Ardha Shathabdham review – A good theme wasted

Title: Ardha Shathabdham
Rating: 2/5
Reviewed By: Sai Nikhil
Cast: Karthik Rathnam, Krishna Priya, Sai Kumar, Naveen Chandra
Director: Rawindra Pulle
Streaming on: Aha
Language: Telugu

Story: A small misunderstanding leads to huge caste violence at Sircilla in 2003. Who were affected in this incident and what was the end result forms the rest of the story.

Performances: Karthik Rathnam is excellent in his role. He is quite confident and comfortable in closeup shots. Among the supporting actors, nobody has much screen space. Sai Kumar, Subhaleka Sudhakar, Naveen Chandra, Ajay and Krishna Priya have done their part well within limited space.

Technicalities: Camerawork is good and created a raw feel and tone to the film. Music is passable but there are too many songs that could have been cut short. Fight sequences are not executed in the best way. Dialogues have extensive usage of cuss words in order to convey the intensity of the scene. The overall production design felt a bit weak with most of the film revolving around a few streets and houses in a village.

Analysis: The theme of the film is interesting. The title comes with the caption “The Democratic Violence” which created some amount of curiosity. The film starts off on a slow note with the love track and too many songs taking up most of the first half. Once the film turns serious, it gains some kind of grip but it is not supported by strong writing. There is a lot of violence and goriness in the film but all that is not supported by a strong emotional core. Except for Karthik Rathnam’s character, none of the other characters or their problems have been established properly. Hence, all the serious scenes and violence feels flat and ineffective and doesn’t make us root for or care much about anyone. Some of the dialogues in the second half between Subhaleka Sudhakar and Ajay remind us that the film actually tries to convey something strong but the execution and writing do not support the film’s intention in any way.

On a whole: Ardha Shathabdham is a misfire and had scope to be something very impactful.

Rating: 2/5

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