'Dasara', produced by Sudhakar Cherukuri’s SLV Cinemas, was released in theatres today.
The story is set in a village near Singareni in Telangana. Dharani (Nani), Vennela (Keerthy Suresh), and Suri (Dheekshith Shetty) are childhood friends. Suri and Vennela are in love with each other. Sarpanch Nambi (Shine Tom Chacko), meanwhile, develops a rivalry with Sai Kumar's character in the arena of politics. An unexpected element kicks in when the political feud in the village results in unspeakable suffering for the three friends.
Natural Star Nani puts in a one-man show even though his character is reduced to a supporting character in the first half. He is intense without overdoing his rage. He goes on a rampage and specially uplifts the climax. He masters the Telangana dialect in a role that doesn't require him to speak much.
Keerthy Suresh evokes sympathy for her character. She plays a semi-glamorous role. Her chemistry with both Nani and Dheekshith Shetty helps the proceedings. The latter is commendable although there is a danger of him looking typecast.
Samuthirakani and Sai Kumar let Malayalam actor Shine Tom Chacko steal a march over them. Purnaa of 'Avunu' fame is seen as the villain's wife. The artists who played friends of the main lead act naturally.
Santhosh Narayanan's background score might not lend a touch of novelty but the flourishes of a unique score are not absent. The songs, especially 'Chamkeela Angeelesi' and 'Dhoom Dhaam', are enjoyable. Sathyan Sooryan's cinematography and Avinash Kolla's production design accentuate the viewing experience. Naveen Nooli's editing is apt.
Real Satish and Anbariv mount the action scenes fairly well, but only the climax fight is raw and suffused with tension. The sound design by Suresh G and S Alagiakoothan is appreciable.
The story and screenplay written by debutant director Srikanth Odela are co-written by Jella Srinath, Arjuna Paturi, and Vamsi Krishna P. While the writing is largely respectable, some stretches lack the zing. Thota Srinivas's dialogues are passable.
The film lacks a surprise element, something that becomes glaring as the story progresses in the second half. Even when Dharani has a moment of reckoning, there is nothing dramatic about it. Nani's character should have been developed in a novel way instead of showing him as a compulsive drunkard and an ultra-loyal friend who is given to impulsive rage - like those characters from the Tamil movies of the 2000s (post the arrival of Bala, Vetrimaaran and such filmmakers).
The concealed motive of the villain is a routine element. The director tries his best to make it seem unconventional by having a less-known character reveal it. In retrospect, after the film is over, it comes across as a run-of-the-mill idea. Jhansi is also a miscast.
Keerthy Suresh's Vennela gets to speak her mind. However, for the rest of the film, she is a typical village belle whose innocence we have to buy into. The second half has a predictable trajectory. In the case of 'Rangasthalam', which too had some of the elements we see in 'Dasara', the last 40 minutes were terrific. The dramatic turns in the equations between the characters played by Ram Charan and Prakash Raj were mind-blowing in it. 'Dasara' doesn't have such a quality.
'Dasara' is watchable despite its predictability. The production values, the authentic setting, and time-tested elements like loyalty and friendship amplify the film's merits.