Natural Star Nani is passing through brightest phase of his career. As an actor, he is on high and his hands laid on producer’s hat made this concept based Awe in debutant Prashant Varma populated with many star faces to hog the limelight. Let us see, are there any surprises waiting in Awe?
Kali (Kajal Agarwal) dejected about life enters into a food court to celebrate birthday alone to pen the good, bad and painful moments of her life on a paper. Thus comes in characters of chef (Priyadarshi), fish in aquarium (Nani), a Bonsai tree (Raviteja), a cute little girl (daughter of hotel owner Pragathi), an egoistic magician (Murali Sharma), wannabe same sex couple (Nithya Menon, Esha Rebba), time machine scientist (Avasarala Srinivas) and a drug addict (Regina) who have their own stories. How are all these characters and their behavior linked to Kali? What kind of climax did Kali give for all of them forms interesting climax.
Basic theme of six to seven different stories packed into one emotion of a desolate abused tiny girl child grown into an adult sounds absorbingly path breaking. Prashanth Varma’s creative imagination is all appreciable but problem for this sort of line lies in penning an engaging screenplay and a writing that caters to all sections of audience. This is the area where, Prashanth Varma remained half victorious as his leisured narrative and overtly class treatment may not be liked by masses. At the same time, one can find the traits of Alia Bhatt’s characterization from Imtiaz Ali’s Highway in Varma’s central Kajal character. Yet the efforts of Varma in adventuring with this cross genre multi segmented film can certainly win the hearts of elite public in urban centers. Nevertheless, Nani’s peculiar taste and bravery at production also wins a pat.
Karthik Ghattamaneni’s camera work is absolutely riveting with a mood maintained throughout. Editing by Goutham could have been little more edgy though overall runtime is very crisp. Mark K Rubin’s music stood out elevating many scenes. Production standards from Nani are rich too.
About artists, everyone has got their brief part to play. Though Kajal is epicenter, each of them from drug addicted Regina scaring away to homo sexual Nithya Menon, Eesha did their part. Priyadarshi is the best among all in association with Pragathi. Thanks to Nani and Raviteja’s voice over. Murali Sharma magic, Avasarala Srinivas time machine sub plots need lots of patience. Rest among the artists time are fine.
Message Centric Theme
Awe is definitely an out of the box film which will be liked by niche audience. As a producer Nani is the winner in keeping the project crunchy with novel promotional strategy. When it comes to Prashanth Varma, all the dedication and hard work was visible on screen but to what extent are our movie loving patrons open to accept this form of experimental films can decide the overall commercial verdict.
Movie starts off on a wise note with Kajal and the needful mood created in coffee shop. Later Priyadarshi and Nani’s voice take lead in sympathizing with a struggler chef. Lines written on Fish, the Nani generated instant laughter. With Regina and Murali Sharma into the play, proceedings slow down significantly with some unwanted exhaustive episodes. Never did Prashanth strike an emotional chord including Avasarala Srinivas, Devadarshi scenes. Interval is a shocker when we are informed on entire setup is within the coffee shop.
Second half begins with Nithya Menon, Esha Rebba’s marriage proposal before parents. A bouncer for Telugu audience, I found some viewers enjoying them as if like comic parts though the social issue sounds very serious. With lots of twists and turns around, Regina facing the ghost as his boyfriend pitches a burglary plan and story went haywire pushing towards coherence. Esha’s portrayal of painful childhood and abuse in this male dominated society should have been dealt far better. Finally, Kajal revealing the big box of every character in coffee shop took birth from her imagination (multiple personality disorder) leads to a tragic climax.
In-totality, Awe is a brand new attempt from producer Nani and director Prashanth Varma which had its share of advantages to stand tall in winning few awards whereas acceptance from overall common audience in Box Office terms is a question mark. Given the budgetary restrictions and Nani’s relation with all the star faces in team (on remuneration terms), Awe can be a passable venture with 2.75 stars rating from Cinejosh.