Film : Andala Rakshasi
Cast : Rahul, Naveen Chandra, Lavanya T, Pragati, CVL Narasimha Rao, Mickey, Pragathi and others
Music : Radhan
Cinematography : Murali G
Art director : S Ramakrishna
Editing : Chandu G V
Choreography : Ajay Sai
Produced by : Sai Korrapati and S S Rajamouli
Written and directed by : Hanu Raghavapudi
CBFC Rating : U/A
Release date : August 10, 2012
What’s it about!
The film is set in 1990′s. Gautham (Rahul), a rich businessman’s son, aspires to live an ordinary life and leads such life in Hyderabad. One day he falls for the charms of a student Midhuna (Lavanya) on a first sight. In a jump cut it is revealed that she meets with accident and Gautham and his father funds her surgery. Their parents arrange their marriage as well. On the wedding day, she reveals about her love with Surya (Naveen Chandra), so both Gautham and Midhuna run away from wedding and start understanding each other. Few months later, it is revealed that Surya is not dead. And the drama continues between the three.
Set in the 1990s-93, Andala Rakshasi is debut feature film of Hanu Raghavapudi, a former associate of Chandrasekhar Yeleti. Kitsch of all Manirathnam’s early movies, Andala Rakshasi is in particular retelling of Manirathanm’s classic Mounaragam with a tragic end. The film blatantly apes visual style and scenes from many Manirathnam’s films but the director tests the audiences’ patience with lethargic pace. In major part of the movie, nothing happens, except cinematographer capturing the actor’s gestures and nature beautifully. Instead of having a normal conversation, all the three lead actors yell or shout at each other. Even when one someone asks question, the actors move 10 yards further then yell and reply. This happens throughout the film. It is a beautifully captured film but very loud and unrealistic.
Although the movie is set in early 1990′s the film looks as if it is happening now with vehicles, hoardings, high-rise apartments in Hyderabad, which were absent then, but can been seen now. Only that the makers have put a note at the beginning of the film that excuse us for this goof up. Even if we excuse that one, the setting of the 1990′s hardly makes any sense other than the fact that lack of mode of fast communication plays key point in the last scene.
At run time of 150 minutes, Andala Rakshasi is lengthy. The only captivating moments happen in the penultimate sequences. On the positive side of the film, the film entirely belongs to new cinematographer Murali G. His work is astounding to say the least. From start to finish, the beautiful cinematography is the redeeming factor.
The three lead actors are beautiful. Naveen Chandra is good find. He has expressed love and pain through his eyes and his body language is perfect. He is best part of the film. Rahul as suave guy is handsome. His voice reminds us of Siddharth. Lavanya is beautiful and in the role of girl-next-door she fits the bill perfectly. CVL is at his natural best. Though Pragathi does go overboard sometimes, she does justice to the meaty role she got as a mother to the heroine. The actor who played the role of father to Rahul not suits to that character.
As mentioned earlier, the film is one man’s show- cameraman Murali’s. His framing, lighting, lensing…everything is first rate. Among the other technical crew, music director Radhan’s work is impressive. Two songs are pretty good. Production design (Ramakrishna) is pretty bad as he fails to recreate the old Hyderabad. Perhaps lack of money! Remember even small budgeted movies like Ananthapuram 1980 ( Subramanyapuram in Tamil) did recreate 80′s look perfectly. Art work in films doesn’t mean ‘creating’ metal birds or articles.
The new director has failed as writer. The film’s script although copied from Manirthnam’s Mounaragam and various scenes from Geetanjali etc, lacks coherence. Both the heroes almost stalk her for love but it is portrayed as beautiful romance and she reciprocates to both of them. Wha Wah ji! There is no logic why she attracts to Surya in the first place and it is highly unfathomable that she ‘elopes’ with Gautham when he asks and consider this that she comes from middle-class family and the movie is set in 1990′s.
As a director Hanu has shown grip in handling scenes and actors. Yes, there are couple of moments that are brilliant. The director has tried to tell symbolically the three characters are like Sun, Moon and Earth but has also shot scenes in that manner but all of them lost in translation.
Andala Rakshasi is nothing but retelling of Manirathnam’s Mounaragam with a tragic ending. Beautiful cinematography is the only thing that should be commended. Rest tests one’s patience.