The DVD release of S. S. Rajamouli’s debut film Student No.1 (2001) would really need the English subtitles. I had postponed watching it in a hope that someday I would be fluent enough in Telugu to understand it without subtitles. Luckily, I noticed that the movie has been dubbed into Hindi (as Aaj Ka Mujrim) and the dubbed version has subtitles, so I was finally able to watch the last remaining film that I hadn’t seen from my favourite director.
I don’t know much Hindi but I think the dubbing was mostly OK, far from the Russian dubbing style where one man just reads the whole dialogue with a monotonic voice. Watching a dubbed version was a little challenging as the familiar actors had strange voices. Sometimes it’s difficult to follow the dialogue by reading the fast-paced subtitles if you have no idea who is talking. Looks like the dubbing company didn’t ruin the whole movie like they did to Magadheera. At least this time they didn’t remove all the songs.
The movie has Jr. NTR, Gajala, and Rajiv Kanakala in the lead roles. (Rajiv Kanakala is always unintentionally so funny because “Kanakala” means a chicken-fish in Finnish.)
Jr. NTR’s character is of course the hero of the film. He is a new student in a law college (or was it a love college?) but it doesn’t take long when he finds out that the college has bad reputation because nobody ever graduates — the school is ruled by a violent gang which efficiently prevents all teachers and students from teaching and studying! It’s no secret that the hero is going to fix the situation but I can’t tell much more without spoiling the dramatic interval revelation.
This movie has only a couple of fighting/action sequences which is less than Rajamouli’s or Jr. NTR’s movies normally have but it doesn’t really need any more. Good fighting skills are almost a requirement for any Indian movie hero (except Siddharth) and we see enough to become convinced that also this hero can fight. This time however the hero isn’t supernaturally strong against the bad guys but he still does a couple of cool things, like jumping forth from a sea of burning fuel. (I think I’ve seen this somewhere else before!)
This is again one of those movies that have all the three of them: Brahmanandam, Ali, and M. S. Narayana. This time Narayana is the only one who is somewhat relevant character as he plays a teacher in the college. Ali and Brahmanandam play an engineer and a doctor but they are used only in two scenes and didn’t add very much to the story. However I liked the bad joke that the doctor wants to cut a car accident victim’s leg with a handsaw to save him while the engineer would prefer to cut the car instead.
I guess the songs were nice but I’m not going to do any in-depth reviews of them as I was watching the movie in a “wrong” language.
Student No.1 obviously isn’t among the most entertaining Rajamouli movies but I still liked it very much.
The subtitled Hindi version can be found on YouTube, uploaded by Goldmines Telefilms.