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Where is Pushpa? The question is who is Pushpa now? Veerappan, Robinhood or king? – Beyond Bollywood

Sukumar drops an intriguing ‘glimpse’ that celebrates not just Allu Arjun’s birthday, but turns the character and Pushpa 2 – The Rule [2023] into an upcoming festival.

By Mayur Lookhar

The Rocky Bhais, the Pushpas can never be role models. Yet, they have acquired cult status. They’re much adored by their legion of fans across the country, and the globe too. It’s the style, charisma, dramatization that has turned these characters into immortals.

K.G.F franchise, Rocky Bhai is a strict no for us, but damn this Pushpa Raj is some beast. Love him, hate him. But there is no way that you can ignore him. It was the stellar show by Allu Arjun that turned Pushpa: The Rise [2021] into a nation-wide rage. It is all but natural for fans to be desperate for the sequel. Director Sukumar and his marketing team chose to unveil an over three-minutes footage of Pushpa 2 – The Rule [2023] a day before the super star’s birthday [8 April]. Man, the makers haven not even called it a trailer but a ‘glimpse’. At three minutes and fifteen seconds, it certainly can’t qualify to be a teaser. Maybe, this is just a prelude to the official trailer that will follow in near future.

The narrative of this footage is built around the ‘Where is Pushpa?” theme.  Pushpa has escaped jail but is supposedly injured or most probably dead. The chances of a human body surviving eight bullets is next to impossible, unless you are a Pushpa Raj. Clearly, more than any escape, Shekhavat [Fahadh Faasil] and the fellow cops planned to kill Pushpa in an encounter. Interestingly, while we see other cops, but we don’t recollect seeing a single footage of Shekhavat. Neither did we see Srivalli [Rashmika Mandanna]. This glimpse is all about where is Pushpa?

The man does appear in the dying moments of the glimpse – looking all healthy and fine. The sight of a tiger giving way to the alpha beast in the jungle is what makes the legend of Pushpa. Not just humans, even the biggest beasts in Seshachalam forest knows who is the king of the woods. It’s followed by the trademark Pushpa hand slide over the jaw. The man then joins his people and lets it out clear – this is Pushpa’s rule – Pushpa Raj indeed. The closing visuals of firecrackers is a symbol of the celebration of him being alive, but it turns Pushpa 2 – The Rule into a festive film.

Though Pushpa doesn’t need any introduction but Sukumar succeeds in building a great intrigue around the character and the second film.  The original Telugu version sounds fine to this non-Telugu reviewer. We’re are not impressed with the Hindi dubbing of the Hindi glimpse.  It plays to the ‘Where is Pushpa?’ narrative, but the visuals, the arson, make you wonder – what has Pushpa turned into now? He sure is Veerappan-like for the state and the police. Pushpa’s critics will echo the same. His admirers, largely the poor, though hail him as the Robinhood who steals from the corrupt, rich, powerful and has used that wealth for the benefit of the poor. It’s a popular but also a dangerous narrative of glorifying a criminal, critics have long complained.  Such cynicism though is dwarfed in the collective voice of the nation for whom Puspha is a phenomenon.

It’s a brave call on part of Sukumar to limit Allu Arjun’s appearance in the glimpse and bank on the people who idolize the character. We will never idolize him, but we can never take our eyes off Pushpa Raj.

Watch the original Telugu and the dubbed Hindi glimpse below. Happy birthday Allu Arjun.

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