‘Ooru Peru Bhairavakona’ movie review: For want of some real magic

Director Vi Anand’s Telugu film ‘Ooru Peru Bhairavakona’, starring Sundeep Kishan and Varsha Bollamma, has interesting ideas that do not translate into an engrossing fantasy drama

February 16, 2024 05:00 pm | Updated 05:01 pm IST

Sundeep Kishan and Varsha Bollamma in director Vi Anand’s Telugu film ‘Ooru Peru Bhairavakona’

Sundeep Kishan and Varsha Bollamma in director Vi Anand’s Telugu film ‘Ooru Peru Bhairavakona’

A bag full of stolen jewellery. A man on the run. People displaced from a village seeking justice. In another village, its inhabitants hold onto grudges from the past. A love story that has the potential to solve several issues. The Telugu film Ooru Peru Bhairavakona, written and directed by Vi Anand, weaves all these threads together and adds elements of fantasy and magical realism to this mix. One night, in the middle of nowhere, when the film’s protagonist Basu or Basavalingam (Sundeep Kishan), accompanied by his friend John (Viva Harsha), walks through a canopy of glowing fireflies, it hints at something magical on the other side. It’s a facade. What lies beyond makes the characters think about life, death, the afterlife and the need to heal wounds from the past.

Now imagine a remote village that holds several secrets and becomes a one-way street from which there is no exit. This is the setting for a chunk of the narrative. There is ample scope to make the audience suspend their disbelief and give in to the elements of fantasy. While all this might sound interesting on paper, does it translate into an engaging film? 

Ooru Peru Bhairavakona (Telugu)
Director: Vi Anand
Cast: Sundeep Kishan, Varsha Bollamma, Kavya Thapar, Harsha, Vennela Kishore
Storyline: A stuntman is on the run with stolen jewels and stumbles upon a village with mystic powers.

Ooru Peru… begins like any other film. Basavalingam and his friend John are among the hundreds of behind-the-scenes warriors of the film industry, working in the stunt department. When he is not a stunt double for a film hero on the sets, Basavalingam is cornered into doing odd jobs, including keeping an eye on a kidnapped woman!

One night, when he and John are on the run with a bag of jewellery, they cross paths with con woman Geetha (Kavya Thapar). Escaping the cops, they drive into the jungles and stumble upon a village named Bhairavakona. The trio try to make sense of the village and its mystic rituals and discover, to their horror, that nothing is what it seems.

Some of Vi Anand’s earlier films such as Ekkadiki Pothavu Chinnavada, Disco Raja and Okka Kshanam happen in fantastical, mysterious settings. In Ooru Peru…, he has a story that can make us think what if souls get a chance to heal? What if the soul learns that a loved one is being taken care of or learns that someone else is soldering on to complete their unfulfilled mission? 

While the film wants us to spare a thought for such possibilities, it does not want us to take the narrative too seriously either. So the film is peppered with humour, some of which appears forcefit and dilutes the narrative. A few fun lines hit the mark and pep up the proceedings at least momentarily, like the exchanges between Harsha and Vennela Kishore. After a crucial reveal at the midway mark, which changes the way we look at several characters in the story, when one character says ‘show some respect to the dead people’, it generates laughter. But elsewhere, a dialogue made me wonder if the ghost of a man who died decades ago would be familiar with Photoshop.

Several fiery-looking characters inhabit Bhairavakona. As the village’s secrets are revealed, these characters begin to look less eerie. Even the jumpscares don’t bring in the fear factor. 

The crux of the story is the romance between Basavalingam and Bhoomi (Varsha Bollamma) that drives this narrative. However, it doesn’t have the emotional gravitas despite the actors putting their earnest foot forward. Ideally, we should be rooting for Basavalingam who ventures into the danger zone, risking his limb and life. But the patchy narrative keeps us at arm’s length. There is also the subplot of Bhoomi, who, true to her name, fights for the cause of her native land. That, too, doesn’t have the intended emotional depth.

All that talk about the four missing pages of the Garuda Puranam also doesn’t sustain interest for too long. The melodious ‘Nijame ne chebuthunna…’ song and the glowing, magic staff in the protagonist’s hands are too little and too late to keep us invested. An earnest Sundeep Kishan and some of the songs composed by Shekhar Chandra are the film’s bright sparks. The relentless background score, though, drowned some of the dialogues.

Ooru Peru Bhairavakona could have been an interesting fantasy romance drama that makes us think of life, death and the afterlife. However, it misses its mark by a huge mile.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.