Savyasachi movie review: Naga Chaitanya, Madhavan-starrer is a feeble drama, never exploring its full potential

Hemanth Kumar

November 02, 2018 14:30:15 IST

2.5/5

Much like Naga Chaitanya’s ambidextrousness in Savyasachi, there are two aspects in the film that never seem to be in sync with each other.

One of them is the primary idea on which the film is based upon, and it is called ‘Vanishing Twin Syndrome’. In other words, the lead character retains some aspect of his dead twin, which, in this case, turns out to be an almost superhuman strength in his left hand. And the other aspect of Savyasachi is how writer and director, Chandoo Mondeti, tries to use this superhuman element to elevate the storytelling.

As interesting as the core idea might seem, it doesn’t come into play until much later into the story and by then, we are as lost as the lead character is in the endless maze that’s created around him. It’s exhausting, to be honest, and after a point, you find yourselves rooting for the left hand to activate itself to not just save the lead character, but also lift the entire film from being a big bore.

Savyasachi is the story of Vikram (Naga Chaitanya) and how he makes peace with his twin brother, Aditya, who dies even before he’s born. The doctor tells him that Aditya will continue to live and manifest himself through his left hand. Vikram’s mother and sister understand this and they treat both Vikram and Aditya equally; however, Vikram hesitates to accept his condition for a long time. One fine day, his whole world falls apart when he gets a call from a mysterious man. The rest of the story is about how Vikram traces this stranger and saves his family.

Naga Chaitanya in Savyasachi.

‘Vanishing Twin Syndrome’ is the latest addition to the long list of medical conditions that have been used as a plot device in recent Telugu films.

For instance, amnesia became a driving force in Nani’s Bhale Bhale Magadivoy, and then, there was an extensive usage of integration disorder in Mahesh Babu’s 1-Nenokkadine where the protagonist isn’t sure if he’s hallucinating or not.

In Savyasachi, Vikram (Naga Chaitanya), knows right from the beginning that his left hand has a mind of its own and gets activated whenever Vikram gets extremely angry or happy. The two - Vikram and Aditya - are always at loggerheads with each other because, except his mother, everyone else sees his lack of control over Aditya as a defect. As a result, Vikram doesn’t let Aditya do anything unusual, which might attract unnecessary attention. It’s almost as if he treats his twin as an abnormality and doesn’t know what to do with it.

The same is true for the script too. Despite knowing how this medical condition can be utilised to create plenty of drama and adrenaline rush, Chandoo Mondeti holds back from using this aspect of the story to its full extent. And the only time the left hand is activated, we get our biggest paisa vasool moment in the film, and the crazy stunts that Naga Chaitanya pulls off is believable. But this happens so rarely that you are left wondering why didn’t we see more of this in the story. And this superpower doesn’t have a one-time validity either to be kept under check at all times.

A still from Savyasachi. YouTube screngrab

Madhavan in a still from Savyasachi. YouTube screngrab

In an attempt to make Vikram look as normal as possible, the film has him doing mundane things. He’s the kind of a guy who would prefer to go to the police station first if there’s a problem instead of activating his left hand to throw some punches. While one can justify this treatment of the script and its characters, there’s no reason why the narrative too had to be so laborious.

The romantic track between Naga Chaitanya and newcomer Nidhhi Agrewal lacks spark and there’s barely anything that makes you want to root for them. The film does, however, pay homage to some of Nagarjuna’s memorable moments including Shiva and a song from Nirnayam, apart from a remix version of Allari Alludu’s Ninnu Road Meedha. If this wasn’t enough, there’s also a punchline - “Chain ayina Chunni ayina, vella family chethilo padithe daani charisma ne maripothundhi. (Be it a chain or a stole, the moment it’s in the hands of the Akkineni family, it has a different charisma of its own).” If that doesn’t distract you from the main theme of the film, then the elaborate Subhadra Parinayam skit will. It’s straight out of the logbooks of a popular TV show Jabardasth, and it’s jarring to say the least.

Another aspect of Savyasachi which leaves a lot to be desired is how it treats its antagonist, played by Madhavan.

He’s introduced to us as a super intelligent guy, who’s capable of hacking any bank account, mobile phone, among many other things. And he can just use his clever tactics to scare anyone he wants to. But the moment the real reason behind his elaborate ploy is revealed, it doesn’t quite have the same effect. For someone who’s supposed to be a psychopath, Madhavan is way too charismatic and straight-forward when it comes to emoting the part. Like Vikram (Naga Chaitanya), even Madhavan’s character doesn’t fully explore what he’s capable of doing.

Naga Chaitanya’s sincerity is evident when he’s playing a doting uncle to his niece and there are moments in Savyasachi which are quite intense. But there’s something quite awkward about the film, in terms of how it explores the relationships, friendship in college, or even love for that matter. The supporting characters in the film, including Bhumika, Vennela Kishore, Tagubothu Ramesh, and Shakalaka Shankar, play their part well, although they don’t quite change the course of the story.

The frustrating part about Savyasachi is watching how little it achieves despite having an interesting premise. It could have been cracker of a film, but it isn’t quite so. The left hand packs a punch, but the narrative doesn’t.

Updated Date: Nov 02, 2018 14:30 PM