This has been a disappointing week for the twin Hindi release Laal Singh Chaddha and Raksha Bandhan. The audience just did not accept either of the two releases for reasons best known to them. But amidst these films, another Telugu film starting taking rapid strides in the Hindi market. Karthikeya 2 which had begun with zero buzz in the Hindi belt soon started becoming the first choice for movie goers. I was really curious about the film as it had a subject related to mythology and this as a genre hasn’t yet been tapped often.
There are a zillion stories to be told in the genre which really seems to have a bright future with even Brahmastra shaping up for release next month. I just was skeptical as I hadn’t watched Karthikeya, the first film in the franchise. After doing a quick research, I got to know that Karthikeya 2 is only a spiritual sequel to Karthikeya which basically means an independent story with same characters. That meant I could watch Karthikeya 2 without any hesitation. I managed to do so yesterday on my New Year and here are my two cents on Karthikeya 2.
Story & Screenplay
Karthikeya 2 follows the story of Karthik who finds himself in pursuit of an Ancient Society protecting the Tatva of Lord Sri Krishna. The story is goosebumps worthy and truely enlightening. The concept itself is a winner which imparts a lot of knowledge in the most lucid manner without linking it to religion. The screenplay at almost 150 minutes might seem daunting but it passes off like a breeze. And it honestly was a fulfilling experience to say the least.
Every now and then there comes a film which makes our job as a reviewer worthy. And Karthikeya 2 is one such film. Put in an adventure template of say an Indian Jones or The Da Vinci Code, the drama unfolds in the form of a cat and mouse chase. While the first half focuses on the introduction of the characters, you will need to be patient as there are more than one unrelated events unfolding at the same time. There is a sense of ambiguity to the drama which did make me curious to know more.
The proceedings are engrossing and entertaining although the element of comedy in the screenplay wasn’t required. I had a pre-conceived notion of the concept being linked to religion. I am a type of a person who enjoys more of culture and less of religion(and there is a subtle difference to it). So if you happen to talk religion to me, you have lost me. But if you happen to talk culture to me, you have my complete attention. Culture is basically an extension of the mythology of every place which in turn results in the formation of a religion or cult. And so my interest peaks with the reasoning. That is exactly what the film provides here.
There is a lot of knowledge to be absorbed here in a drama which weaves around an adventure hunt. The amalgamation of science with elements of mythology was fascinating to witness. The second half is when the drama does come alive giving you goosebumps every now and then. There are a few over the top sequences but the scattered fragments just seem to come together in the most beautiful manner towards the end. If I had to look at it deeper, the journey of the protagonist is filled with obstacles (just like our life in general) till he reaches his ultimate destination(similar to Nirvana or Moksh). Such a overwhelming concept told in a lucid manner in a screenplay which ends on a high and stays with you. It helps when you actually get to visualize things which you may have read in books or heard from your ancestors. This is a stunning screenplay which doesn’t impose its opinion on you neither does it link it to any religion.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are very well written and they create an instant impact while also giving you goosebumps. The comedy bits don’t work but credit to the writers for keeping it in check and not overdoing it. The music is good but the BGM is goosebumps worthy. That was a stunning BGM which elevates the drama although it is slightly loud in parts. The cinematography is pretty good and the VFX is good as well. I would credit the VFX team even more as the film was made at a budget of just 15 crores, so within that capacity the VFX is good. Likewise for the animation which would remind you of the early 2000s but it is still effective. Director Chandoo Mondeti does a fabulous job with the subject which is a winner even at the concept level. He may have borrowed the structure of storytelling from Indiana Jones and The Da Vinci Code but he was able to integrate elements of mythology just so well thereby enlightening the audience with abundance of knowledge. The direction is top notch.
The performances are pretty good too. Harsha Chemudu as Suleman has his moments to shine. Anupam Kher is stunning in a cameo as Dhanwantary. Yaramala Srinivasa Reddy is pretty good as well and he does well not to go overboard with the comedy. Adithya Menon is menacing as Shantanu in a job well done. Anupama Parameswaran as Mugdha looks pretty and does an excellent job. Nikhil Siddharth as Karthik is brilliant here with a towering screen presence. His calm demeanor drives the film throughout.
Karthikeya 2 is an enlightening and enriching experience like no other. Available in a theatre near you and Highly Recommended!