'Dongalunnaru Jaagratha', produced by Suresh Productions and Guru films, hit the cinemas today (September 23). Here is our review of the box office release.
Raju (Sri Simha Koduri) is a petty thief who breaks into a tailor-made car with a special security system. Since the car has some specialized features, he gets trapped inside. He struggles to break open the doors. Even the control panel is not going to work the way he wants it.
A mysterious man named Dr. Chakravarthi (Samuthirakani) turns out to be Raju's enemy, controlling the vehicle. He also placed a ticking time bomb inside the car. Can Raju survive the ordeal?
Sri Simha Koduri brings to the table the awareness that the role demanded. He looks vulnerable. His acting is as satisfactory as it was in his first movie, 'Mathu Vadalara'.
Samuthirakhani, one of the most sought-after character artists, piques the audience's curiosity to a limited extent. He is limited to just 10 minutes of screen time. Preeti Asrani, despite being a non-Telugu (she is a Gujarati), does a commendable job at getting the lip sync and lines right. But she too has no much screen time. Srikanth Iyengar and Bhanu Chandramouli, among others, are limited to the climax.
Since most of the survival dama is set inside a car, the cinematography by Yeshwanth C had to be inventive. The director of photography deploys his smarts in getting the visuals right.
Kaala Bhairava's background score is endowed with the ability to convey the downcast mood of the proceedings. Gandhi Nadikudikar's art direction is decent. Editor Garry BH didn't have much to do.
This film has been touted to be Tollywood's first survival thriller, although the OTT release 'Thank You Brother' (starring Anasuya Bharadwaj) preceded it. The upcoming 'Yashoda' (starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu) is also a survival thriller. Unlike 'Thank You Brother' and 'Yashoda', 'Dongalunnaru Jaagratha' doesn't have a pregnant woman at the centre of the plot.
This film is a remake of '4x4' (2019), the Argentine-Spanish crime thriller. Last week, we saw 'Saakini Daakini' coming from the same producers. It was an adaptation of a Korean crime actioner. There, the gender of the protagonists was changed. But 'Dongalunnaru..' is a remake where no substantive changes have been made.
Even at 90 minutes, the film is too long. The second half tests your patience till before the climax. The last 10 minutes are mostly on the expected lines.
One feels '4x4' didn't have the creative muscle and thrills to be told to the Telugu audience. Most definitely, 'Dongalunnaru..' was not supposed to be a theatrical release in the OTT era.
This movie has a borrowed premise. The story is basic. The plot doesn't move an inch for too long.