'Hidimbha', produced by Sreedhar Gangapatnam and SVK Cinemas, hit the cinemas today (July 20). Here is our review of the film:
During the late 1990s, in Kerala, a father imparts a Pushpa-esque lesson to his son, elevating hunger to the highest truth in the universe. He indoctrinates his son in the ideology of the jungle.
In present day Hyderabad, sixteen girls have gone missing over the past few weeks. The police department is on the edge. Abhay (Ashwin Babu), a macho cop, is asked to carry out an urgent investigation under the aegis of a special officer named Aadya (Nandita Swetha). As they delve deeper into the investigation, the duo uncovers a recurring pattern behind the serial kidnappings. However, this revelation forces them to confront a haunting and gruesome past.
Ashwin Babu of the 'Raju Gari Gadhi' series fame is not so appealing. He looks muscular and macho, but the physicality remains peripheral in the absence of strong dialogue delivery and emotional range. Nandita Swetha is not reduced to a prop and that's the only plus. As far as her career goes, she gets to essay the strongest role since 'Ekkadiki Pothavu Chinnavada'.
Makrand Deshpande fearsome cannibal is good. Sanjay Swaroop (as a cop going through the motions), Raghu Kunch (striving hard to look cynical), Rajeev Kanakala, Sijju (in an overlong flashback), and Srinivas Reddy (he had no place in a serious film) make this a middling film on the casting front.
The cinematography by B Rajasekhar should have been way more inventive for a film of this sort. Since the screenplay choices made and the landscapes involved are fairly many-sided, the camera work could have been better. Perhaps, the producer was constrained by budgetary considerations.
Vikas Badisa's music is not always loud but it doesn't push the envelope either. The background score is good in the pre-climax and climax portions. MR Varma's editing is choppy. Sharmila Yalisetty's art work merely scratches the surface.
The action choreography (by Real Sathish, Jashuva) doesn't raise the bar despite the intensity on paper. The Kaala Banda fight (in the first half) is staged well but the dishum-dishum is unoriginal. It's only the suspenseful mood that makes the fights feel different here and there.
To the film's credit, it comes with a very neat twist. Whether that is shocking enough or not depends on your exposure to dark thrillers. The audience are loving grey characters these days. Writer-director Aneel Kanneganti tries to embed the story with a twisted ideology, though, and it can sound laughable after a point. If the audience members buy into the twist and forgive the film's ideological justification of the villain's motives, 'Hidimbha' might stand to benefit.
The dialogues by Kalyana Chakravarthy are cosmetic in nature. They don't capture the cathartic nature of the plot.
The investigation scenes in the first half are convenient. Aadya is introduced as a special officer. She starts carrying out basic investigations as if she is the first investigator. Prior to her arrival on the scene, what were the cops doing? Even tracing locations using SIM card identification and tracking the social media profiles of the missing girls is shown as the epitome of Aadya's intelligence.
The flashback after the interval is the point from where the film actually makes a start. But the narration goes on and on.
Post flashback, 'Hidimbha' maintains a certain momentum till the end. With better writing and high-end execution, this one could have been another 'HIT 2'. It most certainly can't be another 'Virupaksha', which had a smarter story right from the start.
'Hidimbha' has a decent second half. A silly investigation track and superficial performances are a minus.