White Guy Watches Bollywood

A random white guy engages with contemporary Indian cinema... one movie at a time

Vennela Kishore

Telugu Movie Review: Rules Ranjann is an aggressively silly rom-com

Kiran Abbavaram and Neha Shetty star in the Telugu romantic comedy "Rules Ranjann," here reviewed by White Guy Watches Bollywood.

I hung in with Rules Ranjann for longer than it deserved my goodwill. There is something so off-the-wall and silly about the movie’s presentation that an open viewer has no choice but to play along at first. Especially due to what appears to be a topical setting/subject matter – a naïve tech worker trying to navigate his way up the corporate latter – I figured it had to be aiming for exaggerated satire. Tired of abuse from his Hindi-speaking colleagues in Mumbai, Tirupati transplant Mano Ranjann (Kiran Abbavaram) makes a power-play to reign over the entire office – his boss (Annu Kapoor) included – as a sort of makeshift dictator. He’s the first in and the last out, and nothing will escape his watchful eye, leading him to be known as Rules Ranjann.

In what initially feels like an exaggerated allegory on today’s crumbling social standards in both the workplace and off-the-clock, Ranjann’s control-freak nature seeps outside his 9-to-5 and into his (uneventful) personal life. Mercifully, Tollywood’s penchant for original music and likely a lacking budget spare us the needle drop of Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” that would have been inevitable in a Hollywood version of this story. But there’s still plenty of the track’s salacious spirit on display. A questionable co-director of B-grade films (played by Vennela Kishore) moves in across the hall from Ranjann, bringing with him a new lay every night, undoubtedly luring them with the promise of a future starring role in one of his movies. Ranjann has no tolerance for this scandalous behavior, so he does what any aggrieved neighbor would do: finds a way to get his new hallmate kicked to the curb.

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