puppy and win her love.  A series of events unfurl…


After delivering successfully Run Raja Run with Sharwanand, the production house made Express Raja which is directed by Merlapaka Gandhi who debuted with Venkatadri Express(VE). Like Venkatadri Express, the writer-director have employed similar screenplay for this too. While VE had Hyderabad and Tirupathi as backdrop, here it is  Hyderabad-Vizag-Nellore. Like recent Bhale Manchi Roju, the movie has too many incidents interlinked, a chain of events impacting the other to reveal another twist. In the beginning it seems perfectly alright and funny too. But this film has very flimsy storyline, so it seems stretched beyond point.

Express Raja starts off on a breezy manner. The fun factor is there. Some cheerful drama happens in the first half. Peppy songs and cool visuals dot the proceedings. Yet, it leaves unsatisfied as the runtime is too lengthy for this kind of movie and the story goes on even when there is nothing happening further. For example, the track of Urvashi as Sridevi of Vasantha Kokila and Shakalaka Shankar's recording dance troupe comedy are forced ones.

The film has plenty of superficial and illogical scenes too.

Regarding the performances, Sharwanand looks trendy for the role. Acting? Well, the role doesn't demand him to show off his acting skills except running around the girl, mouthing dialogues and singing songs. Surabhi has beauty. Prabhas Seenu as Sharwanand's friend and Sapathagiri have provided some good laughs. After long time, comedian Sapathagiri has done comedy that actually works. Surabhi has done justice to her role. Brahmaji who has played a superb role in Venkatadri Express has not repeated the same magic. Supreet and Nagineedu are okay.

One of the major highlights of the film is the catchy and peppy songs by Praveen Lakkaraju. All songs are impressive. Karthik Ghattamaneni's camera work and Ravindar's artwork are praiseworthy. The movie has very slow pace and runtime is too lengthy. Better editing was needed for such kind of story.

As story and screenplay writer and also director, Merlapaka Gandhi has not shown much variety compared to his notable debut.

Bottom-line: Can be watchable for its good first half, peppy music and some genuine laughs despite not so impressive second half and lengthy scenes. 

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