Cast: Ram Pothineni, Nivetha Pethuraj and Malavika Sharma
Director: Kishore Tirumala
Red, the official remake of the 2019-Tamil super hit Thadam, had got a huge pre-release buzz for actor Ram Pothineni playing a dual role in it. Sadly, however, while Red tries to stay true to the original, it goes for long stretches unable to recreate the thrilling moments and technical brilliance that made Thadam the smart flick it was.
In the story, lookalikes Siddharth, a construction company owner, and Aditya, a smart thief and card-game addict (both played by Ram Pothineni), have contrasting personalities. While Siddharth has a love interest in Mahima (Malvika Sharma), Aditya gets into a transformation mode upon meeting Gayatri (Amritha Aiyer), a mobile-phone salesgirl. However, both Siddharth and Aditya’s worlds converge when they become prime suspects in a police case. The rest of the film revolves around the mystery unfolding through a series of investigations.
However, despite the genre, Red is laced with few thrills and loads of drags. The movie opens on a bland note, with much of its screenplay dedicated to establishing the dichotomy of the lookalikes. The setup and the characters look interesting at the outset, but the scenes lack in spontaneity and the first half of the film seems to test the patience of its audiences keen for plot twists.
The pre-interval bang, however, sets in some much-needed reprieve, adding momentum to the story and finally bringing to it a semblance of a thriller. So too, the second half of the movie owns the proverbial meat of the story, with a couple of twists thankfully slipping in. But just as the second half of the film salvages the otherwise slow-fest, the audience is once again compelled to wade through force-fitted comic stretches that do nothing but ruin the build-up of the plot.
The logical loopholes in the story do get you thinking for a while, but you soon wonder if it’s really worth the time of day. You’re tempted to tell the cops what they must do only to realise you’re a mere viewer.
While the final payoff doesn’t seem satisfying, one might even consider the film as having lived up to the genre it claims to belong to because our hero was successful in his mission.
Director Kishore Tirumala ticks all the buttons when it comes to giving Ram a new look in Red. And credit where it’s due, the actor effortlessly switches between the suave Siddharth and a rough-on-the-edges-but-sharp Aditya. Sadly, the screenplay is a let-down.
Malvika Sharma and Amrita Aiyer look like caricatures in the film. While Malvika manages to be noticeable in the film, Amrita looks lost, seeming like she first needed to find the reason for her vague existence in the film. Nivetha Pethuraj, who plays an honest cop called Yamini, shines in parts but fizzles out in the end, joining the pile of deadbeat caricature-like supporting cast.
All in all, this was certainly not the fare the filmmakers imagined they could paint the town Red with, er…pun intended, of course....