Dasara: A Rustic Revenge Drama Bolstered By The Lead Actors’ Performances And The Atmospherics

Nani & Keerthy’s show all the way!

Dasara (Telugu)

  • Cast: Nani, Keerthy Suresh, Anant Singh, Dheekshith Shetty, Samuthirakani, Shine Tom Chacko, Sai Kumar, Jhansi, Poorna, and Zarina Wahab
  • Director: Srikanth Odela
  • Producer: Sudhakar Cherukuri
  • Music: Santhosh Narayanan
  • Runtime: 2 hours 36 minutes

P Sukumar’s Rangasthalam (stage) and Pushpa: The Rise changed the mainstream Telugu cinema grammar in significant ways. They presented their heroes in a vastly different light from what the audiences are generally used to seeing.

First-time director Srikanth Odela was an assistant to Sukumar before making his directorial debut with Dasara. The hangover of Sukumar is visible in terms of how he sets up his story.

Like the above-mentioned films, Dasara also has a rustic background. In Pushpa: The Rise, the backdrop is a remote forest where the smuggling of red sandalwood is rampant.

In Dasara, it is the Singareni coal mine area. At its core, Srikanth Odela’s Dasara is a typical revenge saga where the viewers can easily guess how it is going to end.

What redeems the film is the performances and also how the young director has mounted the story.

Synopsis

The story of Dasara is set in a village called Veerlapally. The period is the 1990s.

The movie begins with the story of three childhood friends Dharani (Nani), Soori (Deekshith Shetty) and Vennela (Keerthy Suresh).

Dharani is attracted to Vennela but he sacrifices his love after learning about Soori and Vennela’s love. He also helps them in their endeavour to get married.

When everything is going hunky dory things change drastically and their lives turn upside down – all because of the politics between the two village heads.

Amidst these developments, Dharani faces a shock of his life that forces him to fight back. This is the story in brief.

Excellent cinematography & production design

The film starts in a gripping manner. The life of the three friends and the bond between them keeps you hooked.

The villagers’ addiction to alcohol in the coal mine area and the problems that come with it keep the audiences engaged.

Srikanth Odela is also successful in portraying the cultural and social specificities of that area. The case in point is the “Bathukamma” (a flower festival celebrated by the women of Telangana) performance during the Dasara festival.

A special mention must be made of cinematography and production design. Sathyan Sooryan does a splendid job of capturing the rawness of the area through his lens. Singareni Coal Mine area has an authentic feel to it.

Falters after interval bang

Much like Rangasthalam, here too, caste politics play an important role. Though the angle of caste politics isn’t as strong as in Rangasthalam, Srikanth Odela still does a fairly fine job.

The pre-interval chase sequence and the intermission bang have been expertly handled. But things stagnate quickly after the true intentions of the villain are revealed. As a consequence, things become dull.

The running time of two hours-plus feels quite heavy, particularly the elongated climax when Dharani goes on an absolute killing spree.

Santhosh Narayanan’s music goes well with the Telangana flavour. The “Bathukamma” song and “Chittu Chittula Gumma”, in particular, have been well-tuned.

Nani & Keerthy Suresh shine

As Dharani, Nani knocks it out of the park. There is no trace of the boy next door that we generally associate with the actor.

The actor just disappears into the rustic avatar starting from his body language. He portrays the many emotions with ease.

Dharani’s character has an interesting design to it. When he doesn’t consume alcohol, he comes across as timid. But when he drinks, he is completely another person.

This character trait of the protagonist has been effectively used by the director, particularly in the later portions when Dharani decides to get over his alcoholism.

Keerthy Suresh stands out as Vennela. The actress shines bright in both the light and the emotional bits. She shares good chemistry with both Deekshith Shetty at the beginning and Nani later on.

Dheekshith Shetty as the friend gives an effective performance. Although he is there only till the interval, the actor more than makes his presence felt.

The likes of Sai Kumar and Samuthirakani needed to be better used.

The same applies to Malayalam actor Shine Tom Chako as well. He has a good presence but the character needed to be more unhinged to make an impact

Except for Keerthy Suresh, neither Poorna nor Jhansi has anything worthwhile to do. They mostly don’t have a say.

Verdict

Watch Dasara for Singareni and Nani.

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