Aswathama Review : Failed to Impress

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‘Aswathama’ hit the cinemas this Friday.  Naga Shaurya has described it as a sensitive film with a shocking villain.  Made as an action-thriller, does it live up to its hype?  Does the film project women’s problems in a new light?  Can ‘Aswathama’ end the string of flops that Shaurya has had?  We tell you all in our review.

Story: Gana (Naga Shaurya) learns that his sister (Shagun Kaur), who is about to get married in two days, is pregnant.  Mysteriously, she doesn’t know who impregnated her.  There surely is a hyper-toxic personality who raped her and many women of her age in the city.   Gana now resolves to trace the animal behind the sexual crimes.  In this, he goes about tracking important clues.  A high-profile murder that shakes the State comes as an inflection point.  Who is the beast behind the screens?  What is his identity?  How does the hero catch him?  Answers to these questions are found in the second half. 

Performances: Naga Shaurya, who has always been known for light roles in films such as ‘Chalo’ and ‘Oohalu Gusagusalade’, has chosen an intense and heavy role.  In does well in action scenes and delivers a confidence performance in emotional scenes as well.  He adds power to the script.   Mehreen Pirzada is okayish and doesn’t get much to show her acting skills, the way it was in ‘Entha Manchivaadavuraa’.  Jisshu Sengupta, the National Award-winning actor, suits the role.  That said, one feels he wasn’t used well by the director.  Satya, Posani Krishna Murali and others have forgettable roles.   

Technical Departments: Sricharan Pakala’s songs leave much to be desired.  The songs are either too familiar or sub-par.  On the other hand, Ghibran’s background music is adequate.  Even so, the score is evocative in some scenes.  Manojh Reddy’s cinematography works in action scenes and long shots.  The indoor shots are not so cool.  Anbariv of Kollywood covers himself in glory with respect to action scenes.  The choreography is organic and serves the film well.   

What Works: The film doesn’t waste time and gets to the point super fast.  After a duet involving the lead pair, it dives into the plot. The antagonist’s back story is somewhat chilling. The second half is a bit gripping despite a few loose ends. The rom-com track is brief and it helps matters. The script avoids unnecessary scenes.   The one-man army that the hero is, he looks tense enough throughout.   

What Fails: The film carries a strong scent of Bellamkonda Sreenivas’ ‘Rakshasudu’ and such crime thrillers revolving around a vigilante and a psychopath. There is no reason why the hero should do everything on his own.  Why doesn’t he take the help of cops? Jisshu Sengupta, who plays the villain, looks too sophisticated at times.  He gives a nice performance.  At the same time, he doesn’t engage the audience on a level that a crime-thriller should. The sister-brother sentiment is lazy.  There was definitely much scope for a build-up of drama around the male lead and his sister.  Instead, the latter is ignored completely after her marriage. At 133 minutes, the film looks a bit hurried, especially the climax. 

Overall Analysis: ‘Aswathama’ is actually an AR Murugadoss vigilante drama-meets-‘Rakshasudu’.  It has a fairly engaging screenplay.  But if you are used to watching intelligent thrillers, this might really not win your heart.  Try it nevertheless, especially if you don’t mind loose ends and some mediocre tropes.