Virodhi movie review

Movie : Virodhi
Director : Neelakantha
Producer : Anil Meka
Cast : Srikanth, Ajay, Kamalinee, Kamal Kamaraju, Shivaji Raja, Sri Ramya, Nagineedu, Ahuti Prasad, Kiran Varanasi, Ravi Varma

Political journalist Jayadev (Srikanth) unearths several scams made by a politician (Ahuti Prasad) who in turn invites him to have a discussion.

The politician tries to bribe the journalist but honest Jayadev refuses to relent, and as they discuss, a group of Maoists attack the politician and kill him. Jayadev is held a hostage. Along with Jayadev, the group of Maoists led by Gogi (Ajay) head to their base camp in a dense forest.

During the journey, their ideologies are tested; good and bad are exposed, in a dramatic way.

Director and writer Neelakantha, who won the National Award as a screenwriter, returns to direction after long gap. Known for interesting screenplays, Neelakantha this time comes up with a film about Naxalism/Maoism.

Unlike his other films, Virodhi has no twists in the tale and is told in a straight narration mode but he strategically starts off the movie with a very slow narration and keeps `best moments` at the latter part of the movie to enhance the impact of the climax.

For an audience who are accustomed to fast paced narration from start to end, this might be tiresome. But for those who seek stories with substance, it works well.

The film’s strengths lie completely on the superb performances from the ensemble cast and background score. In dramatic sequences in the second half, Ajay livens up the scenes with his terrific performance.

Although Srikanth gives his best with subtle acting, Ajay and Kamal Kamaraju steal the show.

The subject of Naxalism and the movement falling in wrong hands is not entirely new, so the movie’s pre-interval scenes induce boredom but when the director shifts the focus the story falls in the line and draws the audiences into it.

Certain sections in the first half could have been handled better. You find so much sluggishness before the interval.

For Srikanth, the film is like a complete departure from what he has been doing so far. The role of a journalist lacks conventional heroism, yet Srikanth accepting the role should be commended. He comes up with subtle expressions but perfect ones required for the character.

He also gives more screen space and best lines to the antagonist Ajay. You wonder at his reservoir of talent watching this film, expressing with eyes, delivering near perfect gestures. It is almost his film.

Next comes Kamal Kamaraju, the man who lives by his idealism. Kamal Kamaraju has not much to do in the beginning but later he comes up with a dignified performance. Shivaji Raja, Kiran Varanasi, Ravi Varma, Sri Ramya and the girl who played the role of Rihana – all are perfect.

Kamalinee does a cameo appearance.

Cinematography by H R Ramachandra is okay. Background score by R P Patnaik has elevated the mood. Among the technicians, his work is superb.

Production values are good. Producer Anil Meka should be appreciated for accepting this film. As writer and director Neelakantha’s success lies in bringing out the best performances and handling post interval scenes with dexterity. Ending the movie with Sri Sri’s poem – Edi Satyam – is good. But he should have taken care of the pace of the movie in the beginning.

Intention of the director, terrific performances and dramatic moments in the second half make Virodhi worth a watch. Undoubtedly, it is a nice attempt from Neelakantha despite sluggish narration in the first half. Those who seek films with substance would definitely appreciate the way director has shot the movie in the second half.

Forget about the film’s performance at Box-office, as an attempt it should be appreciated.

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