Devaki Movie Review: This Priyanka Upendra film is a majestic thriller
A film about love and loss that is told with a lot of sensitivity and filled with riveting performances, especially from Priyanka and Kishore
In his second outing after Mummy - Save Me, director Lohith again displays the mark of a genius. Through Devaki he has opened new frontiers for Kannada cinema, inviting the audience to his kingdom of ingenuity. There is not an iota of mediocrity in his execution, which is enhanced by Kolkata’s vibrant-yet-moody aura, as captured by HC Venugopal’s cinematography, and Nobin Paul’s music. Shooting in live locations, the director has paid equal attention to camera angles, sound, lighting, background score and music, all making the film admirably compelling.
Priyanka Upendra too elevates the film with her excellent performance. Equal credit should also go to actor Kishore.
Cast: Priyanka Upendra, Kishore, Aishwarya
Director: H Lohith
Devaki’s tale is universal, for it emotionally delves into the bond between a mother and a child. Devaki (Priyanka Upendra), a single parent, is frantically searching of her 10-year-old daughter Aaradhya (Aishwarya) on the dingy streets of Kolkata. She finds help in the form of a Kannadiga police officer (Kishore) based in the city. With loads of suspense, unexpected consequences, a buried past, and emotional strains, the story ends with a beautiful thought — a short narrative given by actor-director Upendra.
Dedicating the film to all mothers, which is a familiar template, Lohith makes Devaki refreshing by coming up with an untold story. The main theme is about a missing child, but the subplots — about Devaki’s grief, her husband, the police officer’s life, the frightening scenario of missing children, trafficking, prostitution, adoption — are equally intriguing.
It takes courage to set a story in another state, but the director pulls it off with aplomb; he manages to bring in the native tones and a realistic ambience. Lohith captures the physical and spiritual relationship between two souls who are just a few heartbeats away from being the same person, and shows the power within a mother who dares all things and relentlessly follows her instincts, irrespective of what stands in her path.
The twists the director introduces every 15 minutes keep our interest alive, and the second half, especially the last 30 minutes, have been crafted with such intensity it is hard to take our eyes off the screen.
Priyanka Upendra carries the film on her shoulders, and makes quite an impact. Kishore’s character is equally riveting and the actor deserves applause for his performance. Devaki marks the debut of Aishwarya (Priyanka’s real-life daughter) and she is the film's soul, her presence strengthening the emotional bond between the two characters.
Cinematographer HC Venugopal gives a good glimpse of Howrah, an area which is indeed a cameraperson’s paradise. Nobin Paul’s music, especially the background score, is sublime.
A suspense thriller, Devaki is a film about love and loss, told with a lot of sensitivity. A must watch.