Nara Rohith had started off his acting career with different film like Baanam. He is well-known for choosing off-beat stories. However, he deviated in the middle and did few run-of-the-mill films.
But interestingly, he is back with Jyo Achyutananda this year. Naturally, there're good expectations on his latest offing Appatlo Okadundevadu. Besides acting, he also donned the hat of producer. This raised the curiosity.
Will he succeed? Will 2016 end on good note?
What is it about?
The film begins with a girl Riya, who claims to be a journalist, seeking to know about cricketer Railway Raju (Sri Vishnu) and his story to feature it in a newspaper. The flashback dates back to 1990s, to be precise - between 1992 and 1996.
Imtiaz (Nara Rohith), an honest police inspector loses his head-constable father to naxalites and as you guess, he is on a mission to wipe out naxals. He doesn't even mind breaking rules in order to take on the anti-social elements.
There he finds out the connection between Railway Raju (Sri Vishnu) and his estranged sister who is now working for naxals.
Between, Railway Raju who is a happy-go-lucky guy, has no clue about his sister. He wants to be a cricketer and thus secure a government job and settle with his love Nitya (Tanya Hope). But his plans go haywire with Imtiaz is after him to nab his sister and brother-in-law (Ravi Varma).
Trouble begins for Railway Raju. He can't be a cricketer due to his family's connection to naxalites. What forms rest is a powerful tug of war between Imtiaz and Railway Raju.
Nara Rohith as a cop impresses. He gets under the skin of the role of Imtiaz. On other hand, Sri Vishnu shines as Railway Raju. It's his character which has more screen-time compared to Rohith. He pulls off the film well.
Newcomer and Miss India 2015 contestant Tanya Hope is passable.
GV Naidu as a goon is apt for the role. Though it's not established well, it's fine. Rajeev Kanakala's character Ashok Reddy is incomplete. It could had been written well since it turns the film.
Good camera work, decent background score elevates the film. Editing is fine. But the film could had been crispier. Especially the film struggles in the early second-half. Songs are not good.
Strong story & Dialogues
Few dull moments
Not many of this generation is aware of insurgency. Especially urban youth might not have an idea about the root cause of naxalism.
Whereas people who grew up in 80s and 90s, in rural areas, borders of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have witnessed many incidents including attacks on a Chief Minister. This is the premise of Appatlo Okadundevadu.
Cut to the film, it attempts to tell a story of a youth, a budding cricketer, whose life is affected with naxalism and thus loses his career. The film is straight out of the heart of director Saagar K Chandra. It's a genuine attempt. He deserve credit for the story and its execution. There's neither a hero nor a villain in the film. It's characters that we see in the film.
The first half primarily focuses on establishing the story, characters of Imtiaz, Railway Raju. Post interval, the film struggles. The post-wedding song of Raju and Nithya is unnecessary. It puts you off. But the film picks up as the story progresses. Few dull moments hamper the film.
In pre-climax and climax portions, the film tugs ones heartstrings. It's commendable to see Rohith and Vishnu donning the roles of aged people in white hair, beard. It's a brave attempt to portray such roles at this age of their career.
On the whole, it's a critics' film. Good attempt.
Verdict: Heart-touching Journey Into 90s