Adbhutham Movie Review: An average love story where fantasy is not magnificent enough
Cast: Teja Sajja, Shivani Rajasekhar and others
Director: Mallik Ram
Run-Time: 142 minutes
Streaming on: Disney+Hotstar
'Adbhutham' is a science-fiction film at one level. Maybe, it should be called a fantasy. In the recent Aha web series 'Kudi Yedamaithe', life gave its protagonists a chance to rectify their mistakes. In fact, the time-loop plot device gave them multiple chances to do the same thing differently for the intended result. In 'Adbhutham', a direct OTT release, life gives Surya and Vennela, who are destined to be reunited, a second chance. Writer Prasanth Varma, however, makes this feel a bit convoluted instead of letting the audience soak into the incredible universe of the lead pair.
Teja Sajja plays Surya, who is frustrated to be a mediocre news presenter besides being a failed musician. Newcomer Shivani Rajasekhar plays Vennela, a dullard who wants to pursue an Automobile Engineering course in Germany. What is common between them is that they both have had enough in life and want to kill themselves. Destiny intervenes and makes them connect with each other. They both live in Hyderabad but can't get to meet. What separates them? Is there is an invisible force keeping them apart? How do they manage to finally end the pangs of separation? That's what the final act of the film is about.
Director Mallik Ram tells an exceptional idea in a somewhat generic fashion. While a song makes us feel conscious about the surreal nature of the story, the staging still feels mostly mundane. Stories, where extraordinary events come together to enable or mar a love story, need to possess splendid features. There has to be something that makes us believe that the unusual circumstances that are driving the love story in a certain way exist because they have to exist in a particular way. It's not enough to leverage a mythological story in a passing conversation or some abnormal incident to explain away what is happening and what is at stake.
From Surya's sidekick (played by a formidable Satya) to Vennela's grandmother (played by Tulasi), everyone behaves as though the fantasy element is not that surreal. Characters in some of the sci-fi movies start researching esoteric phenomena as if it's like googling about a disease in a medical portal. The protagonist gets to meet a researcher or an expert who helps him or her unravel things in no time. The concerned expert conveniently lives in the same city as him or her.
The grandma in 'Adbhutham' starts giving insights with the confidence of a family head talking about religious rituals. After a point, her boozing surprises us more than the sci-fi element. Surya and Vennela initially freak out at the turn of events. By and by, they behave like run-of-the-mill lovers.
The performances are a plus, though. Shivani knows her Telugu and can become another 'Colours' Swathi if she makes the right choices. Teja Sajja is convincing, although he needed to look more anxious. Radhan's music doesn't lend a character to the film it should have.
Check out the trailer below: