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Recce review: A sinister rural thriller executed to perfection

Writer, director Krishna Poluru has a great understanding of the rural backdrop and the crime thriller setup, extracting fantastic performances from a committed team

3.5rating
  • Srivathsan Nadadhur

Last Updated: 10.16 AM, Jun 20, 2022

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Recce review: A sinister rural thriller executed to perfection
Recce

Story:

There’s an attempt to assassinate a local leader Varadarajulu in Tadipatri ahead of the municipal elections. A group of four men are employed to carry out the crime without any traces of evidence. Who wants to see the end of Varadarajulu? Will the cops succeed in outsmarting the criminals?

Review:

Recce is a classic example of a sinister small-town thriller executed to perfection. The writer, director Krishna Poluru has a fair understanding of the setup that completes this rustic world, be it the ambience, the lingo, the characters or their dark secrets. The show, in more ways than one, resembles the hopelessness and chaos of the ‘kaliyuga’. This is a universe where desire gets the better of a human, consuming them so much that neither kith nor kin matter.

The show, like a typical whodunit, takes off with a murder of a mysterious man in a village (charred to death) and an underdog cop desperate to use the case as a trump card to rise in the ranks. The story divides its attention equally among the criminals, victims and cops. None is above the other, all have their shades of grey and the storyteller crisply establishes the conflict points in their lives while spreading his delicious twists across the seven episodes.

The major highlight of Recce is its attention to detail - the modus operandi of the assassination bid in Tadipatri occupies as much significance as the crime. The many criminals in the show look no different than an average common man and can lose themselves in a crowd without sticking out like a sore thumb. They hide their secrets beneath their conventional appearance and are more menacing for the same reason.

There are two sides to everyone in the story and the director sustains the tension in the narrative by showcasing the stark contrast between their public and private lives. While Varadarajulu’s wife may look like any other homemaker, she is patient enough to use the right opportunity at the right time. The son may appear dutiful but there’s a fire in him that none of his near and dear can douse. 

The credibility behind the motive, the timing of the twists and slick editing are integral for any thriller to work. If Krishna Poluru’s writing gives it the right foundation, the technical appeal enhances its impact manifold. Composer Sriram Maddury’s rustic score complements the rawness of the proceedings while the art director, cinematographer Ram K Mahesh and the editor make it impossible for you to take your eyes off the screen.

Krishna Poluru, who directed Buchinaidu Kandriga in the past, has ample experience with the episodic format on the small screen and his skill shows in the way he structures his episodes with terrific precision. The beauty of Recce is how it brings together many talents, who may not have had the right opportunities to showcase their worth previously, together under one umbrella and gives them those meaty characters they richly deserve.

Sammeta Gandhi and Rajashree Nair get some of the best-written roles in their careers and it’s a rewarding experience to see the way they make the opportunity count. Sriram a.k.a Srikanth handles restraint so effectively, with a character that hides its emotions despite experiencing several internal conflicts. Sivabalaji is the huge surprise package - there hasn’t been any project like Recce that has tapped into his potential any time before. Dhanya Balakrishna's role lacks meat.

Ester Noronha plays the seductress to perfection while Aadukalam Naren is a casting choice that works right. Saranya Pradeep, Uma Daanam Kumar, Thotapalii Madhu, Swami Naidu, Prabhavathi, Koteshwar Rao too shine in impactful roles. Fresh after the success of Pushpa, the Rayalaseema slang seems sweeter and more authentic in Recce. The 90s era comes to life minus any cliches or overdone stereotypes. The show has the depth in its world to span across multiple seasons.

Recce is ZEE5’s best Telugu show after Gods of Dharmapuri.

Verdict:

Recce is a well-made, binge-worthy show where solid writing does the heavy-lifting and it benefits from apt casting, terrific cinematography and a riveting music score. Sivabalaji, Sriram, Rajashree Nair and Sammeta Gandhi deliver their career-best performances.

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