'Ahimsa', produced by Anandi Art Creations, was released in theatres today. Here is our review of the movie.
The story is set in a village. Raghu (Abhiram Daggubati) and Ahalya (Geethika Tiwary) are related to each other as 'bava' and 'maradalu'. If you know Telugu cinema and Teja even cursorily, you will know who between them is the naughty one. The story is staged as a Nibba Nibbi tale in the beginning.
Their joyous journey is snapped when two beastly men set their evil eyes on the village. A shocking incident later, Raghu's philosophical transformation makes him take up weapons.
Abhiram is presented as a naive character vulnerable to exploitation and oppression. Director Teja's knack once lied in selling such male leads who transformed themselves into heroes, powered by God and animated by ethics. The skill was his calling card in the early 2000s. Not anymore. But, on his part, Abhiram acts fairly well.
Debutante Geethika emotes more in the songs than in the scenes. Bollywood actor Rajat Bedi is cast in an outmoded role and is presented in an intolerable manner. 'Jayam' and 'Aparichitudu' sensation Sadha is seen as a quick-gun lawyer. The court scenes involving her are absolutely silly; Teja doesn't have an idea how trials happen in real life.
Manoj Tiger, a criminal from the villain's side, is monotonous. Devi Prasad, as the heroine's father, is insufferable (much like Ravi Kale and Kamal Kamaraju).
RP Patnaik's songs compete with Teja's narration in being dated. The nature of music has undergone a massive shift in the era of DSP, Thaman, and Anirudh. In contrast, Patnaik is still relying on his 'Nuvvu Nenu' era style. Sameer Reddy's cinematography is below average, while Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao's editing is a misfire.
Even Anup Rubens' background score is terrible. Action Director BV Ramana and fight master Real Sathish fail to engage. A few fights were mounted by Teja himself.
In a pre-release interview, Teja commented that Indians are confused about the philosophies of violence and non-violence. He apparently made 'Ahimsa' to help us ignorant idiots comprehend Lord Krishna and Lord Buddha in one stroke. This is an exalted mission that even great men like Osho and RGV haven't thought of accomplishing.
Teja was a trendsetter in the early 2000s. The bad luck is that the trend didn't last long. It was great while it lasted. The problem is that Teja doesn't get it. He continues to rely on those very same characterizations and sensibilities that worked because of excellent casting in the era of 'Nuvvu Nenu' and 'Jayam'.
Teja must stop confusing staged escapes, instant low-stakes adventures, and chases for filmmaking. His male lead in 'Ahimsa' is seen scaling gates and walls, mounting a mid-night escape from the hospital and making a mini general ward out of the nearest jungle, so on and so forth.
The film gets extremely tiresome in the second half. The band of smugglers messes up the story without adding anything of value.
'Ahimsa' is proof that Teja's films are no longer fun to watch. We don't want to watch over-crying, over-talking and over-threatened nibbas and nibbis. Kindly spare us!