Banner: Wallposter Cinema
Cast: Kajal Aggarwal, Nithya Menen, Regina, Eesha Rebba, Avasarala, Priyadarshi and others
Music: Mark Robin
Cinematography: Karthik Ghattamaneni
Editing: Gowtham Nerusu
Action: Bob Brown
Presented by: Nani
Producer: Prasanthi Tipirneni
Writer and Director: Prasanth Varma
Release date: Feb 16, 2018
'Awe' has been in the news for the reason that the film is presented by hero Nani. With several prominent actresses featuring in it, the film also increased buzz around it. Moreover, celebs heaped praise after watching preview.
Is the film worth all this hype?
The film begins with Kaali (Kajal Aggarwal) coming to a restaurant and starts scribbling something. The film then reveals episodes about several people present at the restaurant.
The people present at the restaurant are - a watchman Shiva (Avasarala), a chef Nala (Priyadarshi), a stewardess Meera (Regina), two lesbian customers Radha (Eesha) and Krish (Nithya Menen) and a magician Yogi (Murali Sharma).
How are they linked with Kaali? And what is the final twist in the tale?
The film is essentially a story about Kajal Aggarwal but she hardly appears on screen. She has carried the same – tragic look.
Regina and Avasarala get bigger roles and despite their weird hairstyles, they have come up with strong performances.
Among other roles, Priyadarshi’s and Murali Sharma’s episodes are funny and they have done justice to them.
The roles of Nithya Menen and Eesha seems to have been created just to give shock value (lesbians meeting the parents). They are just okay. Pragathi and others are passable.
Nani as fish and Ravi Teja as bonsai tree are heard, their voices give some comic relief.
The entire film happens at a restaurant from start to end. The artwork is excellent. The restaurant set has enough space to show all the ‘episodic stories’.
The camera work by Karthik Ghattamaneni is first rate. Script is written by a group of people and dialogues in Priyadarshi episode are hilarious.
Irritating second half
“Awe” is essentially a psychological thriller about a woman who had a traumatic experience in her life.
New director Prasanth Varma withholds the psychology part till the end much like Martin Scorcesse’s “Shutter Island”. This is not to say that the film has any resemblance to the Hollywood film. It treads a similar path in holding the “key” point till the end. Those who have seen Scorcesse's film are bound to understand it.
A film with episodic stories is not new to Telugu audiences as we have seen several movies that include Praveen Sattaru’s “Chandamama Kathalu”. Here the difference is that it is a psychological drama.
New director Prasanth Varma has come up with some interesting “individual episodes”, but the overall effect is too artificial. It is different for the sake of being different, not organically unique.
In the story of a chef, a guy who doesn’t know how to make fried rice applies for a job. How he cooks watching videos in Youtube and how a fish in an aquarium and a bonsai tree help him is told in a funny and entertaining manner.
Eesha introducing her “lover” to her parents is also hilarious. This is the first time in a Telugu movie that a girl introduces her parents to her girl lover. The lesbian story adds little shock value (for Telugu audiences) and humour.
The episode of a magician Yogi (Murali Sharma) who believes that he is the greatest in the world only to get spooked by another “magician” is also told in an interesting way.
However, despite these scenes, the movie never gets to the point. The final revelation comes in the last ten minutes of the movie. Till then we get to see the individual episodes and occasionally Kajal Aggarwal taking this and that for few seconds.
When we get to know the traumatized girl’s story and the final twist, it gives us the feeling that it is much ado about nothing.
Even many sequences in the second half are quite boring. Especially the thread of Avasarala and another woman is outlandish. Regina Cassandra’s story is told in horror movie style. The film has a blend of many genres and finally ends as a psychological drama. Though it begins interestingly, the movie slips into boredom as it progresses.
One can spot the director’s intention to present something different and well-intended message in the end, but the sequences in the second half bore.
Moreover, it is clear that the film has been stretched from short film idea to full-length feature.
Overall, “Awe” is a different attempt. This may seem “appealing” to some section of audiences, but it doesn’t entice the general audiences at all.
Bottom-line: Short Film Stretched!