'Pushpaka Vimanam', which is produced by Govardhan Rao Devarakonda, Vijay Mattapally, and Pradeep Errabelly, is out in the theatres. Is it worth a watch? Let's find out.
Chittilanka Sundar (Anand Deverakonda) dreams of leading a happy married life. His wife Meenakshi (Geeth Saini) throws a bombshell when she elopes after shooting a letter to him days after the wedding. The missing Meenakshi is apparently in big trouble. This is when Sundar approaches Inspector Rangam (Sunil), who suspects that the husband is acting too smart and may have murdered his wife. The rest of the film is about what happened to Meenakshi, how Sundar deals with the situation at hand, and who is the real culprit in the piece.
Not many actors would be willing to play a husband who is a dull government school teacher. Anand Deverakonda deserves applause for going the whole hog. He tasted success with 'Middle Class Melodies' (2020; Amazon Prime Video), in which he played a petty businessman finding his feet in the tiffin business.
The next most consequential character is played by Geeth Saini, a relative newcomer. She fits the bill, although she needs ease. Saanve Megghava is emerging as a reliable artist. The budding, Telugu-speaking artist shows a lot of promise. Sunil and VK Naresh have played their parts with conviction. The latter is somewhat exaggerated, while the former is much like how he was seen in the recent 'Kanabadutaledu'.
Director Damodara has roped in multiple music directors, with Mark K Robin acing the BGM game. His work is better than that in 'Zombie Reddy', and also composes the song 'Chori Chori Dekho Rey'. Sidharth Sadasivuni-composed 'Aaha' is sung by Kailash Kher. Sid Sriram-crooned 'Kalyanam' is composed by Ram Miriyala.
The visuals are fine, with Hestin Jose Joseph's camera work being decent. Neil Sebastian's art direction is realistic. The editing by Ravi Teja Girijala could have been better.
Some films seek to shock the audience with a sudden genre shift. 'Pushpaka Vimanam' belongs to this category of movies. But the genre shift is not all-pervasive. Even when the drama assumes the form of a murder mystery, the comedy quotient is kept alive through the characters played by Saanve (an actress who is a side-in for Sundar's missing wife) and VK Naresh (who gets roasted by the cop).
Sundar's plight becomes the anchor on which the drama rests. The teaser/trailer had established how he tries to cover up his wife's elopement from prying eyes. The first half draws a few laughs. The banter between the colleagues at the school could have been better. The portions involving the male lead, Saanve and Kireeti are just about OK. The film expects us to notice the wall poster of Nithiin's 'Srinivasa Kalyanam' and find it ironic. In another scene, the newly-married Sundar is lying alone on the bed while a condom brand's flex is seen through the window.
The second half becomes a bit serious. The big reveal is made only in the final act. The investigation scenes are basic and don't create much interest. Had the unravelling of the mystery been gripping, 'Pushpaka Vimanam' would at least have worked as a semi-thriller.
The mish-mash of genres is something this film doesn't get right. The premise is good, while the comedy is average.