Nagabharanam - Movie Review

Friday, October 14, 2016 - 23:15
Nagabharanam (2016)


As the genre says it all, it's epic plus fantasy. As the film begins, the divine origin of an all-powerful 'kalasham' is narrated. There are no much graphics around its powers, but as the film progresses, there is action and CG around those good forces trying to protect and the bad forces trying to own it. 

Cut to the present, Nag Charan (Diganth) and Co perform with all gusto possible at a musical event. Enter Manasa (Ramya), a stranger who pleads Nag to enlist her in the troupe. He refuses. She refuses to relent. After some unhealthy doses of Sandalwood 'masala' later, she finds a place in his house (comprising of funny parents and a funny servant). After an item song, in comes the villain (Mukul Dev as a billionaire who wants to grab the 'kalasham', which will be given away as a prize to the best-performing musical troupe in a competition in Delhi), threatening the best musical troupe in the country (the hero's. Who else do you think?) to perform under his franchise.  The hero refuses. The villain kills the four friends, who all die in unison. It's up to Manasa, whose divine powers are unknown to Nag Charan and the villains, to finish her unfinished agenda. 


When it's a predictable film of this sort, it's the visuals and performances which have to become the backbone. For all the good track record that veteran director Kodi Ramakrishna has, he flounders here, not just because of nativity, but also technicality-related issues. 'Nagabharanam' boasts of the presence of familiar star Sandalwood faces like Ramya, Sai Kumar, and late Vishnu Vardhan (a special role reserved for the climax). On the flip side, the ensemble cast hardly sells here. Ramya may have a certain style of acting and the same is unsettling for those not familiar with her. Especially because her characterization has flaws (all the intensity is limited to the flashback in second half), she as the central character doesn't sail confidently.

In infusing the film with doses of romance and comedy, the director was clearly pre-occupied with the thought of catering to another audience. Diganth and Ramya make for a bland combo and thanks to the miscasting, even a good song or two becomes a test of patience. The idea of a gifted woman falling for the charms of Diganth's character has been narrated superficially.   

Kodi's Midas Touch was supposed to come in the second half, but sadly Kodi is failed by an out-of-team team of technicians. With all the limitations, he manages to hold some interest as the story of Shivayya (Sai Kumar) and his daughter Nagamma are narrated. The climax wouldn't be able to establish a connect, at least for those of us who have no special sentimental attitude toward Vishnu Vardhan, the late Kannada star. 

There should have been a tighter screenplay for the present day portions. It's here that Ramya's character comes across as not facing any challenge from the villains until the climax where a supernatural villain is created out of thin air by an aghora. 

An under-estimated thread of the movie relates to Diganth's character. Rock music, peppered with classical touch, would have formed a very healthy backdrop. But due to budgetary constraints or creative deficiency, the element was not worked out, much less elevated.

Even though the human villains are only one of the antagonist sides (the other being asuric forces), the portions needn't have been that unserious.  The technical departments add to the mess, with the exception of Vfx. The RR is not adept, whereas the cinematography doesn't charm. 


The genre of epic-fantasy is difficult to be handled, especially at a time when audiences are exposed to international cinema and 'Baahubali'. Kodi Ramakrishna comes up with decent writing for second half, but the exterior that we see robs it of potential. The backdrop of music is given a raw deal. The rom-com episodes are outdated. Fantasy elements don't deliver goods with the exception of flashback.

Reviewed by: 
Vishwanath V