Review: Adbhutham

‘Adbhutham’ is currently streaming on Disney+Hotstar. The direct OTT release was completed in early 2020 but the pandemic put paid to its theatrical release. Let’s find out what the film is all about.

Story:
Surya and Vennela are two youngsters who decide to die by suicide. We understand that they are facing existential crises of their own. As destiny would have it, they end up distracted and their attempt to die by suicide is aborted. They become friends because of a common phone number that they share.

Eventually, they learn that there is more to it than meets the eye. What makes them fall in love with each other? What is the sci-fi and fantasy element in the story? Answers to these questions are found as the film progresses.

Performances:
As Surya, ‘Zombie Reddy’ actor Teja Sajja is average. He is not as versatile as the role demanded. His dialogue delivery has improved, but he needs to show more conviction. 

Newcomer Shivani Rajasekhar, as Vennela, is surprisingly good. For a debutante, she has pulled off her role with elan. Tulasi and Devi Prasad, respectively, are seen as her grandmother and father. Comedian Satya is enjoyable as Surya’s sidekick. Mirchi Kiran and Shivaji Raja are apt. 

Technical Departments:
Radhan, who has composed music for ‘Paagal’ and ‘Husharu’ in the past, fits the bill. His BGM is adequate where the need was strong. In the portions where the writing is weak, he doesn’t deliver impact. The cinematography is average, overall. Perhaps, some of the crucial frames would have looked much better on the big screen.

Analysis:
Prasanth Varma of ‘AWE’ fame has penned the story of the movie. He marries romance with science-fiction and comes out with a middling result. Writer-director Mallik Ram, who has the web series ‘Pelli Gola’ and ‘Tharagathi Gadhi Daati’ to his credit, shows efficiency in fits and starts.

At 140 minutes, ‘Adbhutham’ is a mixed affair. It has got a watchable first half. The second half, where the more substantive part of the story plays out, could have been better in terms of being racy. 

There are convenient screenplay choices that don’t hit the bull’s eye. The emotional beats of the story, too, are somewhat shaky.

The writing has flashes of brilliance in terms of how Surya and Vennela try to navigate their destiny. The plot devices used are not run of the mill and it helps.
The story has its strengths, especially in the way an emotional love story is built around the element of fantasy. If you have the patience to suspend disbelief, you might as well enjoy this movie.

Bottomline:
‘Adbhutham’ has got an atypical premise. It’s a romantic fantasy film with science-fiction at its core. It’s not thoroughly engaging. But you can give it a try on Disney+Hotstar. 

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