Review: ‘Ravanasura,’ starring Ravi Teja

April 13, 2023

by Carla Hay

Faria Abdullah, Ravi Teja and Hyper Aadi in “Ravanasura” (Photo courtesy of Abhishek Pictures)


Directed by Sudheer Varma

Telugu with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in Hyderabad, India, the action film “Ravanasura” features a predominantly Indian cast of characters (with some white people) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A defense attorney agrees to a wealthy woman’s request to represent her father who has been accused of murder, but all is not what it seems to be in this twist-filled story. 

Culture Audience: “Ravanasura” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of star Ravi Teja and don’t mind watching idiotic action films that drag on for far too long.

Jayaram and Pujita Ponnada in “Ravanasura” (Photo courtesy of Abhishek Pictures)

In a world filled with terrible movies, “Ravanasura” has some of the most moronic plot twists you could ever see. The acting performances are horrendous. And this 140-minute action flick is too long for a movie this vapid. Perhaps the only real creative thought that was put into “Ravanasura” was for the choreography and staging of the occasional musical numbers, but the song lyrics in these musical scenes are utterly witless and generic.

Directed by Sudheer Varma (who co-wrote the atrocious screenplay with Srikanth Vissa), “Ravanasura” has a major plot twist that’s revealed about halfway through the movie and changes the entire trajectory of the story. It’s enough to say that this plot twist is so stupid, it wants viewers to forget that DNA testing exists. The plot twist also doesn’t take into account that certain characters have different body sizes and different heights. Other plot twists in the movie are much more predictable, but the big “shocker” in “Ravanasura” will just have viewers rolling their eyes in disgust at how bad this idea is.

In the beginning of “Ravanasura” (which takes place in Hyderabad, India), criminal defense attorney Ravindra, nicknamed Ravi (played by Ravi Teja), works as a junior lawyer with his ex-girlfriend Kanaka Mahalakshmi (played by Faria Abdullah), who is Ravi’s boss at the small law firm owned by Kanaka. Ravi and Kanaka briefly dated when they were college students, but she never had strong romantic feelings for him. Kanaka is now happily married to a man named Sekhar Mahalakshmi (played by Sriram, aslo known as Srikanth), who is openly affectionate with her, much to Ravi’s disdain.

Ravi keeps half-jokingly telling Kanaka that she is eventually going to marry Ravi, who constantly asks her out on dates that she firmly rejects. Ravi says insulting things about Kanaka’s marriage and about Sekhar. Ravi also makes other inappropriate, sexist comments to Kanaka while they’re on the job. It’s blatant sexual harassment.

And to make matters worse, Ravi isn’t very good at his job, since he does things such as show up late for courtroom appearances. An early scene in the movie shows that Ravi ruined a case by showing up too late with a crucial witness for a courtroom trial. The case was then dismissed by the trial judge.

All of this nonsense is shown early enough in the movie that viewers will immediately be wondering why Kanaka (who obviously dislikes Ravi) hasn’t fired Ravi already. Because “Ravanasura” is such a cesspool of idiocy, there is no explanation. The marriage of Kanaka and Sekhar is used for one of the movie’s many poorly conceived subplots and twists.

Ravi gives the impression that he’s a socially awkward jokester who can be very irresponsible, but he has some heartache in his life: His father lives in a hospital and appears to have dementia. The only thing that his father seems capable of saying is the name of a woman named Shanti. Ravi tells people that Shanti is the name of a nurse who used to take care of his father, and he grew very attached to this nurse.

Ravi has a goofy sidekick friend/attorney co-worker named Babji (played by Hyper Aadi), whose only purpose in the movie is going along with whatever Ravi says. One day, Ravi and Babji are at a library when they are approached by an attractive young woman named Harika Talwar (played by Megha Akash), who asks Ravi to be her father’s attorney. Harika’s father is a wealthy pharmaceutical mogul named Vijay Talwar (played by Sampath Raj), who has been accused of brutal murdering a man.

This murder, which took place in a restaurant, is shown as the opening scene of “Ravanasura.” The murder happened in front of several witnesses, who all identified Vijay as the killer. However, Vijay insists he’s been wrongfully accused and he wasn’t even near the restaurant when the murder happened. The problem for Vijay is that his alibi can’t be verified. Harika works as the head of research and development for her father’s company, which is called Syncox Pharma.

Kanaka doesn’t want her law firm to take the case, but Ravi uses blackmail to force the firm to take the case and to let Ravi be Vijay’s attorney. What Ravi does for the blackmail is to catch Kanaka off-guard by asking to take a selfie photo with her, and right when the picture is taken, he planted a romantic kiss on her cheek. Ravi tells Kanaka that he will show the photo to Kanaka’s husband Sekhar and tell him that Kanaka and Ravi are having an affair, unless she agrees to let Ravi be Vijay’s attorney. Yes, the movie really is this ridiculous.

The police officers who are the most involved in investigating the case are a deputy inspector general of police named Narasimha Murthy (played by Murli Sharma); an assistant commissioner of police named Hanumanth Rao (played by Jayaram), who takes the lead in the investigation and is very persistent; and police inspector named Ruhana (played by Pujita Ponnada), who Hunmanth’s subordinate and is often more perceptive than Hunmanth. And somewhere along the way, a home minister named Mudi Reddy (played by Rao Ramesh) is revealed to have a connection to this case. Other characters who have pivotal roles in the story include a makeup artist named Saketh (played by Sushanth); Saketh’s girlfriend Jaanu (played by Daksha Nagarkar); and a woman named Keerthana (played by Anu Emmanuel), who has a romantic interest in Ravi.

The last half of “Ravanasura” gets more and more tangled up in ludicrous revelations, until nothing in this movie is believable at all. It’s just a brainless story, bombastically told to make the action a not-very-convincing distraction from all the bad filmmaking on display. Most of the cast members over-act in the worst ways. Scenes that are supposed to be comedic look too forced and fake.

“Ravanasura” star Teja is one of the movie’s producers, so he’s partly to blame for how horrendous this movie is. However, “Ravanasura” director/co-writer Varma ultimately made a lot of the dreadful decisions that resulted in this movie being such a garbage dump. “Ravanasura” could have been a brain-teasing thriller. But instead, this noisy, overly long and aggressively foolish abomination is more likely to give viewers a headache.

Abhishek Pictures released “Ravanasura” in select U.S. cinemas and in India on April 7, 2023.

Review: ‘HIT: The 2nd Case,’ starring Adivi Sesh and Meenakshi Chaudhary

December 17, 2022

by Carla Hay

Adivi Sesh in “HIT: The 2nd Case” (Photo courtesy of Wall Poster Cinema)

“HIT: The 2nd Case”

Directed by Sailesh Kolanu

Telugu with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in Visakhapatnam, India, the action film “HIT: The 2nd Case” features an all-Indian cast of characters representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: A self-assured police detective goes on the hunt for a serial killer, who murders women and who leaves their body parts at the crime scenes were his other murder victims are found. 

Culture Audience: “HIT: The 2nd Case” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of “HIT: The First Case” and suspenseful movies about police investigations of serial killings.

Adivi Sesh and Meenakshi Chaudhary in “HIT: The 2nd Case” (Photo courtesy of Wall Poster Cinema)

“HIT: The 2nd Case” is a captivating thriller from beginning to end. It’s a winning example of a sequel that’s better than the original movie. The story’s mystery is wider in scope and told in a more compelling way than in “HIT: The First Case,” a movie originally released in 2020 as a Telugu-language film, and then remade as a Hindi-language film released in 2022. It’s also a great idea to make each “HIT” movie with a different detective protagonist.

“HIT” movie series creator Sailesh Kolanu has written and directed all the “HIT” movies so far. “HIT: The First Case” ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger for the movie’s protagonist, police inspector Vikram Rudraraju. “Vikram: The 2nd Case” has a brief mention of what happened to Vikram, but otherwise, it’s a completely separate story. What each “HIT” movie has common so far is that it’s a story about a hotshot investigator in a police department called Homicide Intervention Team (HIT) located somewhere in India.

“HIT: The 2nd Case” follows police inspector Krishna “KD” Dev (played by Adivi Sesh), as he investigates the case of a twisted serial killer who dismembers his victims and leaves their various body parts at the crime scene where the killer’s other victims have been found. All of the victims are women n their 20s and 30s. The first known victim is a woman in her 20s named Sanjana, whose torso has been found in Visakhapatnam, India. KD makes a promise to Sanjana’s devastated, widowed father (played by Tanikella Bharani) that he will find the killer and make sure that there is justice for Sanjana.

In “HIT: The First Case,” police protagonist Vikram had post-traumatic stress disorder. In “HIT: The 2nd Case,” KD doesn’t have any psychiatric issues that affect how he does his job. However, KD’s biggest weakness is his arrogance. Early on in the movie, KD tells a group of reporters who ask for his comments about an unrelated case where KD captured a man who killed his own brother: “Generally, these criminals are very dumb.” It’s a comment that will come back to haunt him when the serial killer does things to outsmart KD.

KD’s cockiness also shows in how unkind he is to one his female colleagues. His ex-girlfriend Varsha (played by Komalee Prasad) has been appointed as one of his subordinates. He tells Varsha: “Seeing your face is very annoying to me.” The movie never really goes into details over why Varsha and KD broke up, but it was a romance that obviously did not end well. KD is very unhappy that Varsha has been assigned to help him with this serial killer case. KD also has his trusty police dog, a German Shepherd named Max, who is a constant companion when KD is on duty.

Whatever negative feelings that KD has toward Varsha, they are in direct contrast to his adoration of his girlfriend Aarya (played by Meenakshi Chaudhary), who is a confident and independent feminist who also expects chivalry from men. When KD asks Aarya to move in with him, she’s reluctant at first because she doesn’t want to give up having her own place. But she eventually changes her mind, because she and KD are in love with each other and want to build a life together.

Aarya works at female empowerment center called HER Welfare Association, which helps female victims of domestic violence, and offers other female-oriented services. A flashback scene in the beginning of the movie shows how, 20 years earlier, women from HER Welfare Association staged protests in support of a woman named Jhansi (played by Neela Ramana), who accused her husband Ram Prasad Koduri (played by Harsha Vardhan) of raping her, after he caught her cheating on him with another man. The HER Welfare Association plays a prominent role in the story.

Other characters who are connected to this story include KD’s female police sidekick Shradda (played by Pavani, also known as Pavani Reddy); Sanjana’s roommate Rajitha (played by Divya Narni); Rajitha’s boyfriend Kumar (played by Suhas); Sanjana’s childhood friend Raghavudu (played by Majili Shiva); KD’s police colleague Abilash (played by Maganti Srinath), nicknamed Abi; KD’s immediate supervisor Shinde (played by Brahmaji); and director of general police Nageswara Rao (played by Rao Ramesh).

Describing the rest of “HIT: The 2nd Case” would be giving away too much spoiler information. It’s enough to say that the movie is a non-stop ride of suspense and intrigue, with all of the actors playing their roles very well. The movie’s big showdown scene comes across as a little too contrived, but it’s still packed with a lot of tension. Mostly, “HIT: The 2nd Case” succeeds in how this investigation unfolds in a riveting way and how solving this mystery has a few fascinating surprises.

Wall Poster Cinema released “HIT: The 2nd Case” in select U.S. cinemas and in India on December 2, 2022.

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