'Ramarao On Duty', produced by SLV Cinemas LLP and RT Teamworks, was released in theatres today.
In the Chittoor district, in the mid-1990s, scores of youths have gone missing in the past few years. A chance discovery propels Rama Rao (Ravi Teja), a Mandal Revenue Officer, into launching a self-styled investigation into the racket. The investigation throws up unexpected leads. It is up to Rama Rao to use the clues to launch an all-out war against the black sheep and sharks involved in smuggling red sanders.
In his recent release 'Khiladi', Ravi Teja showed a proclivity toward seeming over-the-top. His action also lacked energy in that movie. In 'Ramarao On Duty', the Mass Maharaja gets to play a role where some dullness can be passed off as the result of his character's sophisticated mien. Although this is not his best performance in recent times (that distinction remains with 'Krack'), the actor attempts to show form.
Divyansha Kaushik, as a doting wife, has too few lines. Rajisha Vijayan, the talented actress of 'Jai Bhim' fame, doesn't look the part of a distressed damsel. Venu Thottempudi makes a not-so-effective comeback.
‘Sarpatta’ John Vijay's police character is routine. Tanikella Bharani, Rahul Ramakrishna, and Nasser look dated. Every time VK Naresh and Pavitra Lokesh are on screen, the theatre erupted in mocking whistles and you know why!
The music by Sam CS is just not bad at all. 'Bulbul Tarang' is enjoyable. 'Sottala Buggallo' is adorned with superb choreography, while the title track 'King Of The Crowd' is a dull montage. 'Naa Peru Seesa', the special song featuring Anveshi Jain, is a complete letdown. As for the BGM, Sam may not have made us forget his 'Khaidi' work, but he does give okayish output.
Cinematographer Sathyan Sooryan of 'Yatra' fame delivers nothing memorable. Praveen KL's editing is jerky, while Sahi Suresh's art direction could have been far better.
Just one similarity between 'Pushpa' and this film exists. The red sanders smuggling element is milked by both films, although from different standpoints. This is where debutant director Sarath Mandava makes a bid at offering something fundamentally different. Usually, when a huge smuggling mafia is at work, the good and gutsy hero clashes with the leader of the mafia after coming to know of the smuggling racket.
In 'Ramarao On Duty', it is different. Rama Rao is not a cop. And he figures out the existence of the racket because he is investigating a missing persons scandal. There was so much potential in this premise. But, sadly, the director fails to tell an engaging tale.
This film falls flat essentially because the stunts (by Petter Hein, Stun Siva and others) are not exciting at all. Not every action block has to match the standards of a pan-India film but they can't be this routine either.
Too many stock characters are a mood-killer. The sobbing father, the sobbing wife, the sobbing ex-girlfriend, the pitiable daughter of a missing man, the same-old evil language spoken by a top cop...
The first half is outright unbearable, while the second half has a few 'consolation prize' moments. On the plus side, the film at least tries its hand at investigation/thrills. Had the screenplay been all about the hero giving warnings and pangas, 'Ramarao On Duty' would have been even more punishing.
A decent premise has been spoiled by routine situations, run-of-the-mill characters, and unexciting action.