Natasaarvabhowma movie review: This Puneeth Rajkumar film is old wine in a new bottle

Natasaarvabhowma move cast: Puneeth Rajkumar, Anupama Parameswaran, Rachita Ram
Natasaarvabhowma director: Pawan Wadeyar
Natasaarvabhowma rating: 2 stars

Natasaarvabhowma opens with Puneeth Rajkumar’s Gagan Dixit saving the life of a central minister, Ghanashyam Yadhav (P Ravishankar), whose fashion sense and hairdo bear an eerie resemblance to MP Shashi Tharoor.

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Natasaarvabhowma movie review: Natasaarvabhowma is a meta-movie that keeps reminding us of the track record of its hero, Puneeth Rajkumar.

Gagan Dixit is a dynamic journalist and he comes to Bangalore on a job transfer. He initially upsets Ghanashyam by ruining an assassination ruse, which was staged by the latter to gain sympathy votes for the elections. However, when Ghanashyam comes under attack for the second time, this time for real, Gagan jumps in and saves him once again.

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“You’re my second father,” Ghanashyam tells Gagan.

“Please sir, don’t say that. It sounds so wrong,” Gagan replies to Ghanashyam. This is the only quirky line that lightens the mood in the film, which otherwise feels like old wine in a new bottle.

Natasaarvabhowma is a meta-movie that keeps reminding us of the track record of its hero, Puneeth Rajkumar. It begins from the title, Natasarvabhouma (Emperor of Actors), an honorary title bestowed upon late legendary actor and Puneeth’s father Dr. Rajkumar. In a scene, the star proclaims that he has a lot of family audience when his editor requests him to appease the minister, so the newspaper won’t run out of government revenues. Keshav (played by Chikkanna) makes a living by bragging non-stop about Puneeth’s reputation as “Power Star”. A cameo appearance by Saroja Devi even serves as a throwback to Yarivanu (1984), in which she had shared screen space with Dr. Rajkumar and then young Puneeth. In one scene, Puneeth tells his friend that he kind of believes in God as once Lord Narasimha came busting out of a pillar to answer his call. He was referring to mythological drama Bhakta Prahlada (1983).

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Pawan Wadeyar has unapologetically included several such tributes to the star for the amusement of his fans. But, the question is does it provide any value to the audience that falls outside the purview of die-hard fans? Not much.

Natasaarvabhowma takes its basic premise from Superstar Rajinikanth’s classic film, Moondru Mugam. Like the older movie, a pivotal moment in the new film also plays out at a birthday celebration. Pawan has mashed the themes of horror-comedy, revenge and a few dance numbers to serve a ‘masala film’ that offers nothing new.

Puneeth Rajkumar’s insane dance moves and his conviction to make a very mundane character work helps you sit through the film.

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