Awe Review: Misses the mark, but makes a point
Nani’s latest production is a mixed bag of a movie; the one thing that can be said for it is that it is a refreshing change from the usual fare
Actor Nani’s latest production Awe stirred up curiosity for the way it was promoted without revealing the plot, especially with a debutant director at the helm and a few big names in its cast. The film, though, fails to live up to this. It introduces us to a series of characters who have nothing to do with each other.
Radha (Eesha Rebba) who comes out by confessing her love for a psychiatrist, Krishna (Nithya Menen) to her homophobic parents. Then, the scene shifts to Nala (Priyadarshi), who pretends to be a chef, but is really in pursuit of a job. He exchanges dialogues with a goldfish (with Nani voice-over) and a bonsai tree (voice-over by Ravi Teja) in his restaurant kitchen. We also get to meet Shiva (Srinivasa Avasarala), a watchman and a wannabe scientist, who tries to build a time machine with the sole aim of time travel to meet his parents. He is a pro in Morse code too and strikes a pleasant conversation with a Persian guest. He is taken aback when he meets Parvathy (Devadarshini), who claims to be his other half from a past life. Then, we get to meet a distressed Kali (Kajal Aggarwal), who is mulling about ending her life by committing a mass murder on her birthday. Also in the tale is a self-proclaimed magical wizard Yogi (Murali Sharma) and a waitress-turned-drug addict Meera (Regina Cassandra), who is set to loot a rich visitor at her cafe with her boyfriend.
As the story of Awe begins to unfold, one hopes for clever writing, fleshed-out characters and an engrossing narrative. But it has very little to offer, and gets the typical Telugu film treatment. It is the kind of film that isn’t drive by the plot, but rather focusses on its characters, their actions and their relationships. The film touches upon many points like gender issues, child abuse, sanity and also tries to break the silence over the relationship taboo which has been existent in the society for decades now.
Newcomer Prasanth Varma tries to bring some freshness and energy into the standard Telugu films which either show a reunion of a loving couple in the last scene or the protagonist thrashing the goons to live happily ever after. However, the film gets flabby and frustrating towards the middle portions. If you expect the story to reveal something important, you are in for a great disappointment. But you can’t help but feel involved in the tale, despite the sluggish pace. There's a sudden shift in its genre, which makes us think about what happened in the last frame and how the director connects all the dots in the end piques our interest.
The problem, however, is, if one sub-plot gets jagged, it can lead to the entire narrative getting messed up. And when a story is woven around seven sub-plots, this is bound to happen. The film makes one wonder about certain questions. Don’t we live on with our frustrations in love? Can’t you carry on in life if you don’t get what you want? Well, there is no answer and by the time you try to figure out one, you will see the end credits rolling!
Overall, Awe is a mixed bag. It is a refreshing film. Refreshing because of its spectacular performances, beacuse of its interesting premise, because of Karthik Ghattamaneni’s outstanding cinematography and the soulful music by Mark Robbin. But it is also a frustrating and unsatisfying film.