Por (2024), helmed by Bejoy Nambiar, stands as a daring narrative venture, crafted to captivate a younger demographic drawn to bold and intense cinema. Starring Arjun Das, Kalidas Jayaram, and Sanchana Natarajan, the film initially unfolds with the allure of boundary-pushing storytelling, echoing the raw energy of “Arjun Reddy” and “Uriyadi.” Despite this, “Por” struggles to weave a compelling narrative, resulting in a ‘Raw’ verdict on the Mangoidiots scale.

The film teases with fragments of potent romantic storytelling amidst the tumultuous setting of St Martin’s University in Pondicherry, where a fierce college rivalry unfolds against a backdrop of pressing societal issues—caste dynamics, politics, nepotism, LGBTQ+ rights, and the shadows of suicide. These elements, ripe with narrative possibility, are left notably unexplored, leading to a fragmented plot that yearns for a coherent focus. The core rivalry, intended as the narrative’s linchpin, suffers from this developmental shortfall, leaving viewers in a lurch about the protagonists’ true motivations.

Compounding this, “Por” portrays the university as an anarchic realm where substance abuse is unchecked, and external forces sway student affairs, further muddling the narrative. Despite aspirations to resonate and challenge, the film falters, hamstrung by its lack of narrative clarity and character depth, ultimately not living up to its ambitious premise.

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