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Eagle Review: Karthik Gattamneni’s action drama indulges in bland, empty heroism, worsened by its verbal diarrhoea, writes Srivathsan Nadadhur


Nalini Rao, a Delhi-based journalist, is fascinated by a rare variety of homegrown cotton that’s exported to Europe and drafts a report based on her findings. The story grabs eyeballs for all the wrong reasons. Besides facing a police inquiry, she is ousted from her job overnight. Determined to find answers behind the series of events, Nalini heads to Chitoor. What connects her to Sahadev?


Fanboy films are great fun to watch when done right. The only purpose of its story is to celebrate a star’s larger-than-life persona without aiming to deliver high-quality art. Despite their feeble plots, films like Lucifer, Petta, Jailer, Vikram and Waltair Veerayya, banked on the aura of its lead stars smartly to provide a rush of adrenaline to its target audience.

Yet, when one reductively views their success as a bankable formula and takes viewers for a ride, misfires like Eagle are bound to happen. Director-cinematographer-editor Karthik Gattamneni does his best to steer away from the conventions of a quintessential mass film. He chooses a folklorish, episodic narrative that never offers a full-blown account of the protagonist.

Throughout Eagle, you never really know Sahadev and witness only glimpses of his life. From the various accounts of insiders, he’s described as a mean killing machine, is linked to the cotton industry, is involved in the gun trade, prevents bauxite mining in a village, is feared by the cops and is chased by a RAW officer. How does one put the various pieces of a puzzle together?

The storytelling choice is unconventional and intriguing, but the payoff is yawn-inducing. While each character in the film is expected to take us closer to Sahadev’s persona, what you get are one-liners that mistake dialogue-writing for epithets, quotes and bombastic, rhyming punchlines. Manibabu Karanam is another addition to a long list of writers affected by the Trivikram syndrome.

Every second line in Eagle compares its characters to animals and insects with mythical references and throws in pompous adjectives like ‘sanchalanam’, ‘prabhanjanam’, ‘niyantha’ and ‘visphotanam’ for shock effect. All characters, from a teacher to a politician to a young boy and a cop, are sidekicks, delivering lines in the same tone and the hero-worshipping gets intolerable due to the redundant writing.

Despite its best efforts to be a ‘different’ actioner, it resorts to a simplistic, formulaic flashback to emphasise Sahadev’s personal loss and the purpose behind his rebellion. Not even an army of 30 officers or a bunch of helicopters can help authorities get closer to Sahadev – he’s termed as a hero who can even script his own death. A terrible subplot glorifies him as an embodiment of sacrifice.

With the action choreography too, the highs are largely derived from the ammunition disguised in various forms. They’re just a vulgar showcase of scale, masquerading as style. In the scenes where Sahadev falls for Rachana, violence is used for comic effect. With the resources and the talent at its disposal, disappointment is a mild word to describe Eagle.

More than a hit or a flop, what Ravi Teja needs is a break. It’s high time for him to introspect, reflect, stop resting on his laurels and make a conscious effort to be an actor again. Eagle’s partly tolerable whenever Anupama Parameswaran is around as Nalini, perhaps the only character beyond Sahadev that has some significance in the proceedings.

Navdeep, Srinivas Avasarala, Madhoo, Vinay Rai are wasted in insignificant parts that exist for heroic elevation. Kavya Thapar gets an extended European holiday in a travesty of a role where she gets to utter trashy dialogues like ‘you’re not wearing a cloth, but a culture’. Ajay Gosh, Mirchi Kiran and Srinivas Reddy provide a few occasional laughs. The music is hardly memorable.


Eagle, Karthik Gattamneni’s second directorial effort after Surya vs Surya, neither has style nor substance. Ravi Teja puts in a controlled but jaded performance that’s low on impact while Anupama Parameswaran gets to shine in parts.

Rating: 1.5/5

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