Recently, most of the debutant directors like Kumar Nagendra (Gundello Godaari, Raj Kiran (Geetanjali), Bobby (Run Raja Run), Vijay Kumar Konda (Gundejari Gallanthayindi) have been trying to think out of the box to make their mark; Chandu Mondeti too falls in this category. Instead of choosing a safe romantic comedy he picks a thriller to tell a story of an ancient temple that has been closed following unexplained deaths and in the second half, unravels the mystery and closes the story glorifying the existence of god but not before a superficial debate on religious beliefs and rational thinking. Chandu’s debut work is one of the better Telugu films seen in recent months but as a murder mystery set against a temple background, the film is not as thrilling as one would expect a work in this genre to be. The narration is good, keeps the curiosity factor alive but it is not the sort that keeps us on the edge of our seats and taking us to nail-biting climaxes. The story offers little thrill. In fact, the film ends sooner than expected, the director is in a hurry to reveal the story and once the suspense is revealed, you remark, “Oh! Is that all?”
How one wishes the auteur prolonged the story interestingly before revealing the reason behind the deaths.
The film is about a man Shankar (Raja Ravindra) who dares to explore the truth, researches why the Subramanya Swamy Temple remains closed and why anyone who attempts to question that is killed. Shankar reveals all in a book but just before he comes to the core reason, he is shown as being bitten by a serpent. Those who come to investigate and some others are also killed in the process. A medico Kumaraswamy (Nikhil) goes to Subramanyapuram where the temple is located on a medical camp and resolves to find the truth. The scenes that are built to make us believe that something is seriously wrong have been dealt very well.
It is a good cast and the actors do a commendable job. The locations are beautiful and the greenery in Visakhapatanam becomes a character in the movie. Swati looks pretty and does fair justice to her role, but she needs to seriously watch her weight. Nikhil proves he isn’t greedy and in a hurry to sign every film that comes his way. After Swami Ra Ra he has been careful and responsible.
There is sufficient humour and romance to keep the film balanced but the story with the twist is not so much about the crime but about the mindset of the criminal (Rao Ramesh) who uses a clever mix of science and religion to plan a brilliant murder. It is a good attempt but shouldn’t the director leave it to the audience to believe in the existence of God?
Cast: Nikhil, Swati
Direction: Chandoo Mondeti
Music: Shekar Chandra
Plot: Unravelling of murder mystery set against temple background
Bottomline: Could have been a great thriller but for some silly flaws