This January, Ram Gopal Varma proved that he has regained some of his lost mojo through the gripping Killing Veerappan . But Attack was made earlier, though it found a theatrical release now. A few minutes into the film, it’s evident this is one of the many projects from his factory that ends up being a punishing watch.
Varma has at his disposal actors who come up with a restrained, mature performance. Be it Prakash Raj, Jagapati Babu or Manchu Manoj, they lend gravitas to their parts. But they can do little to salvage a film that offers nothing new, and worse, ticks off every idiosyncrasy one has come to expect from Varma. The characters too are poorly etched and sadly, unidirectional.
Sample these :
Odd camera angles : At one point, Varma’s films broke norms and constructed scenes from different point of view. Over time, the quirkiness gave way to indulgent, peculiar and even dizzy camera angles. In Attack , the camera speaks from many odd places — from behind a gas burner, from the view of a man who continues to eat his meal as a cold-blooded murder is carried out or from the ground level, where pigeons stand witness to murder in broad daylight.
Voiceovers : Each time the camera hovers over the lanes of Old City, the voice of a regional television reporter encapsulates recent events. So much so that viewers in the hall guffaw and do mock voiceovers whenever an aerial shot comes up.
Background score : The music is blaring and unrelenting. The high-pitched ‘attack attack attack attack…’ drawl coincides with each attack on the principal characters.
Hackneyed characters : Characterisation is Attack ’s biggest letdown. Through the film, we see Guru Raj (Prakash Raj) doling out his views of what’s good, bad, in-between and what he feels is applicable. These come in spurts of flashback and the very image of Prakash Raj in the latter portions is an indication of more gyaan.
Whenever Valli (Surabhi) is spotted in the frame, she pleads with or chides Radha (Manoj) to not follow the path of violence.
The antagonist Abhimanyu Singh is rarely seen without his lady love (Poonam Kaur), who appears doped and sultrily approves of his mean ways. In some cases, she joins him in delivering blows to the victim.
Story? It’s the same old tale one has seen in many Varma films — a family headed by a doyen (Prakash Raj) fights a common enemy. One brother (Vadde Naveen), considered good for nothing, is a chink in the armour and the younger son (Manoj) is reluctantly pulled into the mess.
As an afterthought, one wonders if the Attack is on the viewers.
Cast : Manchu Manoj, Prakash Raj, Jagapati Babu
Direction : Ram Gopal Varma
Story line : The younger brother avenges his father’s and his brother’s killers
Rating : 2/5