Express Raja (2016)

In general, Sankranti is a critical season for Telugu stars. But there are some who do not need any special season and Sharwanand is one among them. Yet he challenged the senior stars with his “Express Raja” this Sankranti. Directed by “Merlapaka Gandhi” who got introduced with Venkatadri Express, this film starred Surabhi as female lead. Vamsi and Pramod of UV Creations produced this film.

Plot :

An unemployed Raja (Sharwanand) comes to Hyderabad for employment and falls for Ammu (Surabhi) in her first sight. He strives a lot to impress her but at the time of thinking everything goes well, one of his misdeeds makes him lose Ammu’s love. What’s that? How does Raja compensate it? What are its consequences? form the rest of the story.

Narration :

Firstly, the producers’ confidence should be appreciated for their confidence of releasing this film in amidst a huge competition.

Entertaining things…

These kinds of comedy-thriller films come up with a single conflict which is common to many characters. Director Gandhi was successful in linking all the characters to the conflict brilliantly. He took a lot of freedom in creating those characters and produced good comedy through them. I liked some ideas of him like the small flashback Raja says on why he hates dogs, proposing love through tearing pages in a dictionary, Shakalaka Shankar trying to suicide along with his whole troop. Dhanraj’s “Inumu” (iron) character reminded me of S.J.Suriya’s in “Khushi” yet Inumu is more hilarious than that of Suriya’s. Shakalaka Shankar’s parody as Chiranjeevi was also hilarious.

Non-Entertaining Things…

As said above, the freedom taken by director Gandhi in creating characters became exaggerated at some places. Best example is making Oorvashi an amnesiac. It entertained once or twice but repeated amnesia was felt bored. Moreover, the second half’s narration was very slow. Some scenes and songs should have been edited in this place. The melodrama at the end was not at all touching.


So, Express Raja started as an Express train and reached its destination as a Passenger train.

Performances :

Sharwanand proved his prowess of portraying roles like “Raja” in his “Run Raja Run”. So there is nothing to talk about his role in this film. Surabhi sounded good for her role at the beginning but ended being ineffective. Prabhas Sreenu got a full length role in which he entertained well. Saptagiri and Shakalaka Shankar who bored the audiences with worst parodies in their previous films entertained well in this film. Harish Uthaman, Supreeth and Urvashi were not up to the mark. Dhanraj as “Inumu” entertained well coming in crucial scenes. Posani did a calm role which does not have his signature shout outs.

More Eminences :

  1. Karthik Ghattamaneni’s Cinematography. He used a very good lighting throughout the film. I liked it in the parking cellar’s fight sequence and all the scenes in market.
  2. Production Values. UV Creations is always good in production values. They proved it again with this film.

Lowlands :

  1. Slow paced narration in the second half.
  2. Runtime. These kinds of thriller films do not require a runtime of 144 minutes. It should have been trimmed to make the narration faster.

– Yashwanth Aluru

Click here for Telugu Version of this Review…

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