Onto the final new release of the weekend and I just finished watching the new Telugu film Akhanda on Hotstar. Ever since its theatrical release last month I had heard many good things about the film. India has a rich mythology in its land, be it folklores or typical mythological stories which can very easily be adapted. However, for some odd reason they aren’t be tapped into. But with the first look of Akhanda, my hopes did hit the roof although I was very aware of the fact that this is an out and out NBK film which is in the commercial space. So there is bound to be physics defying stunts and extended fight sequences. But that said, is Akhanda entertaining, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Akhanda follows the story of a devotee of Lord Shiva who becomes the protector of a village against the evil godmen. The story is definitely in the commercial space but still quite profound. The screenplay is really about the two halves. The film begins on good note where a little prelude to the drama that seemed quite interesting and made me settle into the film. But from there on, the film slides a bit. The drama is far too predictable and over the top even for an NBK film. The sequences are just plain average and I really thought the slide is on and I had almost decided to give up on the film. But the pre interval section brought back my interest in a big way. The entire sequence before the interval is really well designed and definitely gives yiu goosebumps. And from there on, the rescue act(of the film) begins in what turned out to be a stunning second half. I loved how they related elements of nature with mythology. Here I must say that I may or may not agree with every aspect which is told in the second hour. So purely from a cinematic experience and watching it with an open mind, I really enjoyed the second hour. With multiple fight sequences and endless slow motion shots, my interest was reignited in the drama. While the drama is predictable, it is able to tie the loose ends together at the end. This ends in a spectacular final act which gave me goosebumps. Overall, a good screenplay with a brilliant second half.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are definitely massy and I could totally imagine them being welcomed with whistles and claps. Some of the lines are profound as well. The music by Thaman is outstanding again particularly in the second hour. The BGM is brilliant as well. The cinematography is breathtaking and it definitely contributes well to the film. The VFX could have been better. Now I know there would be a certain section almost calling me out on the double standards when I had criticized Satyameva Jayate 2(SJ 2) and now praising Akhanda. All I have to say is the approach of the two. Akhanda even with illogical action scenes had a purpose attached to it with somewhat reasoning while SJ 2 was just action without soul. Director Boyapati Srinu has done a good job here, playing to the strengths of his protagonist while also balancing it with a good mythological reference.
The performances are good. Shamna Kasim as Padmavathi definitely makes her presence felt with a good performance. Jagapathi Babu as Aghora Baba adds a lot of substance to his role. Meka Srikanth as Varadarajulu is menacing and does an excellent job. Pragya Jaiswal as Sravanya looks very pretty and does quite a nice job. But it won’t be wrong to say that this is a one man show! Nandamuri Balakrishna aka NBK has done an astounding job as Akhanda & Murli Krishna. He definitely caters to the front benchers with his dialogue delivery while giving you goosebumps throughout the second half.
Akhanda is a profound and entertaining drama with a stunning second half. Available on Hotstar.