Movies

Evaru review: a volley of questions and answers

A poster from the movie ‘Evaru’, starring Regina Cassandra and Adivi Sesh

A poster from the movie ‘Evaru’, starring Regina Cassandra and Adivi Sesh  

This slick thriller headlined by Adivi Sesh holds the intrigue till the end, and marks the assured debut of director Venkat Ramji

First things first, to address the elephant in the room — Evaru is an official Telugu adaptation of the Spanish crime thriller Contratiempo (The Invisible Guest), which was adapted in Hindi as Badla. If you haven’t seen both The Invisible Guest and Badla, then Evaru can take you completely in its sway. Now the good thing is, even if you have seen either of those two films, Evaru has what it takes to keep you hooked with its key plot twists. That’s no mean feat.

Leading up to the film’s release, the Evaru team had been tight-lipped on the adaptation and understandably so, to avoid comparisons and also because a few plot twists have been reworked. You may be able to gauge the broad character sketches of the key characters, but the narrative holds the intrigue till the very end and packs in surprises.

The movie marks the directorial debut of Venkat Ramji, an assured storyteller, one who also knows how to get his actors to enact characters that cannot be boxed in immediately as black or white. He gets his technical team, especially composer Sricharan Pakala, editor Gary BH and cinematographer Vamsi Patchipulusu, to deliver just what’s required to elevate an interesting story, without drawing undue attention to themselves. The art direction and styling also complement the characters and the setting.

With Evaru, Adivi Sesh adds yet another feather to his cap in being a part of projects that are not just interesting, but also trust the intelligence of the audience to not spoon feed. He plays a supposedly corrupt cop called Vikram Vasudev, who is shrewd and smart but almost everything for him seems to revolve around money. He has the task of helping murder accused Sameera (Regina Cassandra) find a way to rise above the challenge she would face in court.

Sameera alleges rape as the reason for murdering police officer Ashok (Naveen Chandra). She’s stoic and turns the questions back to the media at a press conference, when she discloses why she chose to talk about her predicament to the world. In a message to victims of rape, she says ‘I am with you, I am you’.

Evaru (Telugu)
  • Cast: Adivi Sesh, Regina Cassandra, Naveen Chandra
  • Direction: Venkat Ramji
  • Music: Sricharan Pakala

When she shares her anecdote of harassment with Vikram, he doesn’t show empathy. He simply moves to a discussion on what goes into making good coffee! What follows is a series of verbal duels during which key revelations keep popping up and soon, both Vikram and Sameera aren’t what they seem to be. They are shape shifters.

Adivi Sesh aces his part, walking that thin line between coming across as insensitive and someone who is thinking two steps ahead in a larger gameplan.

A quibble in this film has to be about the pace at which the verbal duel unfolds. The dialogues by Abburi Ravi are spot on, but they are delivered in such a rush that I found it a little tough to savour them. The whole idea of a verbal tussle is that when you look back a little later, you should be able to recollect a few smart moments and remember the cleverness of it all. That didn’t happen.

However, as the story progresses, the film gets better and better and the pivotal twist at the end and its emotional heft are a triumph.

Regina gets a full-length role of substance after a long time and impresses in a part that requires her to be steely, vulnerable and scheming all at once. Naveen Chandra’s is another earnest performance and it would be good to see him in more parts that leverage on his capabilities. Murali Sharma and Vinay Varma put forth credible performances in brief parts, while Nihal Kodhaty is impressive as the young lad reflecting his determination to swim against the tide.

The police constable Reddy, with his fun mannerisms and lines, in a strange way reminded me of the constable Reddy from Kshanam, whose face we never saw.

Looking back, the film’s title as it appears in the credits also holds a clue. It’s a normal way of marketing a film to an audience that has already warmed up to its lead actor who has built a credible name for himself. But there’s also something more.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 8:36:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/evaru-review-a-volley-of-questions-and-answers/article29099470.ece

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