Dayaa(Telugu, 8 Episodes)
Rating: ** ½
Years ago the talented Chekravarthy played the eponymous Satya in Ram Gopal Varma’s film, where he got completely overshadowed by Manoj Bajpayee . In our cinema the quiet performances always gets shortchanged.
In this not-unwatchable psychological crime thriller Chekravarthy again plays the title role. He is again disinclined to converse unnecessarily. The silences here are killing, as Dayaa transports the dead body of an activist-journalist across a gauntlet of dramatic interventions.
The problem here is not one of dramatic tension but its implementation. Director Pavan Sadineni seems burdened with the task of making the thriller thrilling for the audience. Some of press-button suspense appears highly manipulated. The exchange of bodies from the freezer van to a grave is not just ridiculous but highly unbecoming.
Elsewhere when the writer-director is not trying too hard, the material works well .
Helming the drama is Chekravarthy’s Dayaa who drives a freezer van, not knowing that he has just got himself into deep trouble.His friend and later travelling companion Prabha(Josh Ravi)with his aggressive negotiation with the villains, is not of much help.
The director keeps the plot moving constantly. There is no room for subtlety anywhere except in Chekravarthy’s reined-in performance. He belongs to the Kamal haasan school of performances but without the inbuilt theatrics.
Although the plot is Chekravarthi-centric, there is another equally important character of a journalist Kavitha played by Ramya Nambessan whose dirt-digging into the sexual escapades of a horny politician leads her up a thorny path to a rape victim.
This is where the series flounders. The rape theme is used as nothing more than dramatic prop in a narrative that refuses to sag even if it has to keep the drama firmly cemented through constantly plot-pampering.The consequent concoction, partly a road drama, party a crime thriller is more Sanjay Gupta than Kundan Shah. It gets by on the strength of a peppery plot proceedings and strong central performance.
I liked the subplot of Dayaa’s pregnant wife waiting for him to return home even as the crime scene gets hotter.The eventual unravelling of the tangled plot is not really as convincing as I expected. Dayaa doesn’t end with the flourish with which it takes off . But it doesn’t stop with a whimper either.