'Stand Up Rahul' hit the cinemas this Friday. Produced by Nandkumar Abbineni, and Bharath Maguluri of Dream Town Productions and Highfive Pictures, the film is a rom-com.
Rahul (Raj Tarun) is fond of taunting and sarcastic humour. He has lost a handful of jobs because of his saucy, frivolous nature. The unemployed youngster soon realizes that his calling lies somewhere. He becomes a reluctant stand-up comic, much against his mother (Indraja), who wants him to settle down in a regular, well-paying job.
Meanwhile, Rahul falls in love with Shreya Rao (Varsha Bollamma), a Virtual Reality artist. They start a live-in relationship.
The rest of the film is about what consequences Rahul has to face because of his unconventional decisions and how he comes of age.
Raj Tarun was seen as a rural guy in 'Anubhavinchu Raja' and in a mildly intense role in 'Power Play', his two previous releases. In the film under review, he plays an urbane character with a fair amount of sincerity. His comic timing is far from perfect, though. Varsha Bollamma brings the cuteness of her 'Middle Class Melodies' act.
Comedian Vennela Kishore fails to evoke humour. Murali Sharma, who was seen as a cop in 'Bheemla Nayak', is a failed filmmaker and the male lead's father. Yesteryear actress Indraja shows her talent in the final act.
Rajkumar Kasireddy (as the male lead's colleague), Venkatesh Maha (as a stand-up comic), Anisha Alla Reddy and others barely make an impact.
Benny Dayal's 'Thappa' and Yazin Nizar's 'Padhaa' are well-placed for a film of this genre. 'Ala Ila' is an engaging melody. Sweekar Agasthi's music is a welcome feature, although it doesn't always sound novel. Sreeraj Raveendran's cinematography works. Both Archana Rao's costumes and the art direction by the Lakshmi-Uday Umagopal duo complement the visuals. Raviteja Girijala's editing works with the sub-par material and the challenge shows.
It's tough to write a coming-of-age story, especially in the urban milieu. It's because even YouTubers have tried this semi-genre time and again, in different measures. What novelty can you bring to the table? You have to try harder and harder. Director Santo Mohan Veeranki tells the story of 'Stand Up Rahul' with the topping of stand-up comedy. And the result is a spectacular mess.
Right from the time Rahul bumps into Shreya Rao, a Pune-bred girl who is in Hyderabad to do her white-collar job, the trajectory of the film is in familiar territory. You can see the conflict plot points coming from a mile. To be fair to the film, the conflicts don't always pan out in a predictable fashion. But, whether or not the film is predictable, the proceedings cry for creativity, originality and novelty.
The stand-up comedy stretches are a disaster, which is a shocker, considering that the film's director himself has been a stand-up comedian in the past. The first half has a semblance of hilarity, with Vennela Kishore trying to salvage workplace jokes. The second half harangues you in rapid turns. There is no emotional high and we don't feel for either of the lead pair.
The climax has a watchable stretch involving Indraja and others. At 134 minutes, the film is otherwise unbearable.
'Stand Up Rahul' is yet another whimper of an urban film whose rom-com scenes are a crashing bore.