In his debut film role, Nograj, the wildly famous radio and YouTube prankster, pulls his fastest one yet. He decides to contest the legislative assembly elections in Bengaluru.
Taking off from his radio and internet avatar, Nograj, played brilliantly by creator Danish Sait, continues to be a outrageously self-serving and unapologetically arrogant public servant. And he has a simple rationale: the people get what they deserve.
The 144-minute-long satire, directed by Saad Khan and co-written by Khan and Sait, charts Nograj’s rise from a ward corporator to a member of the legislative assembly. His opponent is Arun Patil (Roger Narayan), a non-resident Indian and pharmaceuticals company owner. The second half is dedicated to a face-off between them that is both ridiculously funny and sadly familiar at the same time.
Khan deliberately pits an extremely earnest Patil against the ferociously corrupt Nograj. Patil’s threat to Nograj’s plan for world dominance (Nograj dreams of becoming the president of United States of America) isn’t unfounded. What keeps Nograj on track though is the timely assistance from Manjunath (Vijay Chendoor) an even more earnest assistant, who never lets him forget his childhood ambition of becoming a money-making politician.
Nograj’s accomplices on the radio pranks – Manjunath and Lavanya (Sumukhi Suresh) – brilliantly come alive in the film.
Danish Sait makes sure Nograj is as exaggerated as he can be. He unleashes him on a range of issues – from the garbage crisis in Bengaluru to problems of open manholes and parking violations. The shady Nograj eyes a money-making scam everywhere.
The parody has some trouble starting off, but slips into a smooth rhythm soon enough. Could the banter have been more daring? Sure. Barring a few sequences – such as the one in which Nograj blames a parking scam on Pakistan – it does appear that Nograj is holding back a little.
Yet, the movie retains its raillery till the end. Parts of the film are reminiscent of MS Sathyu’s masterful Chitegu Chinte, particularly the parts involving the One Big Party steered by a party supremo from his deathbed.
The film is dominated by Danish Sait, whose skills as a shapeshifter have finally reached their pinnacle on the screen.