Movie Review: Antariksham
Varun Tej, Aditi Rao, Lavanya Tripathi, Rahman, Satya Dev, Avasarala Srinivas and others
Director - Sankalp Reddy
Producer - Rajeev Reddy, Sai Babu
Banner - First Frame Entertainments
Music - Prashanth Vihari
Antariksham 9000 KMPH is not a regular Telugu movie. It is the first space film ever made in Telugu film industry. After making a submarine war film Ghazi, director Sankalp offers a space thriller now.
What is it about?
Dev (Varun Tej) is an astronaut who launches a satellite named Viprayan on to the moon to see if there is any water on it. However, the mission goes wrong and Dev's life takes an upside down that he ends up as a school teacher. Indian Space Center is alerted when a satellite Mihira changes its path and on course to create a havoc in the world's communication system. Now Dev and a team of astronauts go on their mission to correct the error. But Dev has other thoughts in his mind.
Varun Tej delivers a believable performance as a sincere and duty minded astronaut. His body language and styling is apt. Aditi Rao is good within her limitations. Lavanya gets a miniscule role. Rahman as the space center chief is good. Srinivas Avasarala, Satyadev and Raja are aptly cast in their respective roles.
Sankalp springs in a surprise yet again by pulling off something that was considered 'unimaginable' for a Telugu filmmaker. He not only has a strong science background but also has done enough research on satellite missions and astronauts. Despite his efforts to offer something different from usual, Sankalp didn't put enough thought into developing his script. This is definitely a laudable attempt, but not anywhere close to what Ghazi has accomplished as a film.
Background score by Prashanth Vihari is world class. He has lifted many scenes to another level with his score. Cinematography and art work are also superb for a film of this budget. Editing is adequate in the second half. VFX could have been better and far more convincing. Production values are alright.
Antariksham is a rare film that leaves the audience with mixed feelings. It is underwhelming as a film, but still seems satisfactory for being unique and standing out of the crowd. It is pretty evident that Director Sankalp Reddy doesn't want to make regular films. He has once again impressed with his choice of genre after an impressive Ghazi. Sankalp not only has the guts to explore the new genres but also has enough knowledge and talent to pull them off.
Of course, Antariksham follows the template of this genre films, but is successful in giving a different experience to its viewers. Although space films are a rarity in Indian cinema industry, Hollywood regularly makes movies that are set in space. Sankalp follows the template followed by those films. However, he doesn't have the budget and equipment to pull something on Hollywood level.
He has done a decent job in making a satisfactory space film, but should have worked on a better plot. The story is very unconvincing and unrealistic at times. Too much cinematic liberty leads to scenes that are totally unbelievable. He has once again shot the film in a cramped up space like Ghazi and was able to create absorbing drama at times. But there is not a single mission that keeps you on the edge of the seat.
There are deliberate attempts to make it appeal to the 'masses', but nothing is convincing enough to make the audience root for its characters. Full marks to the efforts and the attempt made, but Antariksham falls short of expectations with its thin plot line and unconvincing screenplay. You may watch it for one of a kind experience, but do remember to keep your expectations in check.
Verdict: Laudable Attempt With Weak Content!