Hebbuli movie cast: Sudeep, Amala Paul, V Ravichandran
Hebbuli movie director: S Krishna
Hebbuli movie rating: 2
Actor Sudeep’s new film Hebbuli (Ferocious Tiger) was released amid an unprecedented buzz. Last Sudeep-starrer that filled the audience with such anticipation was 2012 bilingual film Eega, directed by SS Rajamouli. The fantasy revenge drama helped Sudeep expand his territory beyond the Kannada film industry and he even acted in two Tamil films.
Hebbuli has seemingly started a new phase in Sudeep’s acting career in Kannada. The film has released on a record 400 screens across Karnataka and reportedly will have about 400 shows per day in Bengaluru alone. Matching the expectations of the trade, the advance booking for the film was also strong and it opened to packed houses in many centres despite today being a working day.
The audience seldom gets to see a high-concept film in Kannada. The buzz around the film began with the release of the first look poster of the film featuring Sudeep in a commando outfit coupled with a trendy hairdo. Does the film live up to the expectations? Now that’s a million dollar question.
Hebbuli manages to capture attention with the opening scene itself. A special force team, led by Captain Raam (Sudeep), launch a surgical strike beyond the enemy lines to neutralise a high-value target and rescue hostages, including Nandhini (Amala Paul). Director and writer S Krishna successfully establish the physical and intellectual prowess of the hero in an aesthetically composed action scene. From the borders of Kashmir, the story brings Raam to his hometown Bengaluru, following the suspicious death of his brother, Sathya Moorthy (V Ravichandran), an IAS Officer. The film still holds attention. Raam knows in his heart that his brother’s death is not a suicide as concluded by the police. With his deduction skills, he finds out there were few others in the room with his brother at the time of his death. His investigation begins to piece together the events leading up to the crime. I can’t exactly pinpoint at which point the narration lost its grip but, definitely, post interval, it becomes a regular action film.
The audience knows that Raam will find the killers of his brother and the average screenplay ensures the journey to that end is predictable too. The idea of a para commando going after urban criminals is a fascinating concept but his mission lacks depth. The film also has too many holes in the story. Hebbuli has been carefully crafted to cater to whims of the fans of Sudeep while risking interest of others.
Ravichandran is convincing in his role while Amala Paul gets enough screen time to impress the audience with her charm in her debut Kannada film.
Sudeep’s choice of clothing and his mannerisms do not match his character as a para commando. We have seen Sudeep doing the things he does in Hebbuli in all most all of his films in the past. As an audience, we expected some variation in Hebbuli and it is conspicuous by its absence. The film has multiple villains played by Ravi Kishan and P Ravi Shankar but both characters fail to leave a mark on the screen.
The action scenes in the film have been nicely done keeping Sundeep’s fans in mind and to give them reasons to whistle and clap for their favourite actor. Surprisingly, songs in the film are engaging and lift the mood of the audience. A good job by music composer Arjun Janya.
Hebbuli has its moments but comes up short on satisfying the pre-release expectations of the audience. It is, meanwhile, a treat for Sudeep fans.