Bheemasena Nalamaharaja on Amazon Prime Video: A conventional film overcooked with bizarre conceits

Posted on October 29, 2020

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The film is stuffed with lip-smacking ingredients, but the pace is too measured, the telling is too conventional to accommodate its more outrageous plot points.

Spoilers ahead…

There’s something wonderfully dependable about Achyuth Kumar. Some actors are born with sharp and extremely defining features, but his is one of those “blank canvas” faces that absorbs the writing and projects everything from comedy to villainy. He is the best part of Karthik Saragur’s impressively titled Bheemasena Nalamaharaja. The character Achyuth plays is a tradition-bound Brahmin named Varadharajan, and he makes this man a monster (compared to Hitler, at one point) without making him a caricature. How can so soft-looking a man seem so… evil? But later, when we learn things about Varadharajan, the puzzle pieces fit. The fluctuations in the character don’t seem contradictory, because the actor puts them through most naturally, with minimal “actorly” fussing. He knows just how much tempering is needed to add just enough flavour to serve up a memorable personality. And that’s a way of segueing to the point that this film uses food as a metaphor.

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