Cast: Nikhil Siddharth, Ritu Varma, Isha Koppikar, Rao Ramesh, Brahmaji, Raja Ravindra, Priyadarshi Pullikonda, Vennela Kishore, Ajay and Madhunandan
Music Composed by Sunny M R
Background Score by Prashanth Pillai
Edited by S R Shekar
Produced by Abhishek Nama
Directed by Sudheer Varma
Censor Certificate: UA & Runtime: 116 Minutes
Many literary writers say that there are no new stories. They’re probably right. But there are infinite ways to tell a story, and love him or hate him Sudheer K Varma tells simple stories in some of the very innovative ways imaginable (even though slightly ‘Inspired’). ‘Keshava’ is a film that demands its viewers undivided attention to fully appreciate the mo details. The movie invigorates the neo-noir film genre through the unique medical condition in its storyline, a defining element and the depth of its main character. The film submerges the audience into the lonely and pell-mell world of Keshava. Suffering from ‘dextrocardia with isolated laevocardia’, and sudden mysterious death of his parents, Keshava’s unorthodox quest to avenge his parent’s death becomes the focal theme of the film. Though the story is completely straightforward, the structure of the narrative and the unreliability of the narrator to create a complex story that questions the verisimilitude of its circumstance.
The character of Keshava plays two characters in the movie; one as the vindictive killer and the other as the narrator. The film blurs the line between the two in order so the audience can accept the accident and emotional angle has on the narrative. As the vengeful son, Keshava is guided by a set of limitations, part of his character’s equanimity, that affect his subsequent behavior in situations and the actions he is motivated to perform. Nikhil Siddhartha has knowledge of character, he has imagination to explore but his face seems to have struck in plastic sundry and even in his genuine attempts he looked confused. One cannot just blame the actor for his show, it is director’s fault too. Similarly, Ritu Varma seems like suffering with amnesia. She seems to have forgotten all that she learnt from Pelli Choopulu and slumbers around Nikhil in half sleep through out. While her character had some shades to deliver actor had only one shade of expressions. Leaving the main character in some distorted land of emotion Sudheer tries to generate empathy through Isha Kopikkar. The actress looks the part and performs well too but didn’t we see Prakash Raaj in Athadu? Cameos by Satya, Vennela Kishore, Madhunandan give you the episodic entertaining moments here and there in the gaps.
The base of this story is very simple. In the universal law, what you sow is what you reap. The gang of criminals here (happens to be major spoiler if revealed), unjustly commit a crime and hope to successfully erase it from their subjective and objective life style. They don’t show any empathy but neither the maker does on the audience. Here he clearly takes audience for granted or plainly dismisses their intelligence. Conveniently a car hits another car without any damage and then after trying to flee from the situation, remembers any evidence or chance of survival can tarnish their image. Run back to the location to find them all lying on the ground and run over them. Well, any sane or insane person would doubt how did they lie on the ground here! After that they would be highly careful in appointing their men to perform the necessary procedures rather than leaving it to chance. Okay, even if we believe that a logical brain in half conscious state doesn’t really work sane, how would you support an idea that the surviving kid doesn’t really fear for his life after knowing that they are behind him? He might have a medical condition but emotions are not that easy to control, how come writer never concentrated on bringing that angle, his suffocation due to fear to the forefront? Everything here is left for you to discover and explore without any hints! What sort a puzzle is that?
Revenge is a dish which people of taste prefer to eat cold ~ Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
Imagine in a world full of atrocities, you need to survive 12 years with a sister suffering from spinal injuries and un-treatable brain damage. What do you do? How did you got over the fact that living your life as it is, is nowhere simple now? Can you ask yourself such questions and come up with an engaging story? Yes, you can. So, when the writer doesn’t tap such potential and concentrate on showing the murders and cool escape routes, you do feel like watching a short film by an amateur but Sudheer Varma has laced with sub-verses in the frames that you can’t say he is an amateur. So did the writer in him lapsed into being a casualty off his ambition to create a skillful cold revenge drama while giving an ode to those sequences that mesmerized him? One tends to get highly confused with what went wrong for such a brilliant idea to go unexplored and a little over six ways to kill a person unveil on screen. Who is missing the point here? Is this just a story written to explore a person’s penchant with revenge or is it written to in-depth analyse the subject and then provide an argument of choice, is he right or wrong? If first one is the case, then the director succeeded brilliantly. His frames carry sufficient style and complexity to dwell into. But if second is the idea, as it appears to be, then the puzzle pieces that helps you crack the core are missing in Dam Cobb’s labarous limbo state, may be we need a Saito to re-ignite his memories and come out of the deep Slumber.
Well, the film is not a complete washout and thanks to Prashanth Pillai and Diwakar Mani for that. You understand that the idea of visual storytelling with strong sense of sound is existing somewhere over the back of the head of the maker. He asks his Background scorer to perform some mode of symphony through out to give a restlessness. He gives him some relatable imagery to let him dwell on the core but then that core goes missing in the loud score. We never get a moment of silence to recuperate on what happened and how? May be subconsciously he understood the loop holes in his write-up, major logical mishaps and wanted to cover it up with Background Score relentless. But when cuts to a song, Sunny MR lacks in same conviction like Prashanth and scores what he knows rather than what suits. Cinematography is real gem of this cold dish. You can say that only because of the tasteful upper layer you ignore the lack of core substance for max time. Alas, no one can survive on one layer only. You need characters and characters need a graph. You may not feel he is just, but you need a connection to let the logic go for a ride when all of sudden he figures out final twist without any hint. You also cannot ignore the shabby attempt of his friends to cover up his deeds. Karna needed six curses to justify his murder as a warrior but here Keshava needed just one good sequence to engage us encore in the journey.
A good writer once said let the idea flow and then scrap everything to reach a core. Even Quentin Tarantino, the major inspiration of Sudheer Varma, did the same when he found out that his Hateful Eight isn’t working at the core level. He needed to satisfy at least himself to kill them all. So he wrote back stories scrapping everything from his end. That worked like gold and he let the script and dialogue flow, giving suitable hints for an audience member to understand that these are low lives and need to die. Everyone is a culprit in some or the way and highly addicted to their thinking of just hatred. Well, Sudheer Varma takes the style in creating Chapters but misses what makes QT, the celebrated Quentin Tarantino. Blame his Telugu Cinema instincts or pure ignorance in taking inspiration, he sacrifices his zest that he showed in Swamy Ra Ra for an unholy dip in sewage canal thinking it is holy Ganges. I would like conclude this by saying Keshava is an opportunity missed by Nenokkadine proportions.
Survi Review : 2/5