Awe movie review: Nani and Prasanth Varma’s film is technically brilliant
Awe, starring Kajal Aggarwal, Nithya Menen and Regina Cassandra, will leave you awed with its technical brilliance, almost flawless writing and sheer capability of the debut director, Prasanth Varma.Updated: Feb 17, 2018 12:17 IST
Director: Prasanth Varma
Cast: Kajal Aggarwal, Nithya Menen, Regina Cassandra, Esha Reba, Priyadarshi, Srinivas Avasarala, Murali Sharma, Nani and Ravi Teja.
Awe is 115 minutes of pure brilliance, beautifully woven together by its cast and crew.
The biker girl/psychiatrist (Nithya Menen), the girl-next-door (Esha Reba), the chef (Priyadarshi), the magician (Murali Sharma) and a drug addict (Regina Cassandra) -- Awe is the story of these five characters. The title track introduces us to each of them vis animation and even before the film begins in earnest, we are hooked.
As the credits end and we meet all the characters, it is Nithya Menen who truly comes as a surprise. The character questions the judgements that are prevalent in the society today in relation to gender norms. She is a psychiatrist who loves her paaya (mutton soup) and her lover equally. It is truly an Awe moment when we see her walk into the frame looking like the stereotyped biker babe to meet her future in-laws. That’s when you start to give the debut director his due – you realise that Prasanth understands not just the importance of timing, but also of being relevant.
Awe is about Kali (Kajal Aggarwal) who is about to go on a rampage on her birthday. She is planning to take a drastic step and in her last entry in the diary she pleads ‘not guilty’. It is her actions that form the crux of the story.
Initially, I had my misgivings about the film, starting from its crowded cast. Is it possible for the director to introduce us to so many characters and yet keep the narrative tight? Will it end up as an ensemble cast where no one gets their due and audience ends up distracted? Prasanth manages to dismiss our doubts and how! As Kajal Aggarwal, Srinivas Avasarala, Priyadarshi, Regina Cassandra and Murali Sharma come on screen, distraction is the last thing on our mind.
And then, there is a gold fish named Nani (Nani) who converses with a Bonsai tree named Chanti (Ravi Teja). Each character – even the animated ones – are nuanced, and handled with a light touch. Not once does your mind wander in the 1 hour 55 minute film because you are invested in knowing how the lives of each of these characters are going to change.
One of the questions that I pondered over as each scene and character unfolded was how did it all connect? What is the thread that ties them together? To make this collection of fascinating characters a part of the film, it was important to find a tangible connection and kudos to the scriptwriter for getting it right. This connection is like a tangled knot that the filmmaker has taken upon himself to untie. As the climax unfolds, we sit there and marvel at the brilliance of simplicity.
One of the main reasons why Awe worked so well is because it combines stunning editing and tight screenplay. The speed at which the plot moves is extraordinary. Even as you approach the end of the film, the story is a gift that keeps on giving. The movement from comedy to horror and then pure drama is not jarring, but it in fact blends beautifully.
The cinematography manages to capture the mood of the film. Two stunning shots are that of the cafe in the film, featured right before the interval and the other is of Kali (Kajal Aggarwal) making one last entry in her diary.
Those who took care of film’s background score and sound designing need a special mention. There is a part of Awe where we see how different characters live through a 40-second power cut. That’s a screen going blank for 40 seconds multiple times. Did it make me edgy? No, instead it adds more character to the film. The conversation that takes place in the backdrop is unbelievably entertaining.
Awe, the film left me awed with its technical brilliance, almost flawless writing and sheer capability of the debut director.
Author tweets @Priyanka_S_MCC
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