Virupaksha Review: A pulsating thriller with great visuals and good performances
Surya(Sai Dharam Tej) and his mother visit their ancestral village of Rudravaram. There, Surya falls for Nandini(Smayuktha Menon). When things are going fine in his love story, a series of deaths shock the village. The temple head reveals to everyone that the village is haunted by an evil spirit and no one can enter or leave the village for eight days. In all this, Surya starts his own investigation and finds out that there is someone behind these mysterious deaths. The rest of the story is as to how Surya unravels the mystery and saves the entire village.
There is no denying the fact that Virupaksha is one of the most well made films in recent times. It is a film where every craft shines and gives their best to the audience. Be it the visuals, sound design, or the taking, everything is spot on. The film is co-produced by Pushpa director Sukumar and his screenplay during the first half is arresting as one gets drawn into the suspense right away.
Debut director Karthik Dandu creates a mystic atmosphere in the film as his interesting storyline only adds to the visual experience. He does not waste any time and takes you into the world of Virupaksha with his gripping visuals. The romantic track between the lead pair looks lethargic but the director cuts it short and engages the audience with a good twist.
In a way, the sound design and background score is one of the heroes of the film. Ajaneesh Lokntah's sound design and background score elevate the film to the next level and keeps the audience invested in the storyline. Virupaksha is devoid of regular commercial format but one does not get a chance to complain about such things as the narration keeps the audience hooked to their seats
There are so many spooky moments in the film which jolt you from your seats. The interval bang where Sai Dharan Tej unravels the mystery is showcased in a superb manner. What draws your attention in Virupaksha is the writing part which is very good. Debutante Karthik Dandu has made sure that his story has thrills, horror elements, and proper emotions. His story had enough twists for the audience to get invested into the storyline.
Yet another major plus point of the film are the performances. Every character etched by Karthik Dandu has a proper graph. Sai Dharam Tej sheds his mass image and is perfect in his lead role. The manner in which he showcases subtle emotions suited the film's tempo quite nicely. But the meaty part goes to Smayuktha Menon who shocks us with her performance. She, as the fun loving girl in the first half and with a solid twist in the second is the mainstay of the film. With Virupaksha, she will surely go to the next level in her career.
Noted actor, Ajay gets a good role after a long time and Brahmaji, Rajeek Kanakala, and Sunil are decent in their respective roles. Anchor Shyamala is very neat in her key role. Virupaksha also has its fair share of issues. As said earlier, the romantic drack is dragged for no reason and the key second half becomes a bit slow. The manner in which the director reveals the actual villain could have been shown in an arresting manner. To create more suspense for the audience director Karthik Varma adds many scenes in the climax which derails the drama a bit and makes the film look dragged for no reason.
When compared to the first half, the latter part has fewer thrills. If the second half would have been more racy the result would have been even better. Having said this, for the first time director Karthik Dandu has done a fabulous job. His narration and the way he immerses the audience into a different world with mystic thrills and gripping screenplay is worth an applause. The icing on the cake is the fabulous production design by Shamdat which holds your attention till the end.
On the whole, Virupaksha is a breath of fresh air amidst the plethora of commercial films that are made in Telugu cinema. The mytich thriller has a great storyline, spellbinding music score, and arresting narration. Barring a few issues with the pace, Virupaksha is a film that should be enjoyed on the big screen. Go for it.