Onto the next release of the weekend and before that it is a World Record in Tests for Jasprit Bumrah! 35 off the over of Stuart Broad and somewhere Yuvraj Singh would be smiling and proud of this feat! A huge shoutout to him from Team Popcorn on his Test captaincy debut and this feat. With that I finished watching the new Telugu film Virata Parvam on Netflix. A film which had released theatrically on the same weekend as Vikram and Major finally has made its way to the OTT streaming giant. Now, I had no idea about what the film was based on. But with a staggering rating of 8.2 on imdb, I was naturally excited. So then does Virata Parvam manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Virata Parvam follows the story of a young girl who has unconditional love for a man who happens to be a Naxalite. Now, the story may not instantly excite you but trust me the treatment here is excellent. Offlate we have been privy to over the top action sequences in Telugu films which usually are aimed at impressing the masses. But the tone here is grounded and very realistic right throughout making this a very different Telugu film. The screenplay standing at 150 minutes is overwhelming to begin with and I would have preferred if some portions would have been edited to maintain a crisp runtime.
The screenplay is a massive slowburn and it requires patience. But the deeper you dig here, the more involved you will be in the drama. One of the strongest aspects of the screenplay is the characterization of the protagonist. There are so many shades to her that it made me invest in her from the beginning. The terrific opening sequence commands your attention right away and the ball is set rolling from there on.
The drama focuses on the human side of emotions even when dealing with the critical issue of the Naxals. Their ideology is expressed through the drama which unfolds which makes for several heart touching moments. The parallels drawn with mythology and comparing the journey of the protagonist with Meerabai is beautiful and poignant. While the first hour focuses on the romance element, the film takes a political turn in the second hour.
The proceedings are interesting as well as philosophical. While there are some grounded action sequences, the strength of the film lies in the dramatic moments which are soft although slightly melodramatic. This leads up to the final act which is gut wrenching and filled with twists and turns summing up a very well written screenplay.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are philosophical and poignant yet subtle and never overdramatic. This makes the lines quite impactful. The music blends well with the drama and none of the songs hinder the flow of the screenplay. The BGM is slightly jarring and probably a weak link in the technical department. The cinematography is beautiful along with the lighting used which was ideally designed for the big screen experience. Director Venu Udugula does a brilliant job is choosing an unconventional approach of telling a tale. The amalgamation of mythology is refreshing in what is a fabulous piece of direction.
The performances are excellent here. Naveen Chandra as Comrade Raghu has his moments to shine. Nandita Das as Shakuntala was an absolute pleasure to watch onscreen. Priyamani as Comrade Bharathakka is exceptional especially in the second hour where she commands your attention in every scene. Rana Daggubati as Ravanna is wonderfully restrained minus the machismo which was refreshing to watch. It was indeed a subtle but a towering act by him. And it needed a stronger performer to pull off the role of Vennela. But when it was Sai Pallavi at the forefront, rest assured this role would be memorable. She adds such finesse to her character that it is hard to take your eyes off her. Even in quieter moments she is able to hold your attention in what is a remarkable acting masterclass that I really enjoyed.
Virata Parvam is philosophical and poignant, a very different Telugu film tonally speaking. Available on Netflix and Highly Recommended!