RX 100 movie cast: Karthikeya, Payal Rajput, Rao Ramesh
RX 100 movie director: Ajay Bhupathi
RX 100 movie rating: 2 stars
We never get tired of watching romantic movies, do we? After a certain point, we start to feel genre fatigue with horror, action, family drama, superhero and space movies. But, when it comes to romance, we can’t just have enough. We may not have liked the romantic film we just watched but that doesn’t stop us from going for the next. It seems love has no offseason at the box office. No wonder newcomer Ajay Bhupathi picked this genre to make his directorial debut. Before its release, the trailer and posters of RX100 had evoked comparison with last year’s blockbuster Arjun Reddy, which is still fresh in the memory of Telugu audience.
Ajay Bhupathi’s RX 100 and Sandeep Vanga’s Arjun Reddy are poles apart even as we may notice some shared commonalities. Karthikeya’s Shiva in RX 100 and Vijay Deverakonda’s Arjun Reddy resort to self-destructive behavior like excessive drinking and smoking after their lovers get married to other men. (And again, that is the time-honoured way of overcoming heartbreaks in our films.) They become jumpy, violent and ungroomed. But, their character arc is very different. In comparison to Arjun, Shiva’s character seems shallow. It seems to lack the depth of Arjun, who threw surprises just when we thought we had figured him out completely. Shiva is an easy puzzle to solve. He is old-fashioned and one-toned.
Arjun Reddy drew its inspiration from classic Devdas, while RX 100 is a variation of many rough love stories that we have seen in the past. Ajay puts a twist on this familiar love-betrayal saga by flipping around the traditional character tropes, barring the old-fashioned hero.
The film is named after popular two-stroke motorcycle RX 100 that was synonymous with masculinity in the 80s and 90s. The idea of masculinity and the desire to own it are the key forces that drive this story forward.
Indhu (Payal Rajput) comes to her home town during the summer holidays and gets into a relationship with the village hottie, Shiva. It’s lust at first sight for Indhu. A well-behaved and cultured Shiva falls madly in love with Indhu in no time. A romantic song and many liplocks later, things go south. The usual drama unfolds with parents objecting to Indhu’s choice. Lock her up in her bedroom and force her into a marriage against her will. But, there is more to this than meets the eye.
I don’t want to give away the spoiler for it is one of the few interesting things about the film. Separated from the love of his life, Shiva becomes violent and extremely aggressive. He begins to cause trouble to everyone whom he deems responsible for his plight.
Of all the characters, Vishwanath, convincingly played by Rao Ramesh, struck a chord with me. He never indulges in time-tested villainy that is expected of the heroine’s father, who dislikes the man dating her daughter. He has a solid moral compass and chooses to endure hardships and problems for the sake of decency and morality.
As a diversion, Ajya uses a half-backed sub-plot of local politics which takes the story nowhere. The director-writer strings together the threads of love, lust, revenge and betrayal in a blood-soaked romance that literary begs the audience to empty all the sympathies in their hearts for the hero’s selflessness and sacrifice for the sake of love.