Keshava is a crime thriller film starring Nikhil Siddharth and Ritu Varma in lead roles. Abhishek Nama produced the film under Abhishek productions. Sudheer Varma has written and directed the film. Keshava released worldwide on 19 May 2017.
The writer and director of the film, Sudheer Varma, himself told that several Hollywood films inspired the movie. It is difficult to relate the film to any other film as there are tons of revenge thrillers in Tollywood as well as other industries. The concept of dextrocardia is impressive and the audience well received it.
Keshava (Nikhil Siddharth) is a patient of dextrocardia. His heart is on the right side of the chest which prevents him from getting tensed or excited. His parents are killed in an accident when he was a kid, and is left with a paralyzed sister. After 12 years, he tracks down the killers one by one and kills them. The police investigation leads to Keshava as the prime suspect. Rest of the story is about how he kills everyone responsible for his parents’ death and walks away as a free man.
Story structure –
Keshava has a simple revenge story with a disability to protagonist. The revenge stories have a huge market and adding a disability to protagonist makes the killings more challenging and enhances the conflict. The movie starts with an accident which left the parents of Keshava dead. The director reveals the accident and the people responsible through several segments through out the film. They split the narration into chapters with each chapter dealing with a murder.
The beginning is good without wasting much time but at the same time it takes away any empathy for the parents of Keshava. At least, 5-10 minutes of story with the medical condition of Keshava, relation with his parents and friendship with Satyabhama (Ritu Varma) would have made audience to emotionally connect to the characters. Otherwise not telling the flashback at the beginning would’ve created suspense. Although these Two paths are routine, this is how cinema works.
The screenplay is too fast paced making the murders look so easy without any conflict. It is only during the Third murder that there is some resistance which makes the film interesting. The interval twist is great with a point of no return but they instantly diluted it in second half. The conflict is too weak to engage the audience. There is a Four corner opposition since the beginning of the film. The conflicts between Keshava and Satyabhama (suspecting friend), Sharmila (investigating officer) and the victims are all weak. The conflict with each opponent dilutes at some point in the film and it looks plain towards the end. The ending may leave the audience disappointed or wanting more as they have both established and resolved the conflict in the climax.
The characterization is too bad that there is not much thought put into the characterizations of lawyers, police and doctors. The dialogues are worst in recent times. They have reduced the scope of the film to a routine commercial Telugu film. With a smart screenplay and believable characters, Keshava could have been a milestone in Telugu cinema.
The worst part of Keshava is dialogues. After the first murder, C.I. Ravi (Ravi Prakash) enters the spot and his dialogues was, “Ee time lo ikkada murder evadu chesuntadu?” The police couldn’t find any clues and they doesn’t have any information about the killer. He later says to the doctor who conducted post-mortem of first victim, “Konchem late aina parledu detail ga cheppandi sir.” After the second murder, he comes to the spot and says, “Malli vaadena?” There are many such choppy dialogues through out the film. And almost all the characters in the film talk alike.
The screenplay is flat throughout the film. It lacks the intensity required for thriller films. While trying to resemble Hollywood films, it lost the soul. The use of chapters for segments is totally unnecessary as there is no shift between chapters.
Execution of Murders –
The murders lack planning and there are many loopholes throughout the film. During the first murder, Nikhil touches the rope with his bare hands. After the second murder, he leaves the tools used at murder site. He uses cello tape to cover finger prints for Third murder. While there are some interesting elements like collecting the stone with his blood and walking into the pond to avoid sniffer dogs, the execution of murders is terrible. Brahmaji doesn’t get out of his jeep but stays in it and dies while it is burning.
Being a law student, Nikhil could be careful but he commits many mistakes leaving his traces everywhere. He could wear a helmet, use hand gloves, collect information from internet or use more tools. There are several elements of the film they have left without reasoning. There is no point in pasting sticky notes throughout the wall without any order. The director could have thought of something practical.
Nikhil Siddharth has never played such a balanced role before and he does a good job. His expressions and body language, particularly during the fight with Raja Ravindra are convincing. His makeover for the film suited the script and his attitude is balanced throughout the film. Ritu Varma is good but her role is limited. She does a good job in expressing confusion and tension without much dialogues. Isha Koppikar perfectly fits her role with a dignified attitude and body language. Rao Ramesh plays a key role and is convincing. Vennela Kishore and Satya are good in comical roles.
The theme of Keshava is top notch with its freshness but the story and screenplay failed to translate it into a gripping thriller. The dialogues are mediocre. Cinematography is rich but doesn’t follow the narrative. The colour hues used in some scenes are unrealistic. Background music by Prasanth Pillai and songs by Sunny MR are good. The action sequences are realistic and editing is good. The production values by Abhishek Pictures are good. The direction is very good with some brilliant shots.
Keshava is a revenge thriller with an extraordinary theme. If certain things are taken care of, it would have been Rs 50-100 Crore grosser. Overall, it’s an engaging thriller with many flaws.