Vrithra the movie made a lot of noise with its trailer and had striking mysterious images while carrying the scent of a neo-noir thriller that showed a lot of potential.
Yes, the trailer did pick my curiosity. However, what triggered my anticipation was the title. What does Vritra mean? What’s the got to do with the story? Is this a crime thriller? If so, would it engage me throughout? I must say the movie has ticked off most of my expectations from an independent crime thriller.
The movie starts off with an interesting sequence. A night watchman who is on his rounds in an under-construction apartment finds a body hanging from the ceiling and is in a state of shock. The investigating lady police officer who has been pressuring her superiors to assign her an interesting case is instructed to take in charge of the case and is delighted. The team decides that it’s an open shut case as it looks like a suicide however the investigating officer Indra stumbles upon a couple of things that motivate her to pursue it further. What propels the story forward is an interesting set of characters, locations and parallel narrations that keep you at the edge of your seat.
The directorial debut by Gautham Iyer shows a lot of potential in the technical department. The cinematography is top-notch and complements the visual narrative. The screenplay in the first half takes you on a curious investigative journey that the audience connects with. The locations seem legit for the story and do manage to give you a tinge of reality. The supporting actors have also done a decent job.
However, the expectations that the first half sets up meanders halfway through and falls flat in the second half. Prakash Belawadi, the talented actor has been underutilized and his character doesn’t necessarily add value to the script. The edge of the seat thriller shifts places and takes a backseat in the second half. The bang or the suspense element that the first half sets up loses pace and suffers. The climax should have wowed us, but it did not. The climax scenes are preachy and become overdramatic as the director tries to bring in a bit of everything to the lead character.`
Considering that the movie is her debut, the actress has a definite scope of improvement for her acting skills. Throughout the movie, she is dull and has a straight expression that necessarily does not have to be the attitude of an investigating officer. The background score becomes overwhelming and most of the time it is loud.
I failed to see silence in the movie which would have allowed the audience to sink in the movie in a better way. After the villain is caught, the scenes become comical rather than being tense. The villain is completely fine with getting caught which is off balance.
Vrithra seems to promise the complexity that the title carries, but ends up being overly simplified and trivial. However, there are other reasons to watch the movie like its screenplay and cinematography. Gautam Iyer carries potential but has a long way to go in honing his skills as a filmmaker.
Review by Akarsha Kamala:
Akarsha Kamala is an electrical engineer by profession. He is an avid Cinema lover and a writer. Being a passionate Short movie maker, his short titled ‘Present Sir’ has won 2nd Best film at Shankar Nag memorial trust awards. Also, it was officially selected in the Bengaluru International Short film festival.