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Dayaa Does For Chekravarthy What Satya Couldn’t



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.

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