OTT Movie: Ardha Shathadham
Cast: Karthik Rathnam, Krishna Priya, Naveen Chandra, Subhalekha Sudhakar, Sai Kumar, Amani, and others
Producers: Chitti Kiran Ramoju, Telu Radha Krishna
Music: Nawfal Raja
Direction: Rawindra Pulle
Streaming on: Aha Video
Release Date: June 11, 2021
"Aha” video is continuing to offer exclusive movies amid lockdown. “Ardha Shatabdham” is the latest film that premieres on this OTT platform.
The theme of caste violence or honor killings has lately become a regular trend in Telugu cinema. Directed by newcomer Rawindra Pulle, “Ardha Sathabdham” delves into the caste system in Telangana.
Set in Siricilla in 2003, the film begins as a romantic tale. Krishna (Karthik Ratham) is in love with Pushpa (Krishna Priya), who is the daughter of former Maoist leader Ramanna (Sai Kumar). Krishna has been in love with her since their school days but she does not reciprocate the same. It is one-way love.
Krishna is from the weaving community but runs a tent house. The story takes a doomy turn when Krishna assumes that the village’s Sarpanch’s son gave her a flower from a plant that he has been planning to propose to her with.
Krishna and his friends beat the Sarpanch's son. The already simmering heat between the Sarpanch and his rival Veeranna turns violent due to this incident, and caste violence ensues.
First and foremost, director Rawindra’s ideas are vague. Is the film really about the caste issue or laws or constitutional ideas? In the name of caste, two factions unleash massacre, killings happen in the daylight in the main streets, but an S.I and two constables wait outside the village waiting for orders from a higher police officer as to what action should be taken? Have the director and producers not given a thought to how unrealistic this looks?
Amid carnage in the Sircilla village, a woman, unrelated to the caste violence incidents, kills her lover as he lusted her sister and drags him onto the roads. Not even a single creature notice or respond? How can we take such scenes seriously? Is Sircilla exist in (undivided) Andhra Pradesh, or Bihar, or Africa?
Added to this, there are dialogues and swear words like “Mo***di” that are unwarranted. When the main lead pair’s love story itself is silly, why would the audience invest in the rest of the story?
Mentioning Sircilla, a textile town, as a ‘village’ is another blunder mistake. Even if we assume the story is taking place in a nearby village, villagers killing each other like factionists in 2003 is a far-fetched idea.
Moreover, the caste conflict in the love story looks forced and seems to have been placed as an afterthought. The love story and the village politics are poles apart from each other.
The characterization of Naveen Chandra as a trigger-happy police officer and his thread into the story is another proof of poor scriptwriting skills. All the hype around his introduction scene peters out in the end, with little relevance to the story. The bookish dialogues between Ajay and Subhalekha Sudhakar are further proof that the director has failed to translate whatever lofty ideas he has in mind onto the screen.
Without a word, the execution is clumsy and the narration is utterly boring.
There is no chemistry between the lead pair. The romantic track is shown mostly as dream songs. Karthik Ratnam of ‘C/o Kancherapalem’ as the young villager in love has done a neat job. Krishna Priya is okay. Sai Kumar and Aamani are worth mentioning among other actors.
One song is lilting. That’s it.
Overall, “Ardha Sathabdam” is another OTT film that is told clumsily with unformed ideas. It joins the list of recent boring movies that hit the OTT space.