It is no exaggeration to say that 'Andala Rakshasi' is a brilliantly written movie. Be it the scenes or the dialogues, the film stands out for its emotional highs and subtlety. There are poetic dialogues that are delicately weaved into conversation. Without being verbose, the actors express so much. There are many situations which would have lent themselves for cliched lines, but the film never becomes mundane despite some moments.
Hanu Raghavapudi comes with the tact of a Shekar Kammula, the technical aptitude of a Chandrasekhar Yeleti and the story telling knack of an avant garde filmmaker. For Telugu, he is the biggest gift of 2012, after 'Eega'. It is difficult to say whether he had the right story or not, but it is certain that he knows the art and technique of film making more than most others of his tribe.
Telling the storyline would be to give away the film's soul. 'Andala Rakshasi' must be watched to enjoy its sublime beauty. The pure being of love can make to be honest to the backbone or sacrifice everything. It can be life-giving or poisonous, so the film testifies. Surya and Gautham are complete strangers, but they are destined to cross paths. The story is such that the title would suddenly seem both allegorical and noble sarcasm.
In the first half it is the suspense and the short but intricate conversations between Gautham (Rahul) and Mithuna (Lavanya) that make it an enjoyable watch. The characters undergo trauma themselves but the audience is not tensed to watch them. After a scene is over, you may want to wonder whether it was simple or mystifying.
The second half was light-veined and humorous. As Naveen (as Surya) woos her differently, Lavanya carries the film forward. Imagine a love story getting on to you without the boy not having much to do.
Why is Mithuna with Gautham when she should be Surya's wife today? Will Gautham ever win over Mithuna's heart? Is there more than meets the eye with regards to Surya's absence in her life? Answers to these questions are answered towards the end.
It might be difficult for many to digest the criminal angle revealed in the climax. One feels a bit cheated because the turn of events was out of sync with the film's flavor. What appears to be a true-to-genre love triangle turns macabre because someone thought selfishly. In the end, however, it is victory for the selfless lovers in Gautham and Surya.
The scenes were a dance of soothing emotions. It was also simply scorching at some points, while there were other moments which seemed to be heavy dose drama. Since the scenes were way too intelligent, the director could have helped us understand them through simple language. Even multiplex audience might find it knotty.
The promos gave the impression that Naveen has a larger part in the story. However, his presence on the screen was not there for long. But he had a pivotal place in the story.
Hanu extracted fine performances from Lavanya, Rahul and Rahul. They were modest and restrained throughout. However, they don't make mainstream heroes and heroine. Credit goes to Lavanya for ably taking the film forward for a good part in the second half. Rahul has got a good screen presence.
Cinematography and editing helped to elevate the film. Rathan's music and BG score were an asset. The art work was pleasingly beautiful.
All in all, the film works only for a minority. In any case, it must win prestigious awards and get appreciation from film fest panels.