Film: Bujji Ila Raa
Cast: Sunil, Chandini Tamilasaran, Dhanraj, Srikanth Iyangar and others
Director: 'Garudavega' Anji
Crime stories that have a female child's plight as a key plot point make for a poignant watch if the core emotion is wedded to a well-rounded arc. Bujji Ila Raa comes close to having a story that is anchored in the undying love of a lovable parent and a traumatised family ravaged by tragedy, confusion, betrayal, and ever-present danger.
Director 'Garudavega' Anji deals with a relatively less complex psychological thriller where crime is told with sensitivity, at least for the most part. He also casts Dhanraj as a Circle Inspector who looks somewhat dull but not without a reason. When the reveal is made, you are convinced of how the actor, who started out as a full-blown comedian many years ago, approaches the character of a cop, thoughtfully. The CI is baffled by a series of kidnappings and murders of pre-teen girls in Warangal, and the investigation track has traces of twists.
Sunil, who of late is restricting himself to playing serious roles only in small films, plays a cop named Khayyum. His entry just before the interval sustains the tonal shift of the film in unexpected ways. The second half is animated by unanticipated thrills that make for a decent watch, although the final stretch could have avoided an attempt at lightness. Posani Krishna Murali and Venu could have been done away with.
Although the writing could have avoided the trap of convenient ideas, the screenplay uplifts the story without resorting to lazy red herrings. Srikanth Iyangar plays a middle-aged father whose fears and insecurities deepen the proceedings. His character has got an excellent arc, which is why it is remembered more than the one played by Sunil.
Chandini Tamilasaran is seen as Keshava's housewife, an unpredictable character who feels like a riddle. Usually, small-scale psychological thrillers think over-dramatisation is a substitute for fresh ideas. Bujji Ila Raa, for all its itch for occasional melodrama and loudness, rises above cliches. The title is justified in an affecting turn of events.
On the flip side, the film takes longer than it should, letting the law and order issues plaguing Warangal give way to the actual story. The first hour is strewn with a few extraneous elements. At 120 minutes, this one makes for a decent watch.