Agnyaathavaasi movie review: Pawan Kalyan, Trivikram Srinivas’ family drama is hugely disappointing

Hemanth Kumar

Jan,10 2018 13:08 16 IST

2.5/5

Pawan Kalyan’s latest family drama Agnyaathavaasi feels like an absolute farce, two words which one would have never used to describe a Trivikram Srinivas’ film. Until now.

Its biggest undoing is its incoherent storytelling, which leaves you perplexed for almost the entire length of the first half, and even when it feels like things are back on track, it never rises above its serious flaws. Yes, we do laugh at times, thanks to some genuinely funny sequences featuring Murali Sharma and Rao Ramesh, but most of the times, the joke is on us!

A still from Agnyaathavaasi.

The film opens with a murder of Vindha (played by Boman Irani), a billionaire who’s the head of AB group of companies. We are told that two others partners in the company, Sharma (Murali Sharma) and Varma (Rao Ramesh) are primary suspects for this crime. To deal with the impending crisis, Indrani (Kushbu) seeks the help of Balasubramanyam (Pawan Kalyan), who must get to the bottom of the conspiracy brewing within the company. The rest of the story is about how Balasubramanyam, aka AB, connects the dots and saves the day to keep Vindha’s legacy alive.

First things first, Agnyaathavaasi feels like it was tailor made for Pawan Kalyan; however, it doesn’t take too long for us to figure out what a glorious mess the film turns out to be. Leave aside whether the film has anything new to say, the most baffling thing is the absence of emotion. We are hardly given a reason to root for Pawan Kalyan’s journey in the beginning portions of the film.

He quotes a quotable quote on how you have to fight a mini-war to earn every comfort in life, and why he wants to laugh heartily once again. The weight and depth of that profound line isn’t reflected in the action, and this, in particular, is a problem with the entire film. There are vignettes of wisdom that hardly sink in. For the most part, we just find ourselves staring at the screen wondering if we are truly watching a Trivikram’s film or if it was made by someone wanting to make a film and write like Trivikram does.

Like most other Trivikram’s films, we are given a step-by-step process which the lead protagonist is going to follow to achieve his goal. In this film, it focuses on how Pawan Kalyan gains entry into AB company, earns the trust of its two of the most powerful partners Sharma (Murali Sharma) and Varma (Rao Ramesh). What follows next is a potpourri of hyperbolic acting and mannerisms which is borderline eccentric by Pawan Kalyan.

Instead of it turning out to be amusing, the ‘wow’ factor is replaced by an emphatic ‘why’. Why did this film have to turn out this way? Why did we have to bear what’s being thrown at us? Why did Trivikram not see it coming that things weren’t working? Maybe he did. We would never know. Whatever the case maybe, there’s nothing more disappointing than the writing itself. Yes, there are some witty dialogues here and there, and some hilarious moments featuring Vennela Kishore and few other supporting actors, but the bird’s eye view of how Agnyaathavaasi is narrated, it is hardly inspiring. It’s silly at times, and funny occasionally, but largely a sign that the invincible too could have chinks in their armour.

Another issue that the film continues to grapple with is the characterisation of its lead actresses. Both Keerthy Suresh and Anu Emmanuel have underwritten roles, and they appear like a genie only when ‘script’ demands their presence. Pun intended. There’s a dialogue in the film which goes like, “When you don’t have new ideas, you just rehash old ideas.” However logical it might seem, this aspect tests our patience as far as the romantic subplot is concerned. Aadhi Pinisetty, Kushbu and Boman Irani too are lost in the proceedings, and they just exist to extoll the film’s lead character played by Pawan Kalyan.

For a change, the film’s production design is stunning and Manikandan’s cinematography is beautiful. And then, there’s Anirudh Ravichander whose music is one of the few things that actually leave an impression. Beyond all this, Agnyaathavaasi feels like it’s a lost opportunity. The narrative has shades of Chiranjeevi’s 1991 film Rowdy Alludu, but then, it goes nowhere. At the end of the day, I’m not sure if the film serves any purpose. It’s neither funny to the extent that it should have been nor engaging enough to root for the characters. Like a character in the film says - Sharma, Varma, Karma - those are the three words that actually make an impression long after watching the film.

Two big thumbs down. Everyone in Agnyaathavaasi deserved a better film. Maybe, when the dust settles down, someone needs to come out of exile to actually see how disappointing the film truly is.

Published Date: Jan 10, 2018 13:08 PM | Updated Date: Jan 10, 2018 14:55 PM