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Critics Review
Asmee Movie Review - Rushika Raj excels in this edge-of-the-seat revenge thriller

The film is directed by Sesh Karthikeya and also stars Raja Narendra and Keshav Deepak

3.0
Srivathsan Nadadhur
Sep 03, 2021
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Story:

An ambitious, independent girl Asmee is mysteriously kidnapped by a man and brutally tortured in an unknown site for nearly four years. Asmee tries hard to flee the site but is physically, mentally shattered beyond repair. She remains clueless about the reasons behind her current situation but is miraculously set free one day, for reasons best known to her abductor. From her family to friends and career, nothing about Asmee's life is the same anymore. A couple of friends come to Asmee's rescue and her college-mate Siva takes one step further to help her sail through the situation. Where is Asmee and Siva's relationship headed? Will Asmee ever get to know the man who has destroyed her existence?

Review:

No genre in cinema activates your senses like a good, solid thriller. When done right, a thriller has the potential to hit you like a thunderbolt, which of course is a rarety in the case of mainstream Telugu cinema where purist filmmakers are only a handful. However, Asmee, directed by first-time filmmaker Sesh Karthikeya, proves to be a welcome surprise. The taut, compact thriller spanning a little over 90 minutes, restricts its universe to only half-a-dozen characters but surprisingly leaves you bamboozled with its twists and its dark, raw treatment.

The film is a dark, revenge thriller at heart, whose plot mostly unfolds over a long night, one that keeps throwing new surprises, shocks to its pivotal characters. The storyteller deals with a hard-hitting social issue in the garb of a thriller, but knows the elastic of his script and preserves his twists carefully. There's an air of mystery around each character and your loyalties keep shifting from time to time. The filmmaker opts for a linear approach to the story and doesn't allow any backstories or flashbacks to disrupt its momentum.

The first hour adopts a more leisurely approach, taking the viewers through Asmee's plight whose world takes a turn for the worse after her kidnapping. Be warned that a few scenes may even leave you repulsed at times. The director tries to dissect the mind of a woman who just can't trust someone by their face value anymore. As a viewer, you are curious to know more about the characters, their daily life, but the film's scope is restricted to a huge house where Siva and Asmee reside. 

There's hardly any breathing space in the second hour, where the screenplay is solid and actress Rushika Raj is at her very best. The dialogues are sharp, to the point and the Sanskrit verses do well in providing context to the idea of dharma in the hour of crisis. Raja Narendra has a good screen presence and popular theatre person, character artiste Keshav Deepak gets ample scope to shine. Hemanth Varma and Indu Kusuma are apt for their brief parts too. 

Asmee has several ingredients that make for a good thriller - a tight-knit script, assured performances by its lead cast and a crisp run time. Composer Sandy Addanki's score keeps the spirit of the film intact. Yet, the technical standards of the film feel compromised at places (given its shoestring budget probably?), especially with the cinematography. 

Verdict:

Watch Asmee with an open mind and you'll surely come out surprised with the efforts of a young team that's sincere in its approach to storytelling. The film's narrative is raw, original and riveting. Besides the writer-director Sesh Karthikeya, the film introduces you to a stellar, confident performer in the form of Rushika Raj.

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