Ram Gopal Varma’s Anukshanam (2014) Movie Review
Cast: Manchu Vishnu, Tejaswi Madivada, Revathi, Kota Srinivasa Rao, Brahmanandam, Supreet, Sravan, Sana, Surya, Madhu Shalini.
Director: Ram Gopal Varma.
Censor Certificate: A
Runtime: 105 Minutes
Surya plays serial killer Sitaram, a deranged psycho who targets women, picks them in a cab and drags them back to his house in the middle of nowhere to stab them to death. Special officer Gautham (Vishnu Manchu) gets appointed for this special case. In a short span, killer strikes fear into people’s hearts. With the help of behavioural science specialist Shailaja (Revathi), Gautham gets closer to the killer. But Sitaram never stop producing bodies all over the city, makes a major mistake when he captures Aasha (Madhu Shalini). Gautham fails to capture the serial killer and gets suspended from his duties. Will Serial Killer gets captured? Will Gautham succeed in the hunt forms the rest of the storyline.
The serial killer Surya has the right look but his approach to this character could have been much better. Vishnu Manchu delivers a better performance – it’s a bit more demanding, requiring both quirkiness and emotion. Revathi’s character may not be perfect, but she plays it very well. Shravan and Supreet are decent as colleagues to Vishnu Manchu. Tejaswi Madivada and Madhu Shalini over emote on every possible occasion. Tejaswi’s relationship with the protagonist also never quite rings true. Even Samatha’s voice didn’t go well with Madhu Shalini’s character. Veteran actors Brahmanandam, Kota Srinivasa Rao are decent in their roles.
Anukshanam is an odd attempt at creating suspense – thriller, but ultimately fails for two reasons. The characters either are completely stupid or completely unrealistic at times. As real serial killers don’t play cat and mouse with profilers. The writers also drew inspirations from about 5 different serial killer movies [like The Lovely Bones (2012), Chained (2012), Fatal Vows: The Alexandra O’Hara Story (1994), American Psycho… etc] also turning this one into a flat and incoherent mess. The premise behind the film isn’t bad at all. Instead of witnessing cops and bystanders, they engage in heroics, how about a look at the pressures of a victim or behavioral specialist can go through. Unfortunately the writing is unbelievably melodramatic, cheesy and laughable. It just cannot be sustained for 100 minutes though. At around 20 – 25 minutes in the clichés, stupid characters, Incongruous murders, forced comedy and over dramatic dialogues completely take over. By the end you feel like you are watching completely different movie. Ram Gopal Varma tries to showcase his research on Psycho serial killers, and provide us possible indications about them (Extreme anti-social, Tendency towards to Voyeurism, Dominance from early age, Killing Animals, No remorse or regrets). Director also refers to top serial killers like Ed Amos, Gary Ridgeway, Randy Woodfield, Ted Bundy and also Auto Shankar, even their reference fails to create the much needed interest over the scenes. There are zero adrenaline moments. The amount of focus on Serial killer made me think this would turn out to be something out of the box. But it was below expectation, even with all the flair. The idea is great, but the script and the direction by RGV make Anukshanam an extremely boring watch. When it comes to serial killer movies, the key is to thrill the audience with the twists around as serial killers are hard to catch when they are relishing their victims.
Yet another uninspiring element in the film is its dialogues. Right from the obvious “Sachin ki Cricket ante istam, Naku champadam ante istam”, to the melodramatic “Champedi Dabbula kosam kadhu, Anandam kosam”, the dialogues literally show the laxity with which the film gets handled. The music is by-the-books, and the cinematography is also competent. Technically, it doesn’t strive for much, but it doesn’t have many flaws, either. Production values of 24 Frames Factory is fine.
RGV makes these low budget clunkers probably because he continuously finds both producers and desperate out-of-work actors willing to offer their services for a modicum. Logic, movie esthetic or entertainment value has nothing to do with his enterprise. Coming to Anukshanam, it’s a slow-moving “suspense thriller” which at times seems to have more in common with a typical investigation movie than a serial killer mystery. I hope there’s a better edit of this film somewhere as the current version makes little sense, seems to have scenes missing and rushes to an unsatisfactory ending. Anukshanam can only be enjoyed by people who have spent the last decade in caves and missed out on the many better films that clearly inspired it. On the whole, Anukshanam does manage to deliver an irie atmosphere but unfortunately doesn’t deliver on the rest.
The only silver lining, it is infinitely better than RGV’s Ice Cream.
Survi Review: 1.5/5
But if you are looking for a scary movie to see in this weekend at home, I would recommend “The Silence of the Lambs” “Chained”, “Fatal Vows: The Alexandra O’Hara Story”, “Memories”, “Stone Man Murders”, “Citizen X” and “From Hell”.