Review Movies

‘Awe’movie review: moments of awesomeness


Debut writer-director Prashant Varma pushes the boundaries with an unconventional narrative

Awe is an unusual film. The trailer didn’t give away anything, except the fact that a few well-known actors have come together to do something new. A film like this can be a double-edged sword, with potential to be a game changer or end up as an experiment not many would care to watch. Awe turned out to be a slow-burn, shape-shifting film as it introduced its key characters and the strange worlds they inhabit.

Strange or outlandish are the operative words. Consider a wannabe chef (Priyadarshi) trying to land a job by following recipes from the internet, and later from the observant and witty fish (dubbed by Nani) in the kitchen. Then, there’s a curiously designed café with an equally curious-looking watchman (Srinivas Avasarala) who’s actually a mad scientist building a time machine and striking a conversation in Morse code with a guest.

Elsewhere, a distraught young woman (Kajal Aggarwal) is contemplating an extreme step. Also in the picture are an elderly man (Adarsh Balakrishna’s father) living in memory of his wife and a junkie (Regina) who, along with her boyfriend, looks forward to a different future by hook or crook.

You laugh aloud as Nithya Menen breezes through her part, oblivious to the effect of her presence or conversation on the elderly couple seated across the table. You tear up when another young woman talks about her past, one that’s scarred by abuse as a child; experiences that made her seek not just a new identity, but also be open to the idea of same sex marriage.

Debut writer-director Prashant Varma discusses issues of gender, abuse, identity and loss through a fabulous set of characters (aptly enacted by the several actors in this film) and an idea that holds it all together. The crux of the story lies in the last 15-20 minutes as the narrative shifts back and forth to a crucial point that changes the course of things. Amid all the initial humour, there are several cues — of a story told from a woman’s point of view. Kajal Aggarwal, Nithya Menen, Eesha Rebba and Regina shine through, giving their all to characters that don’t come by often.

With cinematographer Karthik Ghattamaneni and composer Mark K Robin, the director treats each of the segments and characters differently, with distinct colour palettes and background scores. When it all comes together with the big, final reveal, it turns out to be a a laudable idea and the writer-director doesn’t over-explain this to his audience. He leaves you to construct the film backwards and piece together the puzzle.

Awe has its moments of awesomeness. The format is interesting and so is the treatment of the different segments. But, it is wow enough? It could have been, had the coming together of the segments been even more seamless. The magician part, in particular, felt out of sync.

Oh wait, even this experiment leaves a little room for ‘mass’ humour in the form of Ravi Teja’s voice for a tree. His comments on eating shoots and leaves while on ‘diet’ are good fun.


Cast: Kajal Aggarwal, Nithya Menen, Eesha Rebba and Regina Cassandra

Direction: Prashant Varma

Storyline: A multi-genre film that stages the story of a distraught woman quite differently.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 7:16:50 PM |

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