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Critics Review
Adbhutham movie review: Nothing magical about this ambitious yet haywire romance

Teja Sajja and Shivani Rajashekar come up with earnest performances in this ambiguous film bereft of depth

Srivathsan Nadadhur
Nov 19, 2021
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Surya, a television newsreader, leads a lonely, desolate life after his father's death. He isn't respected at work, has almost no reason to be happy about and increasingly gets frustrated with his empty existence. Surya finds it best to end his life and before he does that, leaves behind a message (that no one's responsible for his death) to his own mobile number. However, to his shock, the message reaches another girl Vennela, who has the same mobile number as him and is also on the verge of suicide. What does destiny have in store for the two?


It's one thing to write a good story and another, for it to be made into a promising film. Adbhutham, prior to its filming, would've been visualised as an fairytale romance where two star-crossed lovers overcome barriers of time, nature and destiny to unite. One can have the most pathbreaking ideas in the world, but it takes simplicity, clarity in the execution/storytelling when you're catering your product for a mainstream audience. It may not necessarily mean spoonfeeding it to them, but you also need to give them a reason to stay invested in your story. This doesn't happen with Adbhutham.

Adbhutham ventures into the same terrain as Manam, tying up a romance angle with destiny/supernatural elements. While the latter came out in flying colours despite its complexity, Adbhutham is mired in confusion. Manam may be too tall an example to be compared with Adbhutham, but the latter could've borrowed a leaf out of it, especially with the graph of the characters, the evolution of the relationships, the simplicity and the effortlessness with which humour and the destiny angle came together as a unit.

The lead characters in Adbhutham, a directionless musician who turns into a newsreader and a girl who's trying every trick in the book to avoid marriage, are neither meaty nor appealing. Beyond the fact that they share the same number and get talking/messaging, there's not a single sequence or a conversation where you want them to come together despite all odds. The relationship, or let's say the execution, is too superficial for the viewer to invest in their romance. The screenplay is redundant in parts, time and again stressing why one must not tinker with destiny.

The parallels with Ramayana, where Rama's ring sent to Sita in Ashokavanam is equated to a message, are interesting though the director doesn't build on it later. Music and humour are the lifelines of romances and needless to say, they are Adbhutham's weaklings. Be it the supposed comedy track set in the news channel office or Vennela's various unfunny attempts to thwart her alliances, the film struggles to build any momentum. The lesser said about the music, the better. For a film where the lead character is an aspirant musician, one can't have an excuse for coming up with such a paltry, mediocre music score.

The film is overlong by at least a good 45 minutes and the screenplay that goes back and forth between 2014 and 2019 is a huge mess. The climax seems to have been inspired by Aditya 369. Teja Sajja and Shivani Rajashekar are extremely promising though they can't salvage the ambiguous, cluttered narrative. Devi Prasad, Tulasi, Sivaji Raja are wasted in inconsequential roles. Satya's brand of sarcastic humour is getting repetitive lately. Despite popular names like director Prasanth Varma, writer Lakshmi Bhupal associating with Adbhutam, there's nothing magical about the final result.


It's not hard to guess why Adbhutham had to take an OTT route for release. There's little in it that would merit a big-screen experience, be it the canvas, the storytelling, the performances or the music. Though Prasanth Varma's story can't be written off entirely, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Teja Sajja, Shivani make for a good on-screen pair and have impressive screen presence, but this isn't the film that does justice to their potential. Skip it for good!

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