The beauty of Radha Mohan's films lies in human relations, the interpretation of feelings and emotions in varied forms. The conversations look very ordinary but on second thoughts it has profound meaning and is result of a deep psychological analysis. The director this time screens terror, focuses more on emotions than on violence. It is about how a journey on plane is interrupted by a terrorist group who hijack it and takes passengers as hostages, plants explosives somewhere on board and demand the release of their boss from jail. From thereon we get to see the agony the passengers go through, the anxiety of the kith and kin, stressful situations the government officials and mediators face, the media's excitement and pressure to get exclusive news and finally the entrance of new characters towards the climax who help the story move to a smooth and a rapid finish.

The film appears slow initially while introducing the characters, sometimes a film star's conversation with an awe struck fan borders on boredom but post interval, the action is heightened and the involvement of the audience with the characters is likewise increased. To beat the monotony of seeing the same visual inside a flight, the story moves back and forth showing how the dreaded terrorist was kidnapped and how the situation changes frenetically when the mediators learn they have a tough task ahead and bring in a junior artiste to secure the release of the passengers. There are no loud and funny dialogues but you laugh at a genuinely funny line during a heart pounding moment. Nagarjuna makes use of a superbly scripted thriller to dish out a highly believable performance, the best in recent times. Be it his poker faced reaction to Brahmanandam's egoistic and crazy behaviour or his heightened impatience and frustration at the government's indecision as time runs out, he does it with his simple yet imposing presence by not being the hero of the story.

We might have seen many hijack movies, there was a love story interspersed with a hijack drama in Aakasa Veedhilo but this is the first time in Telugu cinema we get to see a full length hijack drama despite having a predictable plot, maintains all the chills and thrills. The film is short and crisp, just 12 reels, no tortuous romance, scenes like the film star shrieking at a sight of cockroach in the flight bring in comic relief. Cinematography, the lighting complements the pace of the film, camera movement is dynamic and fluid. The only drawback is that the flight is flooded with characters. Poonam Kaur, Harsha, Ravi Prakash, Bharat Reddy, Prakash Raj all dazzle with their performances. So watch out for Operation Gaganam unfolding in the sky sitting in your seat wondering how it would be if you were to spend five days in captivity.

Gaganam

Cast: Nagarjuna, Prakash Raj

Direction: Radha Mohan

Genre: Thriller

Bottomline: Emotionally satisfying intellectually stimulating