Rating: 7/10 (Engaging Detective Movie)
Cast: Naveen Polishetty, Shruti Sharma, Darbha Appaji Ambarisha, Suhas
Story, Dialogues, and Direction: Swaroop RSJ
Screenplay: Naveen Polishetty and Swaroop RSJ
Producer: Rahul Yadav Nakka
Banner: Swadharm Entertainment
After stints in Life is Beautiful, 1 Nenokkadine, and All India Bakchod, actor Naveen Polishetty finally makes his debut as a leading man in Agent Sai Srinivas Athreya. Directed by debutante Swaroop RSJ and co starring Chaibisket Suhas, does this movie live upto the hype after it's impressive trailer? Let's find out in this review
Plot: A small time detective named Agent Sai Srinivas Athreya (Naveen Polishetty) and his assistant Sneha (Shruthi Sharma) attempt to solve a murder mystery in Nellore.
Performances: Naveen Polishetty is an absolute firecracker of a performer. This dude is so talented and really energetic which makes you wonder where he was all these years. Naveen is simply amazing as Athreya and he will keep you entertained for the entire film. His dialogue delivery, expressions, and natural acting are all very good and in the future, he can easily become a big star with his talent.
Shruthi Sharma as Sneha is good and works well as Athreya's assistant. Chaibisket Suhas who most recently played Naga Chaitanya's friend in Majili gets another hilarious cameo and entertains in the last 20 minutes of the film.
There are many new actors in the movie who we haven't really seen before so I apologize for not being able to list them.
Direction: This is Swaroop KSJ debut and he along with Naveen wrote the script. It's very entertaining to say the least. The characterization of the detective is what makes the film stand out. It generates a ton of comedy and entertainment and hilarious situations. Usually detective movies such as Sherlock Holmes which the film pays homage to on Athreya's wall, often are one step ahead of everyone and just have some miraculous ability to solve things. In other words, he's got eyes everywhere 24/7 and he's literally a walking satellite and knows everything just by the slightest things. We can't really connect with that level of intelligence. In Athreya however, the writers have made him relatable in that he's not perfect and that he makes mistakes and he gets into trouble most of the time. The script also features the opportunity for mystery. Usually in detective movies, the suspense is revealed very early on and it's a cat and mouse game between the protagonist and antagonist to the finish line. Swaroop cleverly saves the twists for the last 20 mins of the film which is where everything unfolds and takes up a unique concept that isn't routine. Overall, Swaroop does a great job in his debut by crafting a film that's the perfect blend of comedy and mystery and generates really good entertainment from his lead actor.
Technicalities: Music and BGM by Mark K robin is very good. He's able to elevate some regular scenes with a riveting background score. There aren't too many songs which is a relief as well considering the genre. Cinematography by Sunny Kurapati is decent. Most of the film is shot during the night considering the investigative part of the narrative so there's nothing to really take home here. Dialogues by Swaroop KSJ are witty and entertaining. Editing by Amit Tripathi should have been better. The film feels lengthy at 148 minutes. Production Values by Swadharam Entertainment are adequate given the limited budget
+ Naveen Polishetty
+ Last 20 mins
- Pace lag here and there
Analysis and Final Verdict: Most of the reviews you read probably said that this movie is similar to Chantabbai. Well I'm not gonna say the same thing because I haven't seen that movie nor was I alive when it came out. What I will say is that Agent Sai Srinivas Athreya works and it's mainly due to Naveen Polishetty's performance.
The initial setup is hilarious with Sherlock Holmes being his devudu and him establishing the FBI which has a really funny name. The fact that it's set in Nellore and not Hyderabad gives it a fresh feel. Once the interval hits, there's a huge twist and what ensues forms the rest of the narrative. If I said anymore, it would be a spoiler but the twists and turns presented in the script are very good.
The only problem is that you might feel that the film takes a little too long to come to the conclusion and the pace dips here and there until the suspense is revealed, but keeping in mind the genre, a detective film needs to flesh out all the details before cracking a case so I guess in this case it's justified. Chaibisket's Suhas provides some nice laughs towards the end and the case that Athreya solves is quite unorthodox and quite creepy to be honest.
Nevertheless, those craving for fresh and engaging content don't have to look any further. And you might find yourself a new favorite upcoming actor in Naveen Polishetty. He carries the movie and delivers a brilliant performance.
Overall, Agent Sai Srinivas Athreya makes for an engaging entry in the detective genre in Telugu cinema. Naveen Polishetty's performance and a solid script filled with twists which generates lot of entertainment and suspense are the highlights of the this film. Definitely give this one a try. You won't regret it.