'Chitrangada', starring Anjali and directed by Ashok G of 'Pilla Jamindar' fame, hits the screens today. Here is our review:
Chitrangada (Anjali) is an assistant professor who has set out to research about the existence of spirits. Least does she know that she herself is behaving like a possessed woman, scaring the daylights out of the hostel students.
While she is told by the victims of her sexual assault that she occasionally lusts after women, Chitra's biggest headache is decoding a dream she has been getting repeatedly: A dream in which she sees a young man being killed by a woman on the banks of a lake somewhere in America.
She goes all the way to US to know more about the murder so that she can know what the spirit of the dead person is trying to tell her.
In the process, she comes to meet certain important people who hold the key to the inexplicable dream.
The climax is about how she is shocked to know about her past, and more.
Touted to be a horizontal thriller, 'Chitrangada' is based on a novel, which itself is based on a true story.
Writer-director Ashok G commits some grave mistakes in narrating a layered script. He introduces one too many elements, leading to avoidable chaos. Is Chitra a lesbian? Is she possessed? Why are the lights always almost switched off in the corridors/rooms of the hostel (and even the Principal's room is only half-lit)? Is it a horror or a thriller?
One Nadi astrologer comes and goes away urgently to make way for a psychologist (played by Jayaprakash)! Adding to the confusion is the illogical characterizations of good characters as bad ones (read the psychologist and his assistant).
If all this is not enough, almost every character tends towards over-reaction. They shout at each other even though it's not needed.
Once Chitra is in US, she is hardly worried about her unconscious sexuality. Rightly so. But, having been introduced prominently to this element in the first 30 minutes, the audience waits for its rationale to be established. And the wait becomes endless.
The one dream that Chitra is trying to demystify becomes the story-teller's main concern. Not wrongly. But even here, the pace becomes incorrigibly slowed down. The way the character Samyuktha (Sakshi Gulati) is etched leaves much to be desired. What is the love for Chitra she is talking about? Before we find an answer to this question, our patience has been tested too much.
Saptagiri as Punjuko Babban is there to remind us of 'Prema Katha Chitram' here and the Nellore lingo there.
The last 25 minutes or so is reasonably good. The way Chitra's childhood is briefly told is effective.
This is an out-and-out Anjali-centric movie. She is seen in almost every scene. Her act gets repetitious after a while. Sakshi, Sindhu Tulani and others fit the bill.
The songs are ruthless. One is not sure what they were thinking while composing the BGM. Bal Reddy's cinematography is sub-par.
The thriller entertains in the last leg. The characterizations are weak. Slow pace adds to the woes. Technical elements go for a toss.