Editor’s Note: This reviewer, Chakravarthula, is the single-card lyricist for the film.
“Vasham” is a crowd-funded Telugu feature film that hit the theatres (“theatre” really, if you consider just Hyderabad!) today. It’s not the first crowdfunded production in Telugu, but it boasts of being the first one for which half of the script was posted online for anyone to read! The film was thus made with a promise of return on investment to over a hundred investors big and small, and it succeeded there according to the writer-director Challa Srikanth. But how does it fare as a film for the general audiences? Let’s see in this review.
The film opens with a mysterious Professor Vibhuti Nath who proclaims of possessing supernatural powers through the activation of Kundalini Sakti. The protagonist Aravind gets entangled into the web that the sinister Professor weaves, as his sweet younger brother Raj and his friend Dheeraj get lured into the trap. Is the Professor’s mind really evil? What is his ultimate ploy to bring the whole world into his control? Why is the protagonist so hell bent to get to the bottom of it all? How does he do it with the help of his lady love Meghana?
The film is etched well to fit into the thriller genre and moves crisply through the different scenes. The screenplay, which feels lagging in the first half, picks up in the latter half as the plot unravels itself. The six-minutes-short-two-hours length of the film ensures that the audiences are not bored but has infrequent yet noticeable jerks in the flow. The writer-director’s efforts and research are clearly seen in the way the story is weaved through various elements. The cinematography by Durga Kishor is good in eerie scenes involving the Professor but many close-up shots in other scenes especially during the first half seem unnecessary. The music sets the mood and pace very well in this thriller, and adds significant value to the narrative that emphasizes on the use of certain music (by Dr. Josyabhatla) There is only one bit song in the film, which is just there but could have been easily done away with. (The audio jukebox of the film has three songs, but only one part of one of the songs is used in the film, possibly to keep the screenplay taut.) [Editor’s Note: This reviewer is the single-card lyricist for the film.]
Krishneshwar Rao as Professor Vibhuti Nag justifies his role with the right emotions, occasionally sending a chill down the spine thanks to the audio-visual support. Vasu Dev does well particularly in the pre-climactic scenes while Swethaa Varma who starts off like a misfit really soon catches up as the movie progresses and does well in the pre-climax (and also in a scene where she has to boost up the protagonist’s spirits). Both Akshay and Pradeep as Raj and Dheeraj do an exceptionally good job as teenage students. They are both vivacious, believable, and impeccable all through! Nanda Kishor as a police inspector is good too, whereas director-actor Raj Madiraju (“Kalyana Vaibhogame” fame as an actor, “Andhra Pori” as a director) as the State’s CM gets a role that’s seemingly chopped off largely at the editor’s table.
Overall, the film is enjoyable for a one-time watch if you don’t mind the occasional jerks and a slightly passive first-half. The music, camera, writing, and performances compensate for any dull moments and scenes. The sad part? With at least three other major films releasing today and with a few previous releases already enjoying good theatrical run, the film had a very limited release in Nizam region – with only four theatres throughout the Telangana State out of which only one show in one theatre was possible today! The team is hopeful of getting more theatres before the week ends. A.P. has about 40 theatres playing the film but the film does not have takers outside the state/country at the time of this writing.
PS: All the images are screenshots from the theatrical trailer of the film uploaded on Telugu Filmnagar YouTube Channel.