'Karthikeya 2', produced by TG Vishwa Prasad & Abhishek Agarwal, was released in theatres today.
Dr Karthikeya is fond of exhibiting his mental prowess. He is a doctor with a scientific bent of mind, often laughing at the so-called superstitions of the religious people. Much to his surprise, he becomes the chosen soul to trace an ornament belonging to Lord Krishna. This ornament holds the greatest wisdom conceivable for the material advancement of mankind. In his search, Karthikeya has to confront the villainous Dr Santanu (Adithya Menon) and even a sect that worships Lord Krishna. How his search proceeds, is what the film is about.
Nikhil Siddharth sinks his teeth into his character, getting the beats of a thoughtful role right. He proves to be a bankable actor in the film's earnest portions. Anupama Parameswaran as his comrade-in-arms is decent; after playing a college role in 'Rowdy Boys', she gets to show a different angle. It's good that the actress is not limiting herself to bubbly roles.
Adithya Menon looks too suave for the role, but the writing saves him. KS Sridhar as Prof. Rao is adequate. But his body language should have been different.
Anupam Kher, who recently delivered an award-worthy performance in 'The Kashmir Files', is failed by run-of-the-mill dubbing. But his one scene is spot-on. Srinivasa reddy and Harsha Chemudu are hardly comical.
This is one of the few Telugu films whose Director of Photography and Editor are one and the same guy: Karthik Gattamneni. The cinematographer has worked on films as different as 'Awe' and 'Disco Raja', but 'Karthikeya 2' is going to be a feather in his cap. The camera work raises the bar.
Kaala Bhairava's task was cut out. His BGM had to blend the majesty of an MM Keeravani and the updated style of a Thaman. And he delivers that. This film could be Sahi Suresh's most challenging project since the 'NTR' biopic movies. His production design amps up the feel, adding to the mystical quality of the script. The VFX has both hits and misses. One didn't expect the scenes narrating incidents from a bygone Yuga to be so CG-heavy.
There are three tracks through which the story is narrated. In the first track, there is the head (Dr. Santanu) of a secret society who is like your evil guy from 'Bimbisara'. He wants all hidden wisdom for himself so that he can use it for his personal growth.
In the second track, there is an archaeologist (played by KS Sridhar) who is determined to see to it that Lord Krishna's secrets, hidden somewhere in India, benefit mankind before Santanu can hatch a conspiracy to prevent the good from happening.
In the third track, we have Dr. Karthikeya, who is clueless about his destiny. He is a brilliant doctor and a man of reason. And his destiny is to do whatever can be done to prevent Santanu from realizing his evil dream. There is a reason why he is the chosen one.
Manibabu Karanam not only penned the lines but also worked with Chandoo Mondeti on script development. The narration goes back and forth in time. And the initial portions present one too many elements. Until the pre-interval block, the singular purpose of the film remains this: using the audience's cluelessness about the subject to inspire enormous curiosity.
The second half, therefore, should have been far better. But the film becomes a treasure hunt sort of script, relying on occasional humour. As it is, the comedy involving Srinivas Reddy, Viva Harsha, Nikhil and Anupama falls flat. This is quite a disappointment if you think of it. You expect the pay-offs to be terrific. But that doesn't happen.
Just as 'Bimbisara' was saved a great deal by MM Keeravani and Kalyan Ram, 'Karthikeya 2' capitalizes on what its music director and lead man have on offer. Like 'Akhanda', the potential Hindutva movie makes use of Hindu mythological themes to give a grand experience. The audience were spell-bound by Balakrishna's performance, Thaman's BGM and the Lord Shiva-ism in that film's second half. One has to see what the box office and luck have in store for 'Karthikeya 2'.
'Karthikeya 2' ticks the right boxes for a good part. Its meritorious visuals and religious symbolism work in its favour. The performances are decent. But the second half presents quite a few underwhelming ideas. The climax is a plus.