review : ‘Pushpaka Vimanam’

‘Pushpaka Vimanam’ hit the cinemas today (November 12). Let’s find out what are its hits and misses.

Story:

Chittilanka Sundar ( Anand Deverakonda ) is newly married to Meenakshi (Geeth Saini). The wife runs away with a person she is in love with soon after the wedding. It’s soon found out that Meenakshi may have been a victim of foul play. Enter Inspector Rangam (Sunil), who interrogates Sundar, an aspiring actress Rekha (Saanve Megghana), and a school headmaster (VK Naresh), among others. What is the fate of Meenakshi? Who is the culprit? 
Performances
:

After a dull start with ‘Dorasaani’ in 2019, Anand Deverakonda came into his own with the OTT release ‘Middle Class Melodies’ (2020). His third film was very important for him. The budding actor is convincing in the role of a timid and embarrassed husband. His comic timing, however, needs vast improvement.

Geeth Saini’s track is suspenseful to an extent and this elevates her performance mildly. The fledgling actress knows her Telugu lines well, having lived in Hyderabad for many years. Saanve Megghava, who was seen earlier this year in the Netflix anthology ‘Pitta Kathalu’, is lovely. 
Sunil, after playing an arrogant character in ‘Colour Photo’, ably supports a small film. VK Naresh, who has acted in a variety of roles this year (in movies such as ‘Maestro’, ‘Tuck Jagadish’ and ‘Jathi Ratnalu’), is decent. Harsha Vardhan is seen in a relatively insignificant role. Viva Harsha, Bhadram, Kireeti Damaraju, Gemini Suresh and others are seen. 

Technical Departments:

The background music by Mark K Robin of ‘Agent Sai Srinivas Athreya’ is consistent. The songs have been composed by Ram Miriyala, Sidharth Sadasivuni, and Amit N Dasani. ‘Kalyanam’, sung by Sid Sriram and Mangli, is a winner. ‘Silakaa’ is another decent song.

Hestin Jose Joseph’s cinematography is adequate. Raviteja Girijala’s editing is not so sound. Even at 142 minutes, the film is too lengthy. Neil Sebastian’s art direction is impressive. 

Analysis:
The teaser and trailer for ‘Pushpaka Vimanam’ hinted at a particular kind of film. The makers described their product as a comedy thriller. It turns out that the film is something else. 
Written and directed by newcomer Damodara, a lot of the movie depends on how well Anand Deverakonda behaves and how believable he looks. The writing is shallow for most of the part. The story assumes a new flavour in the second half.
For the film to work, there was needed strong characterizations. The writing department comes a cropper in making us feel for them. We are never invested in them even to a small extent. The comedy was supposed to be the biggest merit, but it is either too weak or too affected or both. 
The climax comes with a revelation and it’s too late for us to bring ourselves to feel for Sundar’s plight. Meenakshi and Rekha, the two female characters, are used as props to evoke pity and laughter, respectively.
The second half takes off on a strong note, but the not-so-convincing narration leaves much to be desired. The interval point is designed to create a sense of fake excitement.
Bottomline:
‘Pushpaka Vimanam’ doesn’t have a strong story. Its characterizations fall flat. The comedy is feeble. 

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