Aswathama movie review: Naga Shaurya’s action thriller is engaging, but needed a better ending
Aswathama does have a lot going in its favour. It sticks to what it wants to say without meandering too much.
The premise of Naga Shaurya’s latest action thriller, Aswathama, is quite unsettling, especially when you think about its eerie similarities to a real-life incident which rocked Hyderabad a few months ago.
Although the story, written by Shaurya, is not exactly inspired from the same incident, the emotional undercurrent throughout the film, where family members panicking over the disappearance of young women, and people looking for answers when there are none, captures the fears and anger quite well.
Directed by Ramana Teja, Aswathama is an engaging action thriller, which will keep you on the edge of your seat. However, there is also an inherent problem with the story. It does not find a great twist to end the story on a high.
The film follows the journey of Ganaa (Shaurya), who returns to India for his sister’s engagement. However, soon, he realises that something bad has happened to her, which leads him to trace the culprits. What shocks him even more, in the course of his investigation, is his sister is not the lone victim. The rest of the story is about how Ganaa connects the dots to find out why scores of young women have been disappearing for no reason, and why, when they wake up, they find themselves in a hospital.
The biggest strength of the film is the sense of urgency which it creates soon after the protagonist, Ganaa, is introduced. Teja, the director, hardly gives us enough time to get familiar with the characters. And before we know it, Ganaa is racing through the streets in Vizag to find out who had been harassing his sister, and also uncover the suspense behind why she does not remember anything.
It is not just the narrative that keeps you at the edge of the seat but also a major credit for that goes to Shaurya. After playing a series of roles where he played the boy-next-door, the actor has reinvented himself as an action hero, and the transformation works quite well. More than the writing, it is the way and the pace at which the scenes unfold that make you invest emotionally in the story. Editor Garry, who had earlier worked on Goodachari, Evaru, and Kshanam, does not let you sit back even for a moment, especially in the first half of the film. Ghibran’s background score is thrilling to say the least.
And then, there is Jishnu Sengupta, who keeps the film together in the latter half with his cold-hearted approach to play the role. There is a scene in particular, where he invites a bunch of people for lunch at his house. The way Jishnu pulled off that scene is fascinating. His character is insane and a psychopath in every sense, but he looks and behaves like a true gentleman. Maybe, that is what makes his performance so memorable.
Newcomer Sargun Kaur, who played Shaurya’s sister, is a good find. She is delivers a noteworthy performance in her brief but important role. Mehreen, who plays Shaurya’s romantic interest, fits the role of a young woman who is caught in a tricky situation.
Yet, there are a bunch of glaring problems with the film, especially in the second half. After a superb first half, the moment the suspense is revealed, it leaves you with a lot more questions than answers. The villain’s backstory, in particular, seems meek in the larger scheme of things. It does not explain why he continues doing what he does even after all those years.
Perhaps, nothing else in the story is as disappointing as the climax itself. After all those twists and turns, where we are rooting for the hero, the way he figures out the culprit is quite bland. And quite frankly, by the time the film ends, you do not quite feel the same high which the film leaves you with at its interval point.
For all its flaws, Aswathama does have a lot going in its favour. It sticks to what it wants to say without meandering too much. If only it had found a better way to end the story, and not reveal its suspense in such a simple manner!
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