UA – Romantic/Drama
What Is the Film About?
Sitara (Sandhya Raju) harbours a dream of performing ‘Kadambari’ Natyam at her village temple. She is trained from childhood for the same. However, an unexpected altercation with city-bred guy Rohit changes her life. She is forced out of the village due to her relationship.
Did Sitara fulfil her dream? What is the real story behind the ‘Kadambari’ dance? What happens to the Sitara – Rohit forms Natyam’s basic plot.
Sandhya Raju is a classical dance proponent and a Kuchipudi performer. The whole idea of Natyam sets from the same thought of promoting classical dances. It is a noble cause, and she has to be appreciated for that.
However, when it comes to acting, Sandhya Raju doesn’t really light up the screen. She lacks the presence in regular sequences. She manages to hold attention during dance blocks, but otherwise, it is plain Jane stuff. It is more apparent in the modern setting during the second hour of the film. The temple backdrop and the traditional weak masks it a little bit in the first hour, though.
Revanth Korukonda directs Natyam. It is a challenge to make a movie based on classical dance form in today’s time. But, Natyam is not entirely that, and there is a neat blend of commerce and art in the story, especially on paper.
The movie begins with the voiceover and imagery explaining the ‘Kadambari’ dance myth in a village. The core idea regarding the ‘Natyam’ and different aspects related to the story are appropriately integrated. For this reason, one must not miss the beginning of the film.
The actual story begins with Sitara and her ambition to perform a dance in the village. There is no surprise here, and the rest of the proceedings also follow the same pattern. Nothing unexpected happens, or there is a surprise in the narrative.
The amateurish making further creates a distraction in engaging with the content. There is a serial like quality with the proceedings. One never warms up to the characters or their world. It has a direct effect on the primary goal of dance. There is a lack of empathy and care with it.
Still, the first half happening in a village backdrop, mostly in and around the temple, offers something new visually. It is only in comparison to the routine, which makes one remotely interested. The documentary-style execution is a downer.
The pre-interval and interval sequences are decent compared to the rest. There is a sense of drama here, unlike the rest, which gives a documentary feel. Also, after all the build-up, the forcing out of lead from the village adds curiosity to the second half as to how things will be back on track.
Unfortunately, the second half is a big disappointment. It is derailed once the narrative is relocated to the modern setup. The whole thing looks different, including the leads. Again, the idea of taking ‘Kadambari’ wide through the dance is nice, but the way it is presented is ho-hum.
The slight twist in the tale at the pre-climax is very ordinary and predictable (Kamal Kamaraju’s episode). One can see that coming from miles.
After all the endurance, the entire narrative of Natyam is set up for the grand extended dance-based finale. It has all the trappings of a blockbuster. There is a story within a story kind of idea here, which, if executed well, could have ended Natyam on an emotional and dramatic high.
The bottom line here is the extended climax portion had great potential. Unfortunately, the director squanders the opportunity big time. What we end up feeling is tired and exhausted by the time the entire sequence ends. It feels never-ending and never for a tiny second gives a high. It is a colossal execution failure.
The way the story of Sitara and Rohit is developed also has a connection to the flashback. Once the climax is over, and we look at things in hindsight, a feeling of huge potential getting wasted is definite to come to everyone’s mind. But, nothing is done correctly to give the emotional and dramatic appeal.
Overall, Natyam had the ingredients mixing the classical dance elements with great drama and emotions, but it flounders the opportunity big time. The lack of cinematic appeal makes it a no-no for a theatrical watch. But, do give it a try once it is on an OTT platform if you like to see something different.
There are limited artists in the movie besides Sandhya Raju. Among the few, the guy playing Rohit looks like he has come out of an acting institute and tried the methods cinematically for the first time. The body language and dialogue delivery give that impression. Kamal Kamaraju and Adithya Menon are adequate. They do as is expected of them, and so does Subhaleka Sudhakar in a small role. Bhanupriya has got only a couple scenes.
Music and Other Departments?
The music by Shravan Bharadwaj is alright. The background score lacks the impact that is essential for movies like these. The cinematography is poor, and so is the editing, which makes Natyam slower than it is. The writing needed to be better for a more significant impact.
Parts Of First Half
No Emotional Connect
No Dramatic Flair
Adding drama to the proceedings with a proper commercial director would have elevated the whole story. Usually, one looks at changing parts of the story, but here a new outlook (commercially) with a different director comes to mind.
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Natyam Review by Siddartha Toleti