A Crude Caste Drama
What Is the Film About?
Ardha Shatabdham is set in Siricilla, 2003. Krishna (Karthik Rathnam) is in love with Puspa (Krishna Priya) since childhood. Her father is a former Naxalite Ram (Sai Kumar). He teaches Pushpa folk dance.
Siricilla is also a village that is plagued by caste discriminations and feuds. So what happens when, under these highly tense environments, Krishna beats a guy assuming he proposes love to Pushpa is what the movie is all about?
How Is Karthik Rathnam ‘s Performance?
Karthik Rathnam is a perfect fit for the part. It is in a similar space to his debut but has a little bit of action, in addition. There is an inherent naivety and innocence in the eyes and face of Karthik, which works for him. He particularly suits the realistic terrain. But, the expressions lack depth and rely on the content to manage through.
Direction by Rawindra Pulle ?
Rawindra Pulle directs Ardha Shatabham. On the face of it, Ardha Shabdham is a familiar love story, and the caste angle furthers the ‘predictability quotient’. However, it doesn’t go the honour killing route in full throttle way in a routine sense.
The beginning few minutes sets up the various characters and the caste dynamics of the place. Once that is done, the entire first half is devoted to a non-existent love story or rather a one-sided love. One song follows another, and nothing else happens.
A weak hero unable to express his love (which is honest and pure) to a strong and intimidating heroine is a highly routine trope now. The many songs that come one after the other further increase a frustrating feeling.
Still, there is an undercurrent of innocence that shines and makes one look forward to the narrative. Yet, even in this aspect, the proceedings could have been much better. It would have brought out the missing gripping quality, then.
The core content related to the feud and caste angle kicks off from the pre-interval mark. The actual interval bang is poor due to its deceiving nature, though.
The second half does well in providing something to chew on for the audience. It has a central caste angle, but the way it blends in the love story without giving a routine vibe is decent.
The problem in the post-intermission segment is the execution. It is tacky and lacks depth and power. The crudeness of the predictable elements further dents the prospects. The missing finesse all over is glaringly apparent.
The writing needed to be strong here, and it can be felt that way only during the intercut conversation sequences of a minister and police. They are neatly placed and give a fresh coating to the routine and poorly executed drama.
And yet, despite all the failings, the central lead pair and their journey have enough intrigue to hold attention. Naturally, one wants to see how it all will end – whether on the expected lines or there is a surprise. It is here that Ardha Shatabdham succeeds, but only mildly.
Overall, Ardha Shatabdham is an honest attempt that wastes a lot of time to get to the point. However, once it does, it manages to engage moderately, in parts, despite the hackneyed plot involving caste angle. Give it a try, but with zero expectations as you have the forward option.
Krishna Priya and Others?
Krishna Priya is technically the heroine in the movie. She has a couple of songs too, but the reality is different. She is okay in part, which offers some scope for drama and emotions towards the end. The rest of the actors barring Sai Kumar, come across as one-dimensional and cardboard-ish. Even Sai Kumar has no big role, but he is crucial in key sequences. It is the same case with senior actor Subhalekha Sudhakar. He is present in few scenes, but they are impactful. Naveen Chandra is wasted.
Music and Other Departments?
The music by Nawfal Raja AIS is okay, considering the overall technical work for the movie. The background score, too, is decent in parts. The cinematography by Ashker, Venkat R Shakamuri, and EJ Venu is inadequate and inconsistent. There is a short film vibe throughout. The editing by J Pratap Kumar is alright. The writing is a let-down for the most part with generic lines. However, it is decent when involving the two senior actors.
Parts Of Second Half
No Emotional Connection
Plenty Of Cuss Words
A more proper build-up to the love story and integration of the background of the heroine’s father would have added more depth to the content. But, of course, it still would require better writing.
Did I Enjoy It?
Yes, But Very Few Parts
Will You Recommend It?
Yes, But With Huge Reservations
Ardha Shathabdham Movie Review by Siddartha Toleti