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Calling Sahasra Movie Review - A punishing watch

December 1, 2023
Shadow Media Productions, Radha Arts
Sudigali Sudheer, Dollysha, Spandana Palli, Siva Balaji
Sunny Domala
Srikanth Patnaik
Mohith Rahmaniac
Venkateswarlu Katuri, Chiranjeevi Pamidi, Vijesh Tayal

'Calling Sahasra', starring 'Jabardasth' fame Sudigaali Sudheer in the lead, was released in theatres this Friday. In this section, we are going to review the thriller:


Ajay Srivastava (Sudheer Anand) is a Hyderabad-based cybersecurity analyst who falls in love with Swathi (Dolly Shah), a new acquaintance. When he procures a new SIM card, strange and inexplicable things start to confound him. He starts receiving calls and SMSes from his own mobile phone in a surreal turn of events. Just when he attempts to crack the puzzle, he gets entangled in a murder. The rest of the film depicts his singular fight to uncork the mystery of the mobile phone, the mystery caller, and determine if everything is the handiwork of a supernatural force or a sinister human.


A gripe against film reviewers is that they use the term 'TV serial production values' every other Friday. If the term has to be used with the confidence of a Swamy Nithyananda delivering a harebrained sermon, 'Calling Sahasra' is the one that deserves it without reservations. In fact, some TV serials have better colour grading. This reviewer watched this movie on a national multiplex screen and the aesthetics were insufferable despite the general screen quality.

The film plays at a speed of 0.5x, the conversations periodically spoon-feed the audience, and the ageist comedy involving the male lead's sidekick comes with subpar comic timing. The director's attempt at making a genre-bending movie by relying on worn-out tropes (the confusion between hallucination and reality, for instance) tests the viewer's patience within the first 30 minutes itself. The film's production design choices are about shooting a love song amid 'picchi chetlu' on the outskirts of a city.

The core plot takes forever to arrive. By the time the intermission arrives, you are treated to a young, over-friendly female guest in a forlorn 2BHK trying to scare two men in utter vain. The conversations between the lead pair are atrocious. Sample this: Swathi is a professional costume designer who is inspired for a lifetime after she listens to the male lead explain to her the difference between tailoring and designing. You needn't be a feminist to get triggered by this senseless dumbing down of the female lead just to show your male lead as a smartass male.

Happy discoveries and artificial coincidences put all the contrived thrillers out there to shame. Siva Balaji plays a limping character whose dialogue delivery can induce sleep in a snap. The BGM conveys a melodramatic mood or a horror mood, or worse, it goes silent. There are stretches that make it clear that post-production was completed in a hurry because if you can't compete with 'Animal' at the box office, what is the purpose of your life?

Sudheer is suited for a particular brand of comedy. The makers of 'Jabardasth' (the TV comedy show) knew that and played to his strengths. He is not a hero material and 'Calling Sahasra' proves it beyond doubt. He struggles to emote and his misery is made worse by sloppy editing and sloppier camera angles.

Closing Remarks:

'Calling Sahasra' is a nightmare. Its medieval production values and silly writing induce a pounding headache.

Critic's Rating