Kshnam - will keep you guessing

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Kshnam - will keep you guessing

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The best part of thrillers is that you don’t need to relate to the actors; rather you are invested in the story, rather the suspense and the outcome of the events. If that investment turns out to be misplaced, you are disappointed. If a thriller can maintain the suspense and capture the imagination of the viewer, that film pays off in spades. Kshnam is such a taut thriller, which is executed brilliantly with a shoestring budget of Rs 1 crore.


Kshnam tells the story of a mother who lost her daughter and when the law or even her family won’t help her, turns to her ex-boyfriend for help. When the reluctant ex-boyfriend starts looking into the situation (not that he is a brilliant investigator or even a muscle-bound ruffian), he finds many loose ends and starts questioning everything, including whether there was ever a child at all? What happens after that forms the rest of the story, since it’s a thriller, I will respect that and won’t give away the story, but given the premise and the screenplay, it reminded me of a few Hollywood movies, specifically ‘The Forgotten’ with Julianne Moore, and ‘Gone Baby Gone’ with Casey Affleck. The latter is based on the novel by one of my favorite authors Dennis Lehane (I do think they messed up the movie Gone Baby Gone, but I am a book lover first and movie aficionado next, so there’s that…). Nevertheless, Kshnam, doesn’t outright copy the movie scene by scene, rather takes a few ideas from these movies and weaves a perfect tale that is well suited for Telugu milieu. The film feels fresh and the screenplay very tight lifting it up from the usual crop of crass movies. In fact, I’ve not enjoyed a Telugu film this much in a long time.

Ada Sharma as a distraught mother, who is driven to the edge of sanity by the circumstances and people around her, does a great job in the movie. Adivi Sesh, who plays the NRI ex-boyfriend, does a brilliant job in a writer backed role (he is the writer of the movie by the way), he has not only acted in the movie, he is responsible for the story, screenplay. The director Ravikanth Perepu and the rest of the technical team have done a commendable job and the film is flawless and gripping. Although Vennela Kishore has done a supporting role, there’s nothing to write home about. Anasuya as a top cop shines in her role, although she could’ve done more, but I guess it would’ve added to the length of the movie, so we have to contend with what’s offered. Satyam Rajesh is a standout, foregoing the usual characterization of him, the filmmakers have really uncovered a hidden gem in this actor.


Although the love story is told in series of flashbacks, it doesn't really affect the pacing; for someone who is depicted with very little connections in India, the protagonist does seem to have an uncanny luck in stumbling upon clues, but we have to allow these to help with the proceedings owing it to cinematic liberties. I've seen some reviews and comments on the internet questioning the fundamental reason why the child was kidnapped, I have to say it does look a little weak in this Telugu version, because they took the original idea from 'Gone Baby Gone' as it is, without the drama surrounding it, so for those for whom it is a sore point, I invite you to check out the original film, better yet check out the original novel. Even with these minor misgivings, Kshnam is the must-see movie of the season, and a daring and successful (I might add, based on the box office collections it managed to pull so far) one at that.

Bhaskar Gandavabi
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