Some of the toughest reviews to pen are the last films of actors which release after they have passed away. If it was Dil Bechaara which was the last film of Sushant Singh Rajput or more recently Sharmaji Namkeen which was the last film of Rishi Kapoor, the review became more of a celebration rather than just a few words of praise. And so a month back when Dr. Puneeth Rajkumar’s final film James had made its way to the theatres, it was more of a festival, giving a final hoorah to the superstar who left just too soon. Owing to a limited release in Mumbai and no subtitles, I could not pay my respects to the late superstar in the theatre. And so I eagerly awaited the film James to make its way to OTT. And it finally has arrived on SonyLiv and I pounced at the opportunity to watch it at the earliest. So then is the Kannada film James worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
James follows the story of Santhosh who works in a security company until he gets embroiled amongst the drug mafia. The story is your typical mass masala entertainer which defies logic and various other attributes. But this is the thing with these entertainers – they should entertain you. And luckily here, you are entertained big time. The screenplay standing at 150 minutes(approx) might seem daunting but the proceedings move at a break neck pace and thereby keep you invested throughout. Yes, there are sequences which seem to be slightly disjointed and definitely far fetched but they are a lot of fun to witness. The humour does not work here and seems extremely forced. But the action sequences including the slow-mos really are well shot and they keep you invested throughout in this briskly paced drama. The story might run a little thin at times but the twist at the halfway mark is pretty good paving way for a different second hour in terms of its trajectory. However, the end seemed simplistic and just half baked. The twist at the end was also not well utilized. But overall a fun filled screenplay which keeps you engaged throughout.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are massy and quite well penned as they manage to leave an impact. The music is alright and the BGM is a little too loud for my liking. The cinematography is good although some of the VFX are a suspect but I am willing to let that pass. Director Chethan Kumar seems to be well aware of the strengths of his protagonist and he is also familiar with the pulse of the audience. And his direction is really good wherein he is able to blend the two worlds together very well.
The performances are pretty good. Meka Srikanth as Vijay is pretty good, Anu Prabhakar, Mukesh Rishi, Madhusudhan Rao, Sarath Kumar and John Kokken all have their moments to shine. Priya Anand as Nisha looks very pretty and really does a swell job. But it is Dr. Puneeth Rajkumar in his final outing as Santhosh who really puts up a show. He displays so many shades all in one film that it really was a treat to watch for me and I am sure for his fans around the world. This is a bit of a hard review to pen knowing that we won’t see him again. But this is a perfect celebration of his art and the legacy which he has left behind. So long sir, until next time….
James is a dynamic farewell to the superstar Puneeth Rajkumar which is well worth your time. Available on SonyLiv.