‘Yuva’ movie review: Yuva Rajkumar debuts in an utterly formulaic film

Sapthami Gowda and Yuva Rajkumar appear in ‘Yuva’.
| Photo Credit: Hombale Films/YouTube

Yuva showcases the first foray of Yuva Rajkumar on the silver screen, cruising on a well-worn route to hero stardom. The recipe? Craft him as the rebellious archetype, never missing an opportunity for a dramatic one-liner, evolving into a family’s guardian, hence birthing a star—or so the makers intend.

However, in anticipation of the newest lead from the celebrated lineage of Dr Rajkumar, Yuva by Santhosh Ananndram falls short, presenting an oh-so-familiar tale. Echoing the concept of his first venture, Mr. and Mrs. Ramachari, featuring Yash, Ananndram once painted a protagonist battling his rage and familial tensions, ultimately finding resolution. Ananndram’s decline is marked by the rinse-and-repeat character he stamps onto Yuva, albeit morphed into the unbeatable hero.

Yuva (Kannada)

Director: Santhosh Ananddram

Cast: Yuva Rajkumar, Achyuth Kumar, Sapthami Gowda, Sudharani

Runtime: 153 minutes

Storyline: A rebel in college known for campus battles must confront responsibility and change his ways when his family faces financial crisis

Yuva kicks off with a prolonged tussle involving local and dormitory students at a prestigious Mangaluru college, with Yuva (Yuva Rajkumar) leading the dorm crew. The film strains to sculpt Rajkumar as a ‘mass’ hero, though it feels forced, and the drawn-out conflict coupled with Rajkumar’s monotone lines serves only to wear thin on viewers.

The narrative then pivots to personal transformation as Yuva steps up as the family’s bedrock, following his father’s disappearance amidst crippling debts. Predictable story arcs surface, with the film shifting towards melodrama while showcasing the plight of the middle-class. Inspiring as the intent may be, a more grounded depiction of the family would have been a fresher take rather than relying on the same overexploited sentimental narrative.

Interestingly, in this mass-market Kannada movie, the female roles are intelligently devised, breaking some norms. Sapthami Gowda portrays the gutsy and sensible girlfriend, guiding her impulsive beau, while Sudharani, playing Yuva’s mother, portrays practical wisdom. Hita Chandrashekar’s portrayal of Yuva’s sister is understated yet determined. Unfortunately, their potential is eclipsed by the overarching emphasis on Yuva’s exploits.

Ananndram fails to curb his overzealousness, embedding Yuva with excessive subplots. Yuva transitions from a college bruiser to a diligent deliveryman and eventually to a wrestling aspirant, trying to redeem his name. This scattershot approach may leave viewers feeling lost in the film’s vast ambitions.

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Despite being overtly centered around the hero, Yuva sadly lacks memorable side characters and formidable foes. Yuva Rajkumar, however, does shine in action sequences and convincingly portrays a fierce wrestler, hinting at his potential for action-packed roles. If he refines his expressions and posture, he may well master the ‘mass’ hero persona in future cinematic ventures. As for Yuva, the film’s predictability does it no favors.

Yuva is now in cinemas.

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