Rating: 3/10 (Not Good- But Visually Breathtaking)
Sai Korrapati had just produced Eega at the time and put his faith in Hanu Raghavapudi, a long time associate of out of the box film maker Chandra Shekar Yeleti, who is not only making his debut but also introducing 3 new faces as the leads of his cast. His first film Andala Rakshasi, meaning a beautiful Devil, was released on August 10th, 2012. How did it fare? Find out in my review
Story: This love story is set in 1992. Gautham (Rahul Ravindran) is a rich kid who dreams of being a guitarist one day but his father wants him to be something else. One day, he sees a beautiful girl named Mithuna (Lavanya Tripathi) and falls head over heels for her and wants to be with her. Unfortunately, Mithuna meets with a serious accident and her family is unable to bear the necessary costs needed for the operation for her to survive and Gautham and his father decide to take care of everything after Gautham tells him his dad that he likes her.
He finds out that Mithuna is in love with a man named Surya (Naveen Chandra) who is presumably dead from the same accident. He expresses his feelings for her and takes her to Ooty and she respects him but never reciprocates his feelings that he has for her towards him. After some convincing, she agrees to marry him and Gautham and goes to Hyderabad to arrange for the wedding but finds out a shocking truth. What is that shocking truth? And what happens in the end? Watch this tragic love story to find out.
Performances: If there's even a reason to watch this love saga, it is without a doubt for Lavanya Tripathi. She makes a stunning debut and is aptly able express all of her emotions clearly and looks beautiful even without makeup in a complete de glam role. She is the life and soul of this film. Rahul Ravindran is shouting all the time and sounds just like Siddarth which doesn't help his cause. Naveen Chandra as Surya is for some reason more likable than Gautham and his ruffian look suits him well. Pragahti overacts as Mithuna's mom and CVL Narasimha Rao is good.
Technicalities: Music by Radhan is very good and the background score is equally as good. The song Yemito is something you'll still be humming years down the road. Cinematography is excellent. Every scene in this movie is like a picture on a postcard and you could sent it to someone. Editing is ok. Dialogues are fine but it;s annoying to hear the words chachipothanu and champesthaanu (meaning I will die or I will kill you) half the time. Editing is alright. Art is excellent especially in the interval bang and Surya's shop. Production Values by Vaarahi Chalana Chitram are superb for a film like this.
Analysis: I watched this film after constantly about hearing it throughout my Telugu movie surfing adventures. I heard it was critically acclaimed and but did not perform and wanted to see why.
The film starts off well and the Yemito song is really nice but as soon as the film moves to Ooty and Mithuna and Gautham try to talk, the screenplay is like watching paint dry. Mithuna can't communicate properly to Gautham and various scenes of them getting soaked in the rain and just visuals of the hilly scenes of Ooty take up unnecessary screen time and test your patience. The scene where Mithuna leaves and Gautham finds her is decent but literally nothing happens in the first half and the screenplay is excruciatingly slow.
Hanu you gotta realize man, that yeah you can make a beautiful and artistic scene on the screen but if nothing is happening, then what's the point? The point of a film is to tell a story, and at least somewhat entertainingly, but this film doesn't do the latter whatsoever.
The interval bang is superb and unexpected and as soon as the flashback starts to roll, you already start to like Surya more than Gautham. Maybe because Gautham is just whining all the time and complaining. The flashback is entertaining to an extent and keeps the film floating for a bit until the end of it which becomes way too serious. The screenplay then starts to move at a snail's pace again and puts your patience to the test once again. The climax and pre climax are way too tragic and dramatic and one cannot believe that the film actually ends the way it does. Visually this film is breathtaking, but as a whole doesn't really correspond to it's visuals via plot and and direction.
On a whole, Andala Rakshasi is a visually gorgeous but otherwise torturous cinematic experience for a viewer. Hanu Raghavapudi clearly has some talent and had he worked on making this a better script, it could have a better end result. Besides Lavanya Tripathi's effortless and stunning debut performance, this tragic love story is too slow and boring for the one to comprehend. The slow screenplay is main culprit for this film. I'm going with 3/10 for Lavanya, the music, and the cinematography.