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Antariksham 9000 KMPH – Movie Review

India’s second space film and Telugu Film Industry’s first is a disappointment on many counts. No, I am not talking about the technical aspects here.

At the outset, I want to give credit where it’s due. Full marks to Sankalp for attempting a space film. It’s better than all the senseless crap we see these days. It’s better than no space film at all. But Antariksham feels more like a “we must do a space film because no one has ever done it before in TFI” attempt. And that’s never good for any film. Why you are doing what you are doing is of utmost importance.

There’s no agenda here. This film serves no great purpose, and that’s okay. Films’ fundamental duty is to entertain, and all else is an add-on, a bonus. Does Antariksham, then, at least entertain?

In parts, it does. It’s not so much of an entertainment than a feeling of “Okay, so finally they pull off one scene right, I’ll give them that”. The film’s brightest moments are mediocre at best, but are accentuated only because all the footage before and after them feels shallow and dull. The first half is a draining slog. If I didn’t care for the 100 bucks I paid for the ticket, I would have walked out in the intermission. Nothing that comes before the intermission is coherent. There’s bad screenplay, non-committal performances and a snail’s pace to test your patience. Throw in Lavanya Tripathi in an extended-cameo sort of role, a few cheesy dialogues and there you go, you have your first half. I get what they were trying to do – establish a back-story for Dev’s character so he has some driving force to do what he sets about to do next. But none of it feels natural, and I just couldn’t bring myself to believe that these were real people, and so I couldn’t buy into any of it.

Post-intermission, things take a turn for the better – slightly. There’s still clumsy writing, lots of unnecessary “problems” (one after the other; it gets tiring after a point, I tell you)  convoluted threads and predictability. Which is all fine. But the moment you give me a “romantic moment” between two people suspended in vacuum, you lost me. There’s a good dose of patriotism thrown in (I am of the opinion that this kind of patriotism that’s shown in movies is…toxic?). From here on, where the film goes is anybody’s guess but I thought at one point they’ll try not to be Telugu-movie-y, but the joke’s on me. Just minus these efforts to appeal to patriots-at-the-movies and lovers of shady romance among the audience, this would have been a better film. I am glad they did not have items songs.

Probably this isn’t Varun Tej’s role. I appreciate him for doing a variety of films, but maybe this wasn’t for him. He was adequate in some parts, but fell short in several others. Dev could as well have been Varun from Fidaa, and that’s not a good thing to say. His character isn’t etched out well. It’s so singular to the point of getting annoying. Since his character pretty much drives it, the story too becomes too convenient and incredibly stupid at so many instances. Aditi Rao Hydari is mostly sulking or worried. Lavanya Tripathi could have done this for the pay-check. Rahmaan fits the bill.

The story-line isn’t novel; it’s mostly a textbook space film. What disappointed me is the second-rate treatment from the director whose previous movie was Ghazi.

There are things to like in this film, but if only it had been more tightly written and more skillfully directed!

I am going with 2 out of 5!

Disclaimer:

The views expressed are solely of the author. If you have different views, spare him the name-calling. We can feel differently about a movie, and that’s okay. Trolls are okay, but disrespect is not.

All the images used are YouTube screenshots from the film’s official trailer on YouTube. Featured image courtesy: benefitshow.in

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