Rana Naidu Review – Rana-Venkatesh Daggubati Bring Star Power to Indian Adaptation of Ray Donovan
Rana Naidu Review – Rana-Venkatesh Daggubati Bring Star Power to Indian Adaptation of Ray Donovan: Venkatesh Daggubati and Rana Daggubati, the uncle-nephew duo, bring their star power and exceptional acting skills to Netflix’s “Rana Naidu,” an adaptation of the popular American web series “Ray Donovan.”
The original series, which aired on Showtime between 2013 and 2020 and ran for seven seasons and 82 episodes, has been reimagined with an Indian twist.
Cast: Venkatesh Daggubati, Rana Daggubati And Surveen Chawla
Director: Karan Anshuman and Suparn Varma
Rating: 2.5 (out of 5)
Can Rana Naidu achieve the same level of success as its American predecessor? It is quite possible. The younger of the two actors portray a vengeful man of action seeking retribution from his father, who abandoned the family in multiple ways. The veteran actor plays the father, a garrulous and profane convict incarcerated in a Hyderabad jail for 20 years. Upon his release after 15 years of good behavior, the patriarch returns to Mumbai, hoping to reconcile with his estranged family. However, his comeback is uninvited, and one of his sons makes his resentment known every time they cross paths.
Rana Naidu, helmed by Karan Anshuman and Suparn S. Verma, is a brooding, atmospheric crime drama that pits two groups of conniving men against one another. Set in a male-dominated world where women have little agency and suffer routine mistreatment, the series offers a gritty and compelling viewing experience.
In Netflix’s Rana Naidu, Rana Daggubati portrays the titular character, a trouble-shooter for celebrities who are constantly flirting with danger due to the nature of his work. He is often morose and belligerent and has no qualms about resorting to unethical means to get what he and his clients want.
However, his father Naga Naidu, a womanizer with a shady past, is looking to make amends for his past mistakes but finds it difficult due to the scars he has left on his sons. While the two actors lend star power to the show, there is much more to the 10-episode crime drama.
The technical finesse of the show, along with its dense plotting, draws the audience into a world of fraught relationships, simmering violence, and dark secrets. Despite Rana’s enterprising nature, which celebrities depend on to resolve their personal and professional crises, he often uses illegal means to achieve their goals.
Lies and deceit form the crux of Rana’s treacherous world, which is why his wife Naina (played by Surveen Chawla), a former Telugu movie star who moved to Mumbai with her husband, yearns for a more tranquil life for herself and their two school-going children, Nitya (Afrah Sayed) and Anirudh.
The morose protagonist despises his father, yet maintains cordial relations with his brothers Tej (played by Sushant Singh) and Jaffa (played by Abhishek Banerjee). Tej, the oldest of the siblings and a former stuntman who now has to rely on physiotherapy because of Parkinson’s, runs a film stunt agency. Jaffa, on the other hand, is the youngest brother and a victim of child abuse, still grappling with the trauma.
The Naidu brothers’ misfortunes are all linked to their father’s wayward ways, who now wants to make amends with his sons. Despite admitting to being a terrible father, Naga believes that family is everything. Rana, however, has no intention of forgiving his father, leading to an all-out family feud that soon spirals out of control.
In Rana’s world, lies and subterfuge take centre stage, and this is precisely why his wife Naina (played by Surveen Chawla) longs for a more peaceful life for herself and their two children. Despite his good relations with his brothers, Tej (Sushant Singh) and Jaffa (Abhishek Banerjee), Rana despises his father Naga, who is responsible for the misfortunes that have befallen the Naidu family.
Alongside this, Rana’s roster of clients and accomplices includes Prince Reddy (Gaurav Chopra), a movie actor, OB Mahajan (Rajesh Jais), a corrupt politician, Srini (Adithya Menon), Rana’s trusted aide, and Surya (Ashish Vidyarthi), a Hyderabad mafia don who cannot bring himself to trust Naga due to their past criminal activities.
Although OB Mahajan reminds Rana that they cannot undo their past, it becomes increasingly clear that the events that estranged Rana and Naga have cast a long shadow, making it impossible for them to merely pretend that everything can go back to the way it was. Meanwhile, Naga seeks to rehabilitate himself by teaming up with an upright CBI official, Eijaz Shaikh (Mukul Chadda), to uncover the truth behind the conspiracy that landed him in prison many years ago.
Although not necessarily dreary or heavy-handed, Rana Naidu often leans towards being somewhat stodgy. With ten episodes averaging 50 minutes each, there was potential for significant tonal variations, but the show never quite breaks into a canter, leaving a lot of it unrealized. Some parts of Rana Naidu are monotonous and rely heavily on the actors for enlivenment.
The writing team, consisting of Karan Anshuman, Karmanya Ahuja, Ananya Mody, and B.V.S. Ravi, chooses to focus unwaveringly on the dead-ends that confront the characters, resulting in a storyline that lacks palpable shifts in mood and emphasis.
Although Rana Naidu tells the story of a family, it struggles to achieve emotional crescendos, with the confrontations between Rana and Naga, the heart of the show, treated in a mostly matter-of-fact manner that undermines their power.
However, the gradual unraveling of the acts of commission and omission that brought father and son to their current situation creates enough surprises to overcome the show’s sedate patches.
Rana Daggubati’s consistent performance could have used more angularities, while Venkatesh Daggubati makes the most of the mercurial, voluble nature of the character he plays.
Surveen Chawla, Sushant Singh, Abhishek Banerjee, Mukul Chadda, Rajesh Jais, Gaurav Chopra, and Adithya Menon also deliver standout performances, ensuring that the series remains on the firm ground even when it lacks the kind of energy that jumps out of the screen and catches the viewer unawares.