Director: Sankalp Reddy
Cast: Varun Tej, Srinivas Avasarala, Aditi Rao Hydari
Composer: Prashanth Vihari
A rude and stubborn man risks everybody’s life and his own to try and prove that he is right in Antariksham. This scenario is not new to everyone and especially not to Aditi Rao Hydari’s Riya, who never seems too shocked when she finds out about Dev’s (Varun Tej) underhandedness.
Sankalp Reddy’s previous The Ghazi Attack was a blend of fiction and fact. It struggled to manufacture melodrama and relied on overt nationalism to appeal to the audience. In Antariksham too, there are several morale boosting speeches about India, the importance of our motherland and what not. Except there’s no real emotional appeal to balance out all this spiel. Dev’s tragic life draws little sympathy as it is used as a convenient excuse for every bad decision of his. That too in space.
His decision to remove himself from a promising career in Indian Space Centre following a professional as well as personal tragedy is made much of. As is his return to ISC, just when the time is right. From the beginning, you sense that Dev is not the person to be trusted. And yet, a supposedly advanced organisation decides to entrust a very sensitive mission to him. Loopholes like these can be overlooked if Antariksham got its priorities straight. Is it a space thriller? Is it some sort of pro-India movement (guessing from the number of ‘Hail ISRO’ comments I have seen on social media from fans who watched the movie)? Or is it just another tale of a brilliant young man trying to prove himself right at the cost of others’ safety? Instead of the usual awe for such characters, Dev seemed reckless and unlikeable.
For a brief time, Reddy takes his camera outside the spaceship to show us Dev’s life. It’s bathed in golden light. Like waking up to the blinding sun, after a night under the stars. It’s quite nice to watch. However, even this is not enough to make Antariksham the immersive experience Sankalp wants it to be. The sets and visual effects look convincing. But one can’t shake off the feeling that a lot of money has been spent on a film that does little to energise the audience. It could have very well been a documentary.
Sekhar Kammula kind of tapped into the best aspect of Varun Tej when he cast him in Fidaa. As a sort of normal man who was trying his best to figure out his priorities. As a space scientist struggling with a personal tragedy, the dapper version of Varun Tej does not convince.
Sheldon would be so disappointed.
The Antariksham review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.