All the Sex and Cussing Makes ‘Ray Donovan’ Remake ‘Rana Naidu’ a Family Drama ‘Best Viewed in Isolation’
- The Hindi adaptation of the Hollywood cult favorite has become one of the most streamed non-English language shows on Netflix.
Showtime’s “Ray Donovan” enjoyed the status of a cult favorite for six seasons. Now, its Hindi version is tipped to become a hit series on Netflix. Titled “Rana Naidu,” the series dubbed as “fixer of the stars” debuted earlier this month, and has reportedly become one of the most streamed non-English language shows on Netflix.
Vice President of international formats at Netflix, Roxanne Pompa, was quoted in a report saying, “We are thrilled with the production values that the team has brought to the Indian remake of our hit series. Rana Naidu stays true to the original series while localizing for the Indian audiences.”
Telugu actor Rana Daggubati steps into the shoes of Liev Schreiber in the Hindi adaption. Schreiber’s “riveting performance” as Ray earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination in the category of Best Actor in a Television Series Drama. Rana Daggubati was no walkover if an Indian review is to be believed: “From intense screen presence to subtle performance in emotional scenes, Rana does his job brilliantly. The actor doesn’t go overboard and plays his part to perfection.”
Interestingly, Venkatesh Daggubati, the real-life uncle of Rana Daggubati, plays his estranged and villainous father. According to a review, “the two bring great chemistry to their roles, which is vital to their characters.” This role is a departure for the older Daggubati who is known for playing sympathetic characters in family dramas. The role was played by a gritty Jon Voight in the Hollywood version.
According to 123telugu.com, “On the whole, “Rana Naidu’ is a crime action drama that works to an extent. The last few episodes offer a few good moments. Rana and Venkatesh’s earnest performances are let down by writing issues and lengthy runtime. You can still give the series a shot for Venky and Rana but make sure to have your expectations in check.”
The audience reactions, too, were mixed but mostly positive. And the reasons varied. One viewer commented, “It has many bad words, but that’s what makes it interesting.”
Film critics were not so kind, however. Writing in The Indian Express, Raghu Bandi felt “the show is high on sex, innuendo, double entendre and cuss words. Most of it is to shock and awe and not in service of the story. After a while, the gaze of the show towards women feels exploitative and disturbing, and is hard to watch.” His overall assessment was brutal: “Rana Naidu seems to celebrate its depravity. The premise of the show — two men with few redeeming qualities going up against each other — had a lot of promise but the potential remains untapped.”
A more charitable Sangeetha Devi Dundee writes in The Hindu that the series “is a dark crime and family drama replete with sex, nudity and foul language. Once you look past this, the series has a few things going for it even though it is flawed and at times, clunky.”
Most reviewers and audiences seem not able to get over how much cussing and sex there is in the “family drama.” Dundee aptly cautions saying Venkatesh and Rana Daggubati weren’t kidding when they kept reiterating that their first web series “is a family drama that is best viewed in isolation.”