Republic review: Sai Dharam Tej delivers hard-hitting drama about corruption
- Republic movie review: Sai Dharam Tej’s film is a relevant political drama about our corrupt system.
Director - Deva Katta
Cast - Sai Dharam Tej, Ramya Krishnan, Jagapathi Babu, Aishwarya Rajessh
Deva Katta’s Republic will go down as one of the most important Telugu films in recent years. It asks important questions societal maladies – rigged elections, corrupt governments and caste prejudice. It’s been a decade since Deva Katta made a strong mark with his political film Prasthanam, and the very strong Republic shines the spotlight on the harsh realities of the system we live in.
The story is centred around Abhiram (Sai Dharam Tej), who grows up as an idealist and lives by certain values in his life. An unexpected incident forces him give up on his dream of enrolling at MIT, and he becomes a district collector collector instead. He aims to run a clean administration, a system that stands by its people and doesn't use them as pawns during elections.
But to realise his dream, Abhiram must lock horns with Visakha Rai (Ramya Krishnan), a ruthless local politician. As Abhiram takes up the responsibility of cleaning up the system, he is hit with one reality-check after another.
Watch the Republic trailer here:
For a mainstream political film, Republic doesn’t take the escapist entertainment route to appeal to the masses. Sure, it has some scenes that play to the gallery, but it largely sticks to asking questions about honesty and corruption.
It’s not the kind of film in which the hero flexes his muscles and beats the bad guys to a pulp. It’s the kind of film in which the hero talks about democracy, ‘urban Naxals’ and voting rights, among other things. The film has some very interesting characters, especially Jagapathi Babu's corrupt civil servant. Ramya Krishnan doesn't play the power-hungry politician as a quintessential villain.
The film does take a few cinematic liberties here and there, but that doesn’t make it any less impactful. What really makes Republic hard-hitting is the ending, and it could leave one with mixed feelings. The way it chooses to end is a stark reminder of the harsh reality, and how it’s extremely difficult to change the system even if a few bad apples are removed. Sai Dharam Tej is aptly cast, and he gets ample scope and screen time to shine and deliver a strong performance.