This mystery thriller is a classic example of how, with a very low budget, minimal ‘acting’, and no stars, cinema that is insightful and meaningful can be made.

Wo Ram review Lakshmi Manchus minimalist thriller leaves an impressionScreenshot: Youtube
Flix Review Friday, July 20, 2018 - 15:15

W/o Ram begins as an amateurish murder thriller – a helpless, hapless lady trying to get justice for her murdered husband. The usual police station scenes and apathy follow, almost satirical of all the years of cinema where the police station scene has been a trope. Losing her belief in the system (obviously!) she sets herself the task of going about the inquiry herself and starts unearthing one clue after the other – making the usual thriller-lovers yawn because these coincidences happen in bad thrillers dime a dozen.

Somewhere in the middle of the movie, you realise Deeksha (Lakshmi Manchu) is not as naïve as she seems, and aided by an honest constable (Priyadarshan), makes it seems as if the movie is up for an early ending. We have the murderer nabbed... But what follows reveals entirely new layers.

The movie follows the template of good thrillers, using the instincts of a well-informed movie lover to build a story, and then revealing something new. What this movie does well is also making sure that the revelation leaves an impression, because of the bigger picture.

Written and directed by Vijay Yelakanti, this mystery thriller is a classic example of how, with a very low budget, minimal ‘acting’, and no stars, cinema that is insightful and meaningful can be made.

The lack of housefull crowds for such movies shows the absence of an experimental streak in us moviegoers, largely because the track record for such thrillers is low in Telugu.

However, this movie ends with a jarring note, elevating the script to something much beyond just a regular murder mystery thriller. It highlights a major social problem we have all been indifferent to, and brings home the point that the problem lies in our houses, in our families.

Raghu Dixit’s score enhances the minimalism, rarely distracting us. The length of the movie is an advantage, and there is no drag at any point of time.

While Lakshmi Manchu should be lauded for picking a role such as this and doing justice to it, her stuttered dialogue delivery is a little annoying at times and needs getting used to. That shouldn’t take away from what was good screen presence and acting. Flashes of Kahaani and the comparisons thereby, cannot be avoided, but it is important to watch this movie for what it is.

Samala Bhaskar's camera work using slightly darker tones for a major part add to its pull, and the few character artistes there are, including the corrupt SI, bring genuine value. What famous names do we really need?

All in all, this is two hours well-spent, especially for those tired with the usual monotony of blockbusters.

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.

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