I’m still in the hangover of this movie and I really thought about whether or not I should review this movie immediately or give it some time, because it often so happens with good movies that if you like them too much, you become blind to their flaws for a while after the film’s over. And that’s never good for someone who reviews films because then the reviews won’t really give you a true picture. It’s been a while since I came out of the theater, so I think I can be unbiased here. Whatever it is, I assure you that I’m going to tell you just what the movie made me feel and nothing about the movie’s story – as that would mean giving spoilers and this is one film you should walk into without knowing a thing about it.
First things first, let me heap praises on both the director Prashanth Verma for coming up with Awe! and Nani for backing this project. Films can always go wrong, some kind of films more frequently than others. Awe! is that kind of a film. But oh my my, what a film this one is! I’ve been harsh towards Nani’s film choices as a hero lately but his bet as a producer is in the right place. Directed by debutante film-director Prashanth Varma (who earlier directed A Silent Melody, a short film produced by Sundeep Kishan), Awe! is a true genre-bender. If I have to really put it into a pocket, I’d choose psychological thriller. I wouldn’t say this movie is “inspired” by some Hollywood movies, as I am sure many reviews will soon call out, but it does have flavors that those movies had. I don’t want to insult the writing department by calling this movie “inspired” by other Hollywood films (I’m not going to say which ones because that would make the big reveal) because the last time I checked, different movies can be made with the same theme, and you can call it a rip-off or an inspiration when the plot itself is the same. We have no such issues here.
Awe! has an ensemble cast of Kajal Agarwal, Nitya Menon, Regina Cassandra, Eesha Rebba, Srinivas Avasarala, Priyadarshi Pulikonda, Murali Sharma, Divyadarsini, Rohini and Nani and Ravi Teja voicing a fish and a bonsai tree respectively. Every single one of them does their bit just as needed; there’s not one false note in any of their performances. They all have their separate threads carved out, and the director cuts between these different plot threads with very noticeably, and perhaps intentionally so. Each of these stories is engaging, some more so for me than the others, but they’ll all leave you wanting to know what happened after, and then the director cuts to the next thread. It’s a rather clever way of keeping the audience engaged, I must say, by leaving the business in the middle of something in one story and switching to another. Even with these jerks, the film seems to flow in the first half.
The second half feels longer than the first, but is also more rewarding. As different pieces start to come together to form the final picture, you’re already appreciating the cast and crew for making this film possible. There’s just one song here – the theme song, which is haunting to say the least. It’s a cleverly written song (more about it in the spoiler review, if I ever write one, or maybe Jishan could do it when he watches the film 😛 ). Even the titles at the start of the film are cleverly made. I have this bad habit of trying to figure out the film’s story from the animations in the titles and this time I didn’t make much sense of the titles but after having watched the movie, in hindsight, they make so much sense. A job well done!
This review would be incomplete without heaping praises on the technical department of the film. What a job! Take a bow, you guys! Karthik Ghattamneni’s camerawork is top-notch. Background music perfectly compliments the goings-on and editing is good as well.
Right after I came out of the theater, I made a mental note to myself that I would address this particular aspect of the film in my review. Awe! pushes boundaries – not just in the technical department, but also in terms of writing and developing scripts. Scriptsville must be credited generously for developing a script like this and the produces deserve a pat on the back for bankrolling this experimental film. And it’s not just that. Watch the first scene of the film involving Eesha Rebba and Nitya Menen and you’ll know what I’m talking about. That’s the first time I saw an in-your-face, unmasked portrayal of _____________ in the Telugu Film Industry, and Nitya and Eesha deserve a worthy mention for doing their part in sensitizing people to _____________ in India. Thumbs up for the director and writers as well, for they have not only decided to make this thread mainstream with this film, but also managed to give it the necessary dignity it deserves. The audience’s reaction to this scene, however, tells me that we have a long way to go as a matured society. More films like this will probably play their part in helping us get there.
Apart from the ____________ topic addressed in appreciable detail (with some good dialogues) in the scene I referred to above, the film also throws light on some other social problems like ______________.
Overall, I really liked the film. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I’m going with 4 out of 5!
PS: All the images are screenshots from the film’s official trailer on YouTube.