No, Dashamukha is not a regular Ravichandran’s movie where we get to see him in the role of a do-gooder sporting dhoti and living his life for the welfare of the people. It does not even showcase his formulaic style of showing his leading girls in sexy costumes, colourful sets and catchy romantic songs. But this is the movie, which he has not tried to do in his three-decade career.
Agni (Chethan - Aadinagalu fame), a 20-year-old slum boy, is accused of killing his father played by Sudharshan. The public and media want the court to hang him till death for his crime. After a nine-month trial, the court appoints a jury comprising 10 members, who are from diverse backgrounds and different walks of life, to deliberate and determine whether the defendant is guilty or not of the charged crime and return with a unanimous verdict.
Now, the story moves to a jury room where titular jurors - played by Datanna, Ananth Nag, Devraj, Avinash, Ravi Kale, Saritha, Malavika, Achyuthkumar, Praveen and Akansha - have made their minds and want to give Agni a death sentence. They believe that this act is harmful to the society and desire to send a strong message to those who take the law in their hands. But Ravindranath played by Ravichandran (one of the juries) begs to differ. He raises reasonable doubts and tries to see the case in a different angle.
However, Ravindranath's reluctance to prove that Agni might be innocent irks the other juries and that divides the team. Their irrational conviction on the basis of Agni's slum background before facts changes after Ravi discovers a few possibilities, which could prove Agni's innocence. Soon the members thoughts swing like a pendulum leading to chaos. What happens next should be seen on-screen.
Dashamukha seems to be made with minimal budget. The 90 percent of the story takes place inside a jury room – that reminds audience of TN Seetharam's TV serial Mukta Mukta episodes - except the initial court scene and a song shot on Chethan and Akansha. Director Ravi Srivatsa has taken inspiration by classic Hollywood film 12 Angry Men. Having got a good subject, the filmmaker has tried to present a different film when the industry is ruled by mass-masala films. And, their are some good dialgoues too. However, he seems to have not done homework, as the film is not gripping and there are a few minor mistakes which, however, is avoidable.
The first half of Dashamukha is almost boring. Veteran director KV Raju's screenplay is not engaging in the initial 45 minutes, but the tale gets interesting once Ravichandran starts to unveil the new possible twist in the murder story.
Ravichandran has given his best for the role and there is not much scope for his glamorous avatars in Dashamukha. Yesteryear actress Saritha is good; Ananth Nag, Devaraj, Avinash, Malavika and others have given their best. Chethan and Akansha are good despite their limited roles. Technically, Mathew Rajan's cinematography is excellent, Sadhu Kokila's background score is good and Sridhar Sambram's one song is passable, but editing by Lakshman Reddy is not praiseworthy.
Verdict: On the whole, Dashmukha could have appealed differently if Ravi Srivatsa would have made it crisp. It looks like he has desperately dragged the film, which could have shortened by at least 20 minutes. The film has turned out to be an average affair, but an unique one.