Sandalwood
The film takes time to take off but becomes exciting once the mystery stars to play out.

Of late, titles based on popular announcements at the railway stations and bus stations have managed to keep the cash counters ringing at the box-office, and here is another movie Prayanikara Gamanakke (meaning 'kind attention passengers') which has made it to the theatres this week.

The film has seven prominent characters and focuses on their journey. A driver (Bharath Sarja), conductor, a couple who have fled home, a pregnant woman and an old man are put together in a bus and their thrilling journey forms the crux of the story. While the six are en route Hyderabad, the seventh main character a businessman (Lokesh), enters the bus. His entry changes the mood of the story.

At places, the film reminds us of the Tamil flick Engaeyum Eppodum - when the old man reminisces his good times with his wife or when the pregnant woman thinks about her husband while looking outside the window. But these scenes are very limited and only introduce the characters of the film.

While the first half is all about character introductions, comedy scenes between the eloped couple and conductor, the movie takes a U-turn in the interval – when a problem confronts the passengers. The second half sees the entry of a police officer Deepak Shetty, who charms the audience with his mannerisms. The story line shifts to the investigation and unraveling of the mystery. Who is this businessman? What does anybody want from him? Is Bharath Sarja really the bus driver or has he got something to do with the mystery? Are all the passengers plotting together? 

The first half has nothing much to offer and breezes by. However, post interval, the story becomes thrilling and makes for a gripping watch. A few comedy scenes fail to evoke laughter and can be branded as poor jokes. The movie is all about ‘It happened one night’ and the director has managed to pull the right strings to keep the audience on the edge of their seats, though, it takes a little time to actually take off.

The film has only two songs – journey songs – and they are just okay. Background score is the highlight as it helps the movie move forward. Bharath looks apt in the driver’s role. The actor post his debut, has bulked up and has done absolute justice to the role. His acting, however, needs some improvement. Having said this, it is Deepak Shetty who steals the show as the policeman. He is smart, intelligent, and knows where he is headed with every small clue he gets about the mystery. His dialogue delivery also gets some whistles. Lokesh, as the businessman, has played his part well. Amita Ranganathan as a co-passenger has a very small role.

Prayaanikara Gamanakke marks the debut of the director and falls under a good attempt category. The first half could have been crispier with better editing. Worth a watch, surely.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.