Telugu cinema’s first ever space genre ‘Antariksham 9000 KMPH’ is here. Since the film is directed by Sankalp Reddy of critically acclaimed ‘Ghazi’, the expectations are high on this movie.
Indian satellite Mihira faces a technical failure and this will lead to mayhem in global satellite system. Riya (Aditi) and Mohan (Avasarala) tell their space center’s boss (Rehman) that only Dev (Varun) can rectify this problem.
Trouble is that Dev has been stopped working for the center after a failed mission five years ago.
How Riya convinces him and at what length Dev go to restore pride of Indian space scientists forms rest of the story.
Varun Tej as an astronaut who has emotional issues has played the role convincingly. His performance in the emotional scenes is worth appreciating.
Aditi Rao Hydari as his colleague is okay. Avasarala as Mohan, Rehman as boss, and Lavanya as Varun’s girlfriend are good.
Ramakrishna and Monika who had also worked for ‘Rangasthalam’ have provided production design for this film. Their work for space station and rockets is impressive. A lot of effort has gone into this to get it as authentic as possible.
VFX work is neat. Cinematography is another huge plus point. Gnanasekhar’s work is first rate. Editing is neat.
Too much of cinematic liberty
Sankalp Reddy made ‘Ghazi The Attack’, a film in the genre of submarine, in a most convincing manner with patriotic elements and that won him National Award.
While his first film went underwater, his second film “Antariksham” moves to space. Sankalp Reddy doesn’t waste time and sets the tone of the movie in the very first scenes.
He introduces the main problem at the very beginning – Indian space center has to tackle the issue of the failed satellite Mihira that would bring bad reputation to the Indian space organisation. Who will solve it? Obviously, the protagonist!
The director has employed classic Hollywood tricks to pen the characterisation of Varun Tej. He is the guy who is “retired” from the work due to an incident and he alone can solve the problem. This is typical Hollywood hero characterisation. To make the narration interesting, the director has given Varun Tej a small love story and a flash back.
The first half goes back and forth with Varun Tej’s personal story and the Space Center’s problem. The main mission to the space comes before the interval.
Later the film focuses on the mission and rest of the movie is set in space. And it goes on expected lines, not so absorbing moments.
The director has stuck to the genre, without deviating from the main plot, and has also added National flags all over, but the sequences don’t arouse the same patriotic feel that ‘Ghazi’ had achieved. The narration is not arresting either. It is simple and plain.
The film also takes too much of cinematic liberty in terms of space travel. Varun changing the course of space mission midway to moon defies the logic. He does as if it is a ‘sharing auto’ (a dialogue in the film).
Despite some flaws, the movie is a right attempt. For the first time we are seeing a space thriller in Telugu and within tight budget the director has achieved the right production design required for this genre.
All in all, ‘Antariksham’ can be termed as a good attempt in the science fiction genre. A better screenplay would have made wonders. A lot was expected from the director but he offers just an okay movie.
Bottom-line: Plain Space Thriller