Puri Jagannadh is a director who is influenced by Ayn Rand.Temper his latest film is in a way similar to an earlier film of his,Businessman which dealt with the same idea of individuality and society. Daya an orphan works for a small time goon, but he soon realizes the power a policeman has and thus he dreams of joining the police force to earn power and money.
Credit to Puri and story writer Vakkantham Vamsi for not giving any justification to Daya being corrupt or a modern day Robin Hood, Daya is a villain for major part of the film. Temper is not a path breaking film, nor does it intend to be. The item song in the first 10 minutes makes it clear what the director is aiming for, the lyrics of which translates to this is an item song for boys to dance is evidence enough of his intention.
Puri’s films always had an interesting hero,and characterization. Like his heroes in Businessman and Ek Niranjan, his lead character Daya is an orphan. His lead character is a cop and does not wear uniform until the climax. Similar to Mahesh Babu in Pokiri, NTR Junior wears uniform towards climax.
Daya (NTR Jr.) is an outright corrupt cop, but Puri and Vamsi know the commercial restriction of Telugu film industry, they cannot show a hero as an outright ruthless and corrupt cop. So there are scenes between Daya and Murthy (Posani Krishna Murali) where Murthy a honest cop questions Daya’s corrupt way.
These are the scenes where we clearly see Rand’s influence on Puri. According to Ayn Rand no man exists for another man, a man or society should not enforce their beliefs on others. Daya urges Murthy throughout the movie that either a man should be on this side or the other side. People like Murthy who are on the border are a problem to society. This is a view echoed by Ayn Rand who believed that the moral purpose of happiness can be achieved via only rational self-interest. For Daya being rational means giving quick justice, where he knows his victim will otherwise have to fight a lone battle by the end of which one party will not get anything. Like a true free market he always ensures both parties get something from transaction. Temper dwells on the age old question of who is right and who will decide what is right, is it individual or society.
What makes Daya interesting is that he is an outright negative character. He has no qualms for accepting a bribe. He has no hesitation in breaking a marriage or checking out the derriere of his girlfriend. This may not seem to be path breaking for those who are not familiar with Telugu cinema, but those familiar will know how in general the character of hero is supposed to be goody – goody and does not do anything bad. Consider as examples scenes from Telugu movies where lead the role is a cop played by people be it NTR, Balakrishna or Harikrishna who have all have played a honest cop role. Incidentally all of them are related to NTR Jr.
NTR as an actor has matured a lot, he has done away with theatrical and over the top acting in major part of the movie. It is sad that despite his growing as an actor the fact remains he will continue to do roles which will not give him scope to experiment.
Puri delivers a film which engages you for most part and tries to deliver and attempts to enter uncharted territory in a typically formula safe Telugu film industry.
Hope the bars will be raised higher in his upcoming movies, till then Daya played by NTR Junior is one of the rare bad-ass character ever seen in Telugu films, alas the same thing cannot be said about the film.
P.S. – The English subtitles for some reason mentions Waltair Vasu character as Voltaire Vasu.