Director Ashwin Gangaraju may be too long, but its pure intentions, combined with equally coherent storytelling, make it worth watching.
It took time to form the tone of Aakashavaani, directed by Ashwin Gangaraju. As a one-liner, it sounds like a down-to-earth drama, like Cinema Bandi. Imagine this: long after independence.
A child from a small tribal community, isolated from the rest of the world. It stumbles upon a radio station that quickly accepts the oppressed and uninformed as God.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find the idea funny. Maybe because of the caricatures of tribal communities. That we’ve seen in some movies in the past, but Ashwin had other plans. In contrast, Aakashavaani chose a much more severe and harsh tone; The focus is solely on the tyranny that befell innocent tribes and their livelihoods.
It is a commendable endeavour with varying results.
The script works a little over two hours and takes time to build the environment, rules, beliefs (you can call them superstition) and hierarchies.
In other words, we get a complete picture of life and the oppressive order that prevails in this vast and lawless land. Suresh Raghutu’s cinematography, Mohan and Sandeep’s production designs. And Raghunath Kemisetty’s sound design played an equally important role in bringing us to this place.
We even understand the fears and beliefs of these innocent people; the movement of light, which they regard as the “star of death”. It points to the passage of life, which is then revealed in its climax.
The religious norms that the tribes adhere to are so deeply ingrained. Tat even when their revolt against the oppressors culminates in Narasimha killing Hiranyakasipu, they are not disturbing. Writing avoids arrogance by having a teacher named Chandram samuthirakani, the essential prop to duplicate his dialogues.
Even though the influence of Tamil on dialects is unavoidable breaks. This breaks down the misconceptions that feed these tribes from generation to generation so that they can understand – by drawing signals from their own beliefs.
Did he manage to shake their reality with a long speech, like a regular samutiakani? Not exactly; he’s more likely to catalyze them, and I like this community going through a period of distrust when Chandram tries to improve their belief system.
Ricky Gervais once said, “If we take a scripture and destroy it in a thousand years:
It will not return to the way it was. However, if we destroy every scientific book in a thousand years, they will all come back because they will all give the same test for the same result. “Aakashvaani is also promoting something similar, and I admire how skillfully she puts science into the plot without being condescending to act.
However, the film feels too long, and there are no characters to root for. When you feel like the characters are about to continue the story, they end up dying instantly. Similarly, the intention to shape a lifestyle makes some scenes seem redundant.
Even after we deal with tribal suffering, we have to witness their hardships over and over again. For example, when Chandram meets the forest dwellers for the first time, the film takes us on tour to learn about their practices and beliefs with him.
While the discovery took Chandram by surprise, we felt nothing because we already knew this environment. After a while, the film doesn’t communicate much, but it takes a sweet time to resolve the conflict.
Similarly, the script moves the film’s terrifying villain, Vinay Varmas Dhora – armed with a moustache, sword and assistant who tries to emulate Allu Ramalingaiah – into a caricature of a tyrant. We hardly feel afraid, even when he mercilessly kills the innocent, nor do we mourn the fallen.
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Perhaps a more famous person could glorify a one-dimensional villain. Having portrayed her grief relentlessly for most of the time, I wish the film had taken a few more minutes to show her a better life, making it a more rewarding experience.