Virupaksha Movie review: An honest attempt in a new genre
“Virupaksha” film story happens in year 1979 and in 1991 at Rudravanam. In 1979 The villagers burn a couple alive suspecting they are practising blackmagic. Dying couple put a curse that entire village will die by next pushkaram. Fast forward to 1991, to counter the series of deaths happening in the village, Ashta Digbhandhanam has been setup. Still the mysterious deaths continue, Surya ( Sai Dharam Tej) gets into action to find who is causing the deaths. Rest of the story is what he finds has been revealed in gripping twists.
“Virupaksha” is a mystic horror thriller set in a village in the past. The setup and genre brings freshness as they aren’t usual. The film hooks from the opening itself. The sequence involving the black magic at the start sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the proceedings and also for the audience concerning the expectations.
Another significant aspect is the Rudravanam village and the world created by the director. They are the elements that engage the audience and hold their interest. It helps overcome the tepid love track, even though brief one in the first half. The real deal lies in the main track involving the murders and finding the reason behind them. They are done well and have enough meat to hold the attention.
The interval bang, too, is neatly done, as it makes one look forward to the second half with intrigue. The second half carries the momentum from the first half. Things move briskly, but the problem becomes apparent immediately. While doing well in sticking to the content, the director does the same with the formula related to the genre. The narrative progresses predictably and on expected lines. It lacks spine-chilling moments or genuine thrill moments. Take the entire stretch of finding Bhaivara and other links related to the deaths, for example. They are at a decent level but don’t go to the next level. Whatever feeling we get or the high that is partially felt is mainly due to the excellent technical work on display.
Similarly, the character’s behaviour change from the first to the second half also has a formulaic thought. Things like these don’t let “Virupaksha” go to the next level and leave one spellbound, more so considering the thundering work technically. The climax after all the build-up is satisfactory. With slight trimming, it could have been better.
On a whole, “Virupaksha” is a genre flick that sticks to the genre out and out. It is commendable as it features a known hero. However, it relies heavily on the technical work to pull through more than twists and thrills, which is decent. If you like thrillers with a mix of mysticism and horror elements, Virupaksha is a perfect film for the weekend.
Sai Dharam Tej is back on the big screen after a long gap. “Virupaksha” is his first outing post-recovery. The actor, therefore, is definitely not at his peak physicality wise as he looks heavy most of the time. He is particularly awkward on screen in running shots which could have been minimised. Coming to acting, there is nothing challenging in Virupaksha. It requires a confident presence to navigate the proceedings, and Sai Dharam Tej provides it, and that’s it.
Samyukta Menon starts on an ordinary note, especially in the first half. She has less screen time, and even the scenes involving a love track have no impact. However, things change, and she surprises where it matters in the climax. It is not extraordinary or memorable, but works well.
Coming to other actors, “Virupaksha” has an impressive supporting cast. We have many known faces like Sai Chand, Rajeev Kanakala, Ajay, Sunil, Brahmaji, Kamal Kamaraju, Anchor Shyamala etc., donning different get-ups and looking far from what they appear routinely. And that’s the good thing about them. When it comes to acting or memorable sequences, there aren’t many.
Karthik Dandu makes his directorial debut with “Virupaksha.” He is succeeded with the outcome of the film. He delivered what he wanted without getting compromised. In some parts, audience could feel that having a supporting cast and crew, he could have done it much better.
Coming to other aspects, technically “Virupaksha” is slick and deserves a huge round of applause. The sound design and the background score are excellent. B Ajneesh Loknath does a fabulous job. His work elevates even ordinary moments—the sound design (Raja Krishnan) further aids big time in creating the spookiness alive throughout. The VFX work is not heavy but is done well, helping the proceedings. Shamdat Sainudeen’s cinematography is good. Most of the movie happens in a village set up, which is captured neatly. More importantly, the world of Rudravanam is brought alive through these technical works; that is where “Virupaksha” grabs the attention. The writing is alright, with parts of it working.
Impressive script and Screenplay
Excellent Sound Design
Samyuktha Menon & Sai Dharam Tej in second half
The brief love track
Lag at times in first half