Ram Gopal Varma, who had left Telugu film industry long ago and settled in Mumbai to rule Bollywood, makes his presence felt in Telugu film industry every now and then. Very recently he had brought out a horror film in Hindi, Phoonk. The same was remade in Telugu under his supervision by a debutant director Vamsikrishna Akella. Such a senior director complimented the debutant that Vamsikrishna brought out the film more effectively than his movie. This has raised the expectations about the movie. However, in reality, the film is not so great for viewers. But when we watch the film keeping in view that it was from a debutant, it is definitely a nice movie.
Rajeev (Jagapatibabu) is a realtor and Arthi (Kalyani) is his wife. His mother (Radhakumari) also stays with them and Rajeev has two children Raksha (Neha) and Rahul (Atul). Theirs is a sweet home. Rajeev believes in hard work and is an atheist. He doesn't believe in God or demon. But Arthi and Rajeev's mother strongly believe in both of them. Rajeev gives job to his childhood friend Venu (Rajiv Kanakala) and his wife Madhu (Satyakrishnan) in his company. However, Venu and his wife cheat Rajeev. So, on the advise of his partner Vinay (Subbaraju) Rajeev necks him out of his home and dismisses him from job. Irked over this, Venu decides to take revenge against Rajeev. As Rajeev loves his children very much, Venu takes the help of a sorcerer (Veerendra Chauhan) and applies black magic (Chetabadi) on Raksha. As a result, Raksha starts behaving differently. At the same time, several other instances frighten them. They are like a bone with some lemons, a cat coming in their way and other such things. Arthi and her mother-in-law strongly believe that someone is applying black magic but Rajeev refutes all their beliefs as trash and superstitions. However, Dr Pandey (Melkote) and Dr Rangarajan (Jeeva) who treat Raksha cannot identify the disease. Unable to watch the suffering of Raksha, Vinay asks Rajeev to believe in black magic and superstition once to get her treated by a sorcerer. Because of the sheer love towards Raksha, Rajeev agrees to believe in it and both Rajeev and Vinay meet Sanatan Baba (Pradeep Rawat), who confirms that it is nothing but black magic. Rajeev is surprised when Sanatan Baba reveals Rajeev's past experiences. He warns Rajeev that he should stop the sorcerer who is applying the black magic from dropping a doll in the fire to prevent Raksha's death. He also reveals that those who are behind the black magic is none other than Venu and Madhu and Rajeev's driver Mani (Chandrasekhar) helps them. So Rajeev and Vinay go in search of the place with the help of Mani and thrashes the sorcerer and prevents him from burning the doll. At the same time, Rajeev forces Venu and Madhu to jump from a building instead of killing them on his own. The film ends on a happy note with Raksha's recovery. The twist in the climax is that Arthi who believes in superstition appreciates Dr Seema (Jayasudha) for the recovery of Raksha, while Vinay thanks Sanatan Baba for the same. Rajeevs continue to hinge between atheism and belief.
It is Jagapatibabu who took the cake with his fantastic performance all through the film. He has kept his image aside and given the best in acting. His body language and histrionics, as a caring father needs appreciation. The audiences cannot imagine any other hero in that character and he really lives in the role. Kalyani also did a good job as a believer. Her character has different shades like wife, mother and believer. Pradeep Rawat, though appears in a couple of scenes did a good job in his role. Melkote gives comic relief, though he plays the role of a paediatrician. Jeeva is okay as a child psychologist, while other artistes also did justice to their roles. It is the screenplay which is life of the film. The debutant director has given a gripping screenplay. Another highlight of the film is the background score by Amar Mohile. The sound effects have elevated the mood of the film like any other horror film.
The director has brought out the film as a horror one, but has been unable to fill horror in the minds of audiences. But for the sounds and dark lighting, the audiences do not feel like watching a horror film, in the absence of sudden surprises. The repeat of similar scenes during nights caus boredom to the audiences. Bhanodaya should have tightened the film a little more, especially in the second half. The characters of Rajeev Kanakala and Satyakrishnan are also not properly established.
The film is nothing but the remake of Tulasi, a film based on 'Tulasi Dalam' novel penned by Yandamuri Veerendranath in 80s. However, the movement of the film in the first half is different from the earlier film and there is slight modification in the story with the introduction of characters of Rajiv Kanakala and Satyakrishnan. The director is finally unable to convince the audiences whether they should believe in the superstitions or God. The film could be watched once as it is not an out and out horror movie.
Cast: Jagapatibabu, Kalyani, Thota Neha, Atul, Rajiv Kanakala, Subbaraju, Pradeep Rawat, Narsing Yadav, Chandrasekhar, Melkote, Jeeva, Roy, Veerendra Chauhan, Subash, Jayasudha, Radha Kumari, Satyakrishnan, Bhargavi, Anuradha.
Credit: Cinematography – Surjodeep Ghosh, Editing – Bhanodaya, Background score – Amar Mohile, Dialogues – Jeevan Reddy, Art – Muralidhar, Action – Satish, Producers – Chandrasekhar, Vijayalakshmi and Suryavathi, Presents – Ram Gopal Varma, Screenplay and direction – Vamsikrishna Akella.
Banner: One More Thought Entertainments&Zed 3 Pictures
Released on: September 19, 2008