Pushpa The Rise Movie Review: It is admirable of director Sukumar's confidence of bringing his latest Pushpa into two parts. The trick worked for Anurag Kashyap, at least critically, with Gangs of Wasseypur. It worked for SS Rajamouli with Baahubali, and it also worked with KGF. Pushpa: The Rise - Part One is riding high on the Allu Arjun rage, the Telugu superstar is having the best time of his career, and it is marketed as this mass vehicle for him that shouldn't have a problem spilling into a sequel. So what could go wrong? Quite a lot, it seems. Pushpa The Rise – Part 1 Movie Review: Allu Arjun, Fahadh Faasil, Rashmika Mandanna’s Film Receives Mixed Response From Twitterati.

I had liked Sukumar's last film Rangasthalam, starring Ram Charan and Samantha. It was a mass entertainer with some smart writing and enjoyable performances. I had also enjoyed his films with Allu Arjun - Arya and Arya 2 - though its storylines don't exactly stand the test of time.

In Pushpa The Rise, Sukumar presents a usual gangster drama, that narrates the rise of Pushpa Raj (Allu Arjun) from a low-ranking worker in red sandalwood smuggling ring to being a powerful crime lord. In the process, he overcomes obstacles from forest officers to gang lords like the Reddy clan. There is a love track for him involving the village belle Srivalli (Rashmika Mandanna).

Watch the Trailer of Pushpa The Rise:

As a director, Sukumar gives a polished treatment to Pushpa's rise through the ranks, while also maintaining the crude, rusting setting in which the characters carry on their crimes and bloodshed, throughout. It is the writer in Sukumar that lets down the film, as there is nothing fresh in what he serves for his protagonist.  Pushpa is nearly predictable from the start to the end, with the undefeatable hero overcoming his barriers with immaculate finesse as if he is playing a videogame on the easiest mode available. If it was not Allu Arjun's smashing performance, Pushpa would have lost its steam even before the interval arrives.

However, in setting up Pushpa's character and in getting mesmerised seeing Allu Arjun sinking easily into the role, nailing the dialect and the mannerisms right, the first half is watchable even when the portions exude nothing new. Though, his lopsided gait reminded me of how mimicry artistes in Kerala used to imitate superstar Mohanlal. The one sequence that does stand out in the first half is when Pushpa and his men push the smuggled logs into the river before the cops raid their place. It is quite stylishly shot, though the VFX used in showing the logs flowing through the waters felt shabby.

The love track was also entertaining because it allowed us to see the light-hearted side of Allu Arjun's performance. The interval point when Pushpa shows the first revolt against his masters sparkles a bit, though the action sequence that followed was a let down. In fact I was disappointed with the stunt choreography of the movie. I understand the slo-mo sequences add a stylish quality to the scenes, but it takes away the rawness and the brutality required. Even the much talked about jungle fight sequence where Pushpa takes on his enemies, while blindfolded and hands gagged only passes muster.

I had hopes for the second half to live upto the title and 'rise' from its average writing. Rise it did, but the feeling that did so was boredom. It confirms that Pushpa really had nothing novel to offer as its anti-hero takes down one opponent after another. The three-hour runtime also begins to nag you at this point. Allu Arjun Apologises to a Journalist for Being Late at Pushpa’s Press Event in Bengaluru.

The one scene that did leave a mark is when Pushpa delivers a monologue to convince other crime lords of his point, but that had more to do with the actor's performance than anything else. Rashmika's character also falls victim to the damsel-in-distress syndrome - a lazy staple for these mass movies when it comes to writing female leads - who swiftly falls for the hero's brawns, even if she was clearly disinterested in him a couple of scenes back. Among the plethora of villains, only Sunil as Mangalam Srinu registers an impact, though I was annoyed with what the movies does to his character near the end.

Pushpa The Rise regains your interest towards the fag end of the movie, when Bhanwar Singh Shekhawat (Fahadh Faasil) the new cop in town arrives. It was exciting to see Fahadh in this type of character, and his police station sequence where he belittles Pushpa was quite good. It makes you wish he would have made his entry earlier. The thought got dissipated quickly in the next scene, that revolves around the whole 'brand' fracas, Pushpa takes the sting out of Bhanwar's character so brutally that I wondered what made Fahadh even chose this role. Even Allu Arjun's performance becomes artificial in the final scenes. The sequel, apparently titled Pushpa 2 The Rule, is set against their rivalry, but that would have made more interesting if these two characters were on equal footing. Or at least, if the movie that I saw now was good enough.

Devi Sri Prasad's songs are fun. I loved the mellow "Srivalli" song that comes after Pushpa falls for the heroine in his first sight. "Eyy Bidda Idhi Naa Adda" that arrives in the third act of the film is interestingly picturised. Samantha's item song "Oo Antava Oo Oo Antava" has been a rage before the release. The actress is sensuous in the song, and her moves with Allu Arjun are nicely done, but the lip-sync isn't right in a couple of places.


- Allu Arjun

- Fahadh's Intro Scene


- Weak Writing for a Template Story

Final Thoughts

Pushpa The Rise is a fairly disappointing outing from director Sukumar, as the director fails to infuse freshness in a very ordinary and beaten-to-death gangster drama. The biggest takeaway, as always, is Allu Arjun's larger-than-life act, that sadly isn't large enough to overshadow the movie's flaws. Here's hoping the sequel, whenever it gets made, brings something novel into the clash between Pushpa and Bhanwar Singh.


(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 17, 2021 12:24 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).