Shamanthakamani movie review: The final act rescues this film from a crash

Hemanth Kumar

Jul,14 2017 18:42 29 IST

2.75/5

One Night. A Rolls Royce. Three Suspects. One Police Officer - This is what Shamanthakamani is all about.

If you haven’t guessed it by now, the title refers to a Rolls Royce, worth Rs 5 crores, which is stolen after a party in a hotel. The news turns into a major embarrassment for the cops and it forces a police officer to go on a wild goose chase to find out where the car is. While the premise sounds thrilling, the film doesn’t quite live up to its promise almost till the final act.

In the end, writer and director Sriram Aditya, manages to manoeuvre the star-driven vehicle into a safe space, which is probably its biggest achievement apart from brining together the star cast.

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Right in the beginning, we are told that the Rolls Royce has been stolen and Krishna (Sudheer Babu), whose family owns the car, rushes to the police station to register a complaint. The news spreads like wild fire. Ranjith Kumar (Nara Rohit) summons three suspects - a mechanic (played by Rajendra Prasad), Shiva (Sundeep Kishan), and a happy-go-lucky guy (Aadi) . The rest of the story is about Ranjith trying to find out who the culprit is.

Throughout the first half, all I kept wondering was - When the premise of a story is this promising, what can possibly go wrong? A possible explanation lies in the very tone of the film itself. The film fits perfectly into a thriller genre; however, it’s treated more like a comedy. There are quite a few laughs, thanks to Raghu Karumanchi, who plays the role of a constable, and also, partly from Satyam Rajesh.

This treatment doesn’t allow us to take the fate of the four characters seriously and to make things even more tough for us to emotionally invest in each of the characters, the narrative jumps from one character to another, rather quickly, while trying to establish the characters. Yes, we do empathise with Krishna (Sudheer Babu) because for him, the car holds a sentimental value. But the same isn’t true for others in the plot. As a result, we hardly empathise with the fate of these characters who never seem to be that desperate or shrewd enough to commit the crime.

The plot comes together in the final act of the film when, all of a sudden, Sriram Aditya takes a complete U-turn to let the story reach a logical conclusion. There’s every reason to argue that the writers took a convenient route to spring a last minute surprise. The problem with this twist in the tale is that there’s hardly a hint of it till the very end. It might seem like a surprising choice, but it comes across more like an afterthought. 

What actually works in the favour of the film are the performances from all its lead actors. Sudheer Babu is pretty earnest in his role as a rich guy, who’s constantly sidelined by his father. Then, there’s Sundeep Kishan, who shines in his character as a small-town guy wanting to make it big in the city by hook or crook. Aadi has a meaty role as a hyper-active youngster, whose relationship with a rich girl is under threat. Rajendra Prasad and Indraja pull off their roles with ease. Nara Rohit is perfect as a hot-headed cop.

Sriram Aditya’s debut film Bhale Manchi Roju soared high, thanks to its zany style and treatment.

While Shamanthakamani could have been in a similar space, it lacks both the style and a solid storytelling that can do justice to its theme.

We will never know if this is due to the task of having to balance the arc of all the characters or having to make the film more accessible to everyone. Whatever it might be, Shamanthakamani left me with mixed feelings. It’s a cool idea and it definitely deserved a better film.