'Eakam', which has made it to several film festivals, recently headed to the theatres in the Telugu States. In this review, we are going to talk about what the film gets right and what it doesn't.
The film tells the stories of five key characters from different backgrounds. Aberaam Varma plays Anand whose destiny it is to be jobless. He is not a cog in the wheel but is a supermind. His segment is tied up with that of Tanikella Bharani's character, a temple priest angry at Lord Vishnu for a reason.
Somewhere, Divya (Aditi Myakal) is struggling to find her feet in the world of business. Her coffee shop is a loss-making venture and her boyfriend is not what he comes across as. The track also has a place for Dayanand Reddy's character. There is a twist in the tale that comes in the second half.
Then there is the track involving Nitya (Kalpika Ganesh), who is a Human Resources person at a company. She has a tryst with Anand.
Finally, there is Swetha Varma's character. The woman has been wronged by voyeurs and she gets drawn to a cult named Nirvana Society.
For a film with an Indie flavour, 'Eakam' has got decent enough performances. There are many familiar faces and their acting is not over-the-top. Aberaam Vama plays a nuanced character without overdoing it. That's quite important, considering that most of the films with a philosophical tone have actors seeming very conscious.
Aditi Myakal draws our sympathy. She has a well-etched character arc. Swetha Varma could have shown the agony in a more effective way. Dayanand Reddy is nice, while Kalpika Ganesh is okayish. Tanikella Bharani is superb despite the melodrama that his character involves. Lakshman Meesala, Anish Avanuri are part of the cast.
Producers A Kalyan Sastry, K Sriram, and M Pooja rope in a technically able music director to do the job of elevating the scenes with montage songs. Jose Franklin delivers scores that would have been befitting even in a mainstream commercial movie. In the first half, especially, a lot of scenes have short montage songs playing in the backdrop of serious scenes.
Iqbal Azmi's cinematography is somewhat basic. Srinivas Thota's editing could have been far better, considering that an acute lag is felt in the second half.
The staging of the story is not straightforward. The lead characters are introduced as the five elements that make the Universe and there is a clear metaphorical subtext. Sai Kumar's voice adds heft. The segments are described in slightly complex terms. 'The Curse', 'The Jobless God', etc. are intriguing.
Anand or the Jobless God raises the utmost curiosity. While the lines that he speaks or his behaviour are not exciting, we are invested enough to wait for how his life is going to unfold as time passes. Director B Varun Vamsi somehow reduces him to a cliched bohemian who is into smoking and talking vaguely. Of course, the smoking habit does make sense at the end. But his is a unique character and there should have been more to how he speaks and behaves.
The track involving Nirvana Society should have been tantalizing. After a point, it doesn't keep us involved at all. The segment acquires the flavour of a road film where two travellers are just letting their hair down. Wasn't the film supposed to be ennobling?
The aura of the divine is felt only in the climax, where terms like 'Vairagyam' and 'Vaibhogam' are thoughtful and draw us into the world of the film. Had the writing been consistently evocative like the climax, 'Eakam' would have been a really special experience.
'Eakam' has received multiple awards at international film festivals. It has got an excellent premise and a philosophical outlook. The first half keeps us invested but the sluggish and generic second half doesn't.