28th October 2020

V Movie Review: It Is Nani-Sudheer Babu’s Crackerjack Thriller

V(Amazon Prime

Starring Nani,Sudheer Babu,Nivetha Thomas,Aditi Rao Hydari

Written & Directed by   Mohana Krishna Indraganti,

Rating: *** ½

It is  appalling how  the language of  the  Great  Indian Masala Dossier is  looked down upon as an inferior brand  of cinema by some  critics, just because it engages  the audience without the  conventional  tropes  of  “serious” cinema, such as a brooding melancholic background score and actors who look  like they could do with a bath and a  stiff vodka.

V is drunk on drollery.  It  is  a conventional streetwise  sassy  savvy  potboiler with no claims to being anything else. Within the  restrictions  of  its genre is  masterclass in mass entertainment. The story  of the  serial killer and the  cop  , here played by Nani and Sudheer Babu,  has  been done to bludgeoning  death.  But  seldom with such vivacity  vigour and humour rendering the violence  more comic bookish than real, more  rumbustious than raw.

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Nani’s  cop-baiting killer act is  a  jaw-dropping winner. He is  cool brash and sometimes brutal  . But he  also  has a sense of humour. In  my favourite sequence  the killer Vishnu(Nani) travels on a bus with an elderly man  who is watching the  brutal  Korean serial-killer  film I  Saw the Devil on his phone.

 The way  Vishnu convinces his petrified  co-passenger that the killer instinct  exists in  every individual , is a  masterstroke of writing.Elsewhere before ruthlessly slitting a victim’s throat Nai discusses  the  cinema  of  K Raghvendra Rao with the  trembling victim.

I saw  skilled writing in many places .Alas, much of the  taut  treatise  on  sporty slaying comes undone in  the second-to-last act when all hell breaks loose.A  communal riot, a pretty victim(Aditi Rao Hyderi) , an act of retribution… and voila!  The killer is not a serial killer after all, but something else.

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 This turning back costs the narrative heavily  in  terms of  credibility. But writer-director Mohana Krishna Indraganti manages to  stop the  plot from dead-ending  in a stumble and a fall to the ground with a last-act confrontation between Nani and Sudheer Babi (shot on a scenic sea-facing  location) which, like  much of  the rest  of the film,is skillfully written ,handsomely shot and effectively  directed.

 I also  liked Sudheer’s  courtship with the attractive Nivetha Thomas. It is  adeptly woven into the thriller and could  be considered the comic relief in the tense drama, were it not for  the fact that Nani’s  track as the   in the thriller is inherently laced with a wicked humour that  I have not seen applicable to death   since Jaane  Bhi Do Yaaron and Death Becomes Her.

Not quite  the film that you would love to death , V nonetheless maintains a firm grip over the grammar  of  giggly gore, letting go only  towards the end  but catching the beast before it falls to the  ground.

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