Auto Raja, as the names suggests is all about a “good” auto rickshaw driver, who not only tries to help people but also tries to win the heart of the girl he loves. In the process, he also happens to be in an alternative profession. Sounds confusing? Yes, because the director Uday Prakash has tried to create an amalgamation of the typical ‘Auto Rajas’ of Kannada cinema, such as, Shankar Nag, Upendra, and Darshan and a version of Ganesh himself as a RJ!
To simplify the plot, Ganesh is an auto rickshaw driver, but circumstances force him to take up the role of an RJ following disparaging comments about his ilk. His successful foray into the word of radio creates an own fan following and Ganesh has no option other than continuing his avatar as a RJ. But he keeps his twin identities secret and that leads to chaos. Bhama, a village girl, who comes to the big city dreaming to be an actress, falls for the entertaining RJ’s voice. Simultaneously, a female colleague (Deepika Kamaiah), who also is an RJ, develops romantic feelings towards Ganesh. How Ganesh manages to squeeze out of the situation forms the rest of the story.
Well, there is no direct reference to or any inspiration gained out of the past ‘Auto Raja’ movies. What we see is a different version of Ganesh, who tries to remind us of his early days in tinsel town when he hosted a popular show on a TV channel in real life. The dialogues are also reminiscent of some of his hit movies, including Mungaru Male. The story-line offers nothing new, but the narration is interesting. The first half of the movie is fast-paced, but it is the second half that becomes predictable.
Nevertheless, Auto Raja is a clean entertainer with the right mix of comedy and a bit of suspense. The movie should regain some of Ganesh’s lost glory. He has put up a fine performance in a tailor made role. Bhama justifies her character as an innocent village girl. But Deepika Kamaiah, in a glamorous role, seems to have failed to take advantage of the platform. Her wooden-faced expressions and lack of histrionics makes her screen presence dull. A major highlight of the movie is the lilting music by Arjun Janya, who seems to have grappled the plot neatly.