Moderately Engaging With An Intriguing Idea
What Is the Film About?
In a distant and anonymous location, a tribal community is living devoid of knowledge of civilization. A local Dora (Vinay Varma) rules them and is seen as God by the locals. How a radio thrown away by Chandram Master (Samuthirakani) changes their lives is the movie’s basic plot.
It is a small part in the end but essential to take the narrative to its conclusion. Samuthirakani is apt for the role of Chandram Master. He has done well in expressing wonderment and confusion and later doing his duty as a teacher. There is nothing heavy-duty to be done here performance-wise. Samuthirakani does whatever is given to him with sincerity, and it reflects on screens. It blends well with the overall innocence.
Ashwin Gangaraju makes his directorial debut with Aakashavani. It is an exciting concept that has a traditional mythological root in the story of Hiranyakashyapa.
The movie opens pleasantly with lush forest backdrop tribal visuals. The music is soothing. The director succeeds in instantly transporting us to a different world.
However, as more about the world is revealed, the story resembles typical oppression setup fares. A lord, a higher power, has held a community captive like slaves and gets his work done. Only the tribal background is different here.
The genuine interest in the movie starts only when Gidda sets his eye on the radio. From then onwards, there is an engaging narrative making one look forward to what happens next.
The pre-interval and interval blocks are well thought out and reflect the core theme of the movie. The connection of radio with God is well established from the point of view of the tribal people.
The second half continues on the same intriguing factor. The way the bonding between the radio and the people grows is both amusing and interesting. The same emotion is maintained and enhanced further with the introduction of ‘modern’ and ‘outsider’ teacher to the tribal world.
The conversation between the teacher and the high priest of the community are well written and sure to make one ponder. Its simplicity is what makes it work. It makes one look away or ignore the ‘logic’ of it all. The right words coming out of the radio at the right time is illogical, but one doesn’t mind it as the proceedings give a genuine vibe.
The evolution from stone to radio, the death star, not crossing the line of the forest cover etc., are some well-placed arcs that provide a nice payoff.
Unfortunately, the ending slides into a typical commercial zone where it is all about the revolt. The connection with Hiranyakashyapa mythology is an excellent idea. But, the way it is executed is not up to the mark. It is way too cinematic and looks a little out of place with the rest of the film.
Overall, Aakashavani is a good idea and decently executed fare. The commercial segments at the beginning and end and its routine parts bring down the overall appeal. It is still worth a watch once for its creative and intriguing sequences before and after the interval.
Mime Madhu as Rangadu is good. He lives in part much like the rest and makes it believable. He does well in the emotional scenes in the second half of the movie. Master Prashanth brings out the innocence of a kid to the fore neatly. His wonderment whenever discovering something new makes the narrative tick. Vinay Varma is decent as the ruthless Dora, a reincarnation of Hiranyakashyapa. However, we have seen him do similar in the past, though. Getup Sreenu is wasted. The rest of the cast is fine in their minor roles.
Music and Other Departments?
The music and the background score by Kaala Bhairava are good. The latter especially is superb and gives a unique feel to the movie. The songs, unfortunately, add to the length and seem unnecessary. The cinematography by Suresh Raghutu is a mixed bag. Some scenes are fabulous and add to a surreal feel and make us a part of the setting. There are many which give a short film vibe. The editing by Sreekar Prasad is first-rate. The VFX could have been better. The writing is okay.
Pre-Interval and Interval
Making In Parts
The entire Dora track could be better developed to bring a mystic element to the proceedings. As it stands, it comes across as a routine villain track in a commercial fare.
Did I Enjoy It?
Yes, In Parts
Will You Recommend It?
Aakashavaani OTT Movie Review by Siddartha Toleti