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Awe review: A psychological thriller that doesn't offer much

Superficial and far-fetched

SIFY

Friday 16 February 2018

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Movie Title

Awe

Director

Prasanth Varma

Star Cast

Kajal Aggarwal, Nithya Menen, Regina, Eesha Rebba, Avasarala, Priyadarshi, Pragathi, CVL, Rohini

Kaali (Kajal Aggarwal) wants to commit “mass murders”. As she ponders over sitting in a restaurant before committing the act, several stories are revealed. The story of the restaurant’s chef, the stewardess, a girl who came with her parents to have dinner and about the watchman. Each one has a distinct story to share, and each one of them, obviously, have a connection to Kaali. How and why? And what “mass murders” is she going to commit?

The genre of psychological thriller does offer little variety as many angles had been covered by various filmmakers worldwide. New director Prasanth Varma has cleverly concealed the genre till the end. He begins the story in a rather interesting manner by not revealing anything about Kajal Aggarwal and instead focusing on various characters in the restaurant.

Watch the trailer here:

Much like James Mangold’s 2003 Hollywood movie Identity, the story happens at hotel/restaurant. But both the movies tread different paths. Director Prasanth Varma and his team of writers (credited to Scriptville) have penned the screenplay in the style of hyperlink cinema – various subplots of individual characters getting linked to one main character/incident.

After establishing the protagonist Kaali’s (played by Kajal Aggarwal) role for few minutes, the story jumps to the episode of a young girl introducing her lesbian lover to the traditional Telugu parents and when they know that their daughter is seeing a woman, we get to see the movie’s title Awe juxtaposing the expressions of the parents.

Later we get to see the sub-stories of a chef Nala (Priyadarshi) coming to the restaurant to seek the job and trying to pass the test put by the owner. We also get to see a junkie Meera (Regina) helping her boyfriend stealing the bag full of cash from a customer in the restaurant. There is also a story of a watchman named Shiva (Avasarala) who tries to be a scientist and is aiming to invent the time machine to see his parents through time travel. We also get to see the story of a narcissist magician called Yogi (played by Murali) and his antics.

All these episodes consume 90 percent of the movie that has a runtime of fewer than two hours. The twist in the tale is revealed in the last 15 minutes. The twist might astonish some audiences but cinephiles don't have much to look forward to. However, the film’s message of against the child abuse is effective. But overall setup is superficial and far-fetched.

Director Prasanth has shown his creative angle in handling the individual episodes – some are hilarious, some are spooky and some are bizarre. However, the overall effect is underwhelming as it turns dreary as the movie progresses.

The technical team have come up with the best output especially the art director needs to be appreciated. The cinematography is decent.

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As far as performances are concerned despite Kajal Aggarwal getting top billing she doesn’t have much role and there is hardly any scope to show her performance skills than being remorse for the most part. Regina as drug junkie, Priyadarshi as Chef and Murali Sharma as magician make their presence felt among the characters. The voices of Nani and Ravi Teja are included to generate some laughs.

As a writer and director, Prasanth Varma has shown quirkiness in writing characters. Why the title Awe? Is it the base for rest of the alphabet much like the Kajal Aggarwal’s character?

Awe is psychological thriller of a traumatized woman told in episodic stories. There are many individual episodes that are strangely funny but the overall drama seems too far-fetched. The final twist in the tale is unconvincing. Second half is mostly bore.

Awe review: 2 1/2 Stars