Ravi Babu deserves a pat on his back for crafting one of the finest suspense thrillers in Telugu in recent times, but the film truly belongs to Poorna.
There’s a saying that fear is just a state of mind, but in Ravi Babu’s latest suspense thriller Avunu, this belief takes a new shape. Avunu explores the fear of being alone or autophobia, as it is called in medical terms, through the eyes of its protagonist Mohini (Poorna), a newly married woman who’s being haunted by a ghost. Lest you think Avunu is just another thriller which manipulates us with a story of a damsel in distress, Ravi Babu catches us completely off guard with a gripping screenplay.
Harsha (Harshvardhan Rane) and Mohini (Poorna), a newly married couple, move to a new gated community which is far from the hustle bustle of the city. The duo plan to go on a honeymoon to Paris, but Harsha is asked to go to Bangalore to solve a technical issue which has put his company in a fix. As Mohini tries to adjust to her new life, she senses that an invisible force is lurking in the house, watching her all the time and pretty soon, all hell breaks loose.
Is living alone in the dark so terrifying? We can only delve into our own experiences to find an answer, but what Ravi Babu does get right is the portrayal of this fear. Poorna, who was last seen in Seema Tapakai, delivers a knock-out performance as the young woman whose worst fears come true. There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide and her fear is accentuated even more in an explosive climax. Since the camera remains static, the fact that Poorna and Harshvardhan Rane hook the audience for almost two hours with their performances is itself quite an achievement. Voyeurism is another ubiquitous element in the film. Cinematic liberties aside, there are moments where we end up wondering if it’s really necessary to see what Mohini does at home when she’s alone.
Avunu scores high in terms of technical aspects and Ravi Babu’s strategy to leave almost everything to the actors in noteworthy. So what makes Avunu such an engrossing film? The answer lies in the eye for detail and a strictly no-gimmicks approach to showcase the protagonists’ desperation and fear. Two thumbs up for Avunu. It’s neither a great film nor does it have a novel story, but there have been very few films in this genre which have hit the bull’s eye in terms of packaging so much within two hours. That’s a rarity in Telugu cinema.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Hemanth writes primarily about Telugu cinema, although he finds inspiration from the works of filmmakers like Woody Allen. Apart from writing, he spends most of his time on Twitter discussing about cinema, travel and life in Hyderabad.