Cameraman Ganga-tho Rambabu is a well-crafted and appreciably-performed film, despite its flaws.
What is it all about?
Rambabu (Pawan Kalyan) is a mechanic who repairs not just automobiles, but also people who're not going in the right path. Even controversial or "hot" topics such as caste feuds and fights do not deter him!
It's his innate nature to not only to react to news on TV or in the newspapers, but also to respond to news and raise orphaned kids or take responsibility of many other wayward individuals.
His daring nature attracts the attention of cameraman Ganga (Tamannah), who considers herself an extraordinary "cameraman" - not just a "camera-woman" who may be looked down at.
She not only does an exclusive news story on the daring, socially responsible individual Rambabu, but also takes him to the NC News Channel office where she works, introduces him to her boss (Dharmavarapu Subrahmanyam) and news head S R K (Ali).
Rambabu joins the crew under the condition that his nature of angrily responding to wrongs in the society should not be controlled by the management. Soon after joining, he gets Rana Prathap Naidu (Prakash Raj), the son of ex-Chief Minister of the state Jawahar Naidu (Kota Srinivasa Rao), arrested for the charges of killing a sincere journalist Dasaratha Ram (Surya).
Jawahar Naidu gets insulted too when he goes to threaten Rambabu, and he is struck by paralysis due to the hypertension. This whole incident brings Rambabu wider recognition that even reaches the Chief Minister of the State (Nazar), who becomes a fan of Rambabu and even calls him to appreciate his courage.
It's now up to Rambabu to do something when Rana tries to get political mileage by calling for banishing all non-Telugu people and businesses from the state. What can one single individual do?
Pawan Kalyan is at ease as Rambabu, being totally himself most of the time, as the theme of the film is similar to his real-life ideas. His performance, his trademark histrionics, his dialogue delivery, and his fights cheer and satisfy his fans without a doubt.
He shakes a leg a little in the songs but does not offer a great treat in that department. The sincerity in his diction, expressions, and effective dialogue delivery in the pre-climatic TV speech is splendid.
He underplays his role as much as is necessary. He has another winner in the form of Cameraman Ganga-tho Rambabu, definitely for the fans and possibly for general audiences too.
Tamannah , who appears in a tomboyish role, goes overboard with her performance for most part but presents her character without making it irritating to watch.
Her performance in the role is rarely underplayed, as is partly demanded by the character. Her dubbing (by P Priyanka) suits the characterisation very well.
Gabriela as Smitha has another role of some importance and has a song, too. She does it okay. Scarlett performed the item song Joramocchindi.
While Kota Srinivasa Rao carries off his limited role with ease, Tanikella Bharani as his brother-in-law has few scenes to show his skill.
Prakash Raj delivers all that's necessarily to portray an evil political heir with a hurt ego. His character is developed on the lines of Raj Thackeray of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, and it also reminds us of a few other contemporary politicians and political heirs.
Ali and Brahmanandam provide comedic relief through their roles as news heads in two different TV channels where the protagonist works, usually being at the receiving end of satires against today's TV media.
Dhanaraj and Thaguboth Ramesh appear only in one scene each, as support cast with Ali. Nazar as the Chief Minister with sincere intentions, Dharmavarapu Subrahmanyam as a media head, M S Narayana as an elderly man who lives with the protagonist, Uttej as one of those individuals helped by Rambabu, and Surya as a respected journalist have minor roles to play and all these experienced artistes do their parts well.
The story is a call to the youth of the nation to take charge of the ongoing mishaps in the political and societal arenas today, presented with a treatment that does not make it boring or preachy.
The screenplay is tight enough to not step out of the mainstream theme for most part, leading to a fairly logical climax. Dialogues, also penned by the director, are entertaining in parts, satiric against the news media, powerful when supporting the role of the media that is the fourth estate in a democratic country, thought-provoking at times, and even shaking up the slacking nature of today's youth.
The direction department handled the magnanimous climax scene well with the help of the departments of cinematography and art. Direction is generally okay, but the director could not avoid the abrupt endings of some of the characters including those of M S Narayana, Gabriela, and even Tamannah.
Important story points such as the Telugu agitation that the antagonist starts, and the telecasting of the brutality of the antagonist in the climax are left as pointless loose ends in an otherwise tight script.
The film's title is interesting but is not really representative of the story and is thus left unjustified, though it's referred to in a few scenes by the film's characters.
Puri shines again as the writer and director, arguably after a considerable time.
Background score is notable in particular scenes and elevates the mood of the scenes very well.
Songs are impressive for most part, though they sometimes seem like a break in the flow of the story. Lyrics by Bhaskarabhatla are appreciable, particularly in the background theme song in the pre-climactic scenes.
Cinematography and visual effects are good, and the introduction scenes and the climax scenes stand out. Editing is good, but some scenes were abruptly chopped off.
Action choreography could have been better. Song choreography is okay. Art department's efforts are notable in creating the mechanic shed, in the song sequences, and in the climax.
Pawan Kalyan's makeup, which had minor glitches in the recent past, is taken better care of in this film.
Cameraman Ganga-tho Rambabu is a treat for Pawan Kalyan's and Puri's fans, with its central theme actually going above and beyond the star and the star-director.
The film has a purpose and is duly adorned with all elements of a commercial cinema.
Watch it for Pawan Kalyan, watch it for Puri, watch it to think some more about what one person can do.
Rating: 3.25 stars