“Truth can’t be changed, but the way truth is seen, can be”, says Vikram, a currupt cop to Sameera, the prime suspect in the murder of Ashok in Venkat Ramji directorial Evaru. This line sums up the whole movie. The way the truth is presented dominates the actual fact.
The film by itself is an investigation, where one perspective is one enough. Each and every perspective matters. There is even a smart dialogue about the infamous 2008’s Talwar case. Now it strikes me that Meghna Gulzar’s directorial ‘Talvar‘ even analysed the crime scene from various angles, and the fact that it was based on real incidents is chilling. But, creating a whole fictional crime scene, weaving webs and tying loose ends takes more effort, I guess.
And Evaru, smartly adapts 2016’s ‘The Invisible Guest’ and adds another perspective to it instead going for a frame by frame remake. Let me say, going for a frame by frame remake wouldn’t have much impact on the so-called nativity because the mystery is intriguing but adding a viewpoint adds value to the screenplay and shows the efforts put in by the writers. While gender swapping has been a superfluous point of argument, it added vulnerability for the female in subject, leaving more ground to explore emotions like guilt and hatred from a woman’s perspective. This is not something that we see often, atleast in Telugu.
Well, let me address the elephant in the room, ‘Badla’. Yes, I’ve seen it. I actually enjoyed Evaru very much because I wanted the writer to be as step ahead of me, cause I felt atleast some proportion of the demography Evaru is aimed at, must have seen the Hindi adaption. And damn yes, he is. The film actually explores the back story of the crime and narrates it from the police perspective as opposed to the victim’s in the former. The whole film felt like a crime scene being investigated from a different angle. No. I don’t mean the crime from the film. Having seen the Hindi version, I felt the whole movie by itself, with the angle the writer gave to the film, felt like he presented it from a second person perspective.
Abburi Ravi’s dialogues are on point. Each and every line in Vikram and Sameera’s conversation makes sense. If I can call it, Evaru is a ‘dialogue film’, majority of the film is talking, and surprisingly these conversations build the curiosity more than the scenes where characters are actually ‘doing’ things. The engagement factor is maintained high thanks to Abburi Ravi for his dialogues and Venkat Ramji for smartly adapting the screenplay. There is a smart dialogue about marketing, saying how it is all about telling you what you like before telling you what you must know. I won’t reveal the context though!
If there is a background score that manages to neatly gell with the film, this has to be it. Sricharan Pakala’s music doesn’t sound like it is elevating an emotion but rather is a part of the film.
Coming to the cast, it feels like everyone is getting their due. Starting with Adivi Sesh, not only he gets a back shot that leads up to his introduction but the film is called Sesh’s Evaru. He puts on glasses and the music kicks in. It is not the typical mass. But it is, one of its kind. And he has earned it. While the introduction is just on the surface, the conversations between him and Sameera are brilliant. It could have easily sounded over the top, but it doesn’t.
Regina Cassandra brings in the right amount of irreprochability, innocence and the said vulnerability to Sameera, whose character has multiple layers. This is what happens when writers fully flush out a character. We get to know a lot about her and the more we know, the more it contributes to the proceedings.
Naveen Chandra, a terribly underrated and under-used actor also gets his long pending due with his portrayal of Ashok, a short tempered police officer who manages to get you hate his character very well, and it is a compliment in this context.
Evaru is brilliant, it is not flawless though. But the falws are negligible considering the good things completely outweigh the flaws. The only song in the film could have been avoided and even through out the duration of song, I just wanted to know what’s gonna happen next.
Despite seeing Badla, I had a very good time with Evaru. The film does push some boundaries for Telugu cinema to say. Was a gay character ever mentioned without an intention to pull off some senseless stereotypical comic relief? Was a sex scene ever shot realistically without making it look fantastical? Evaru does this. Do you want more? There is a brilliant murder mystery waiting for you. Like Vikram says, answering a question with another question, I’ll conclude with- Who doesn’t love a good murder mystery?
PS: There is a super cool throwback to Kshanam, 2016 film written by Adivi Sesh. Remember Constable Reddy? Seems he got transferred to Coonoor, Tamil Nadu and is currently posted there!
Evaru is now streaming on Amazon Prime.