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Chandrasekhar Yeleti
Gopichand, Tapsee, Shakti Kapoor, Ali
BVSN Prasad
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Gautham (Gopichand) is a guard in a private security agency. His core ambition in life is to become wealthy.

Gautham`s grandfather Varma (Suman) was a prosperous diamond merchant in Peshawar, before the India-Pak partition happened. A will describes how much of wealth Varma has left for his descendants. But as fate would have it all these riches are in Pakistan and are with the legendary Hinglaj Devi temple.

Gautham now sets out to Pakistan to get what is rightfully his. He has a partner in this adventure. Sreenidhi (Tapsee), a staunch believer of Hindu religion. Little does Gautham know that there is some dreaded Pakistani terrorists, headed by Sultan (Shakti Kapoor), after the wealth that is rightfully his.

Added to this the adventure just gets bigger, with a new group belonging to the Kanishka empire joining the treasure hunt. Will Gautham make it to the treasure chest forms the crux of the movie?

Not long ago adventure thrillers and treasure hunt movies used to hit the screens at regular interval like Indiana Jones series and National Treasure. Even in Telugu cinema, we have had films like the hugely popular Mosagallaki Mosagadu. Now, Hollywood has shifted its focus to visual effects oriented science fiction, and Tollywood is focusing on masala entertainers. With Saahasam, director Chandrasekhar Yeleti brings back this genre to the fore in Tollywood.

With rich technical values, he has made the movie in his distinctive style. He is known for making different kind of movies (Aitey, Anukokunda Oka Roju) and his flair for visuals is much-appreciated. Absolutely amazing artwork, neat visual effects and good cinematography makes Yeleti`s new movie visually alluring. Last 25 minutes show the imagination of the director and the marvelous contribution of the technicians. Saahasam is high on technical values.

In Saahasam, hero is on mission to bring back his grandfather`s diamonds that were left in a Hindu temple in Pakistan before partition. Archaeologists also believe that huge treasure of gold and other valuables belonging to a Kanishka ruler is hidden in the same place. The hero`s mission to bring back his diamonds seems very simplistic.

Given this single-thread plot line (though the story is far novel from the regular stuff that we witness in Telugu cinema), there are hardly any suspense elements in this treasure hunt cum adventure thiller as anyone can easily guess what happens in the end. That is the movie`s drawback.

Writer and director Chandrasekhar Yeleti completely hinges on the visuals - the panoramic visual palette of Ladakh area, and the episode of hidden chamber where the treasure is located. He has succeeded in bring out the best. But the movie starts off very slowly and has very few `thrilling` moments.

In the first half of the film, there is not much movement in the story. He has taken more than one hour to establish the story. And pace of the movie is uneven too.

Adventure thrillers work when the thrilling moments are aplenty. The director has used them only in the end. It is hard to imagine a security guard at ATM in Hyderabad going to Pakistan and completing his mission in an area full of terrorists.

Rich production values, technicians` superb work and the last 30 minutes are what makes the movie an interesting watch.

Gopichand has lost weight and his lean body is perfect to portray the role. He has done full justice to the character. Tapsee looks beautiful in this film. She has not much role.

She still has to perfect her Telugu. Shakti Kapoor is a delight to watch. In the role of a Pakistan terrorist, you hardly fault him be it his getup or his acting style. Ali`s comedy is off-putting.

The film completely belongs to technicians. Cinematographer Shadat has captured the locations of Ladakh on grand manner. His work is commendable and has given the film a very rich look. The film is visually alluring because of his high-standard work. And art director Ramakrishna`s work stuns you. In number of sequences in the movie his work is amazing.

The well that leads to treasure chamber, the hidden chamber and set up of archaeological site in Ladakh are testimony to his great work. Of course, visual effects team ably aided him. These three wings - art, cinematography and visual effects are in right sync.

Senior music director Sri has provided superb background score. This is his comeback film. But his songs are not worth mentioning though. Dialogues are okay. Costumes are perfect. Action sequences are quite okay.

Director Chandrasekhar Yeleti has once again come up with a film that doesn`t fall in regular genre. He has always been good at making the movie technically sound and visually beautiful. In Saahasam, his creative imagination is clearly visible in the last 30 minutes of the movie.

Saahasam is a well-made adventure thriller that has high technical values. Watch out for the penultimate sequences.

Rating: 3/5


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