Unlike Anasuya and Amaravathi, Avunu is not a mixed baggage of suspense and macabriety. However, there is the usual dose of perversion and lechery. There is less gore and less of nail-biting moments, and even less investigation of the criminal's psychology. The film is more about the unsatisfied spirit gaining easy access to its muse's bathroom and bedroom. Ravi Babu doesn't fill the film with enough twists and turns. As the film gets repetitious, you would expect something more at least towards the climax or in the flashback. Sadly, the film doesn't have both a climax and an engaging flashback. The ending is apparently abrupt but very logical. It is a rarity in a Telugu film where the villain (i.e., the spirit) emerges victorious, though it is not shown visually.
The story is about how and why an unseen spirit, very patient but too lecherous, wants to enjoy Mohini (Poorna), who is the newly married wife of Harsha (Harshavardhan Rane). The couple are new to their palatial house in the city outskirts, where electrical equipment is brand new. When Harsha explains about how the lights switch on and go off automatically when someone enters the room, one wonders about the relevance, but the mechanism is integral to the story. For the rest of the film, these lights and other things like the chair help the audience keep a track of the spirit's movements and positions.
One wonders why the characters are not terrified enough and prefer to take chances with their precious lives. Even after Sudha (as a character who doesn't fear evil come what may) is physically harmed so much so that she is put in the ICU, Harsha would brush Mohini's claims to experiencing the spirit aside. Mohini, on her part, baffles us by not closing the doors of her room even as the evil spirit (now in Harsha's body) searches her in the haunted house to rape her. Worse, she even falls into sleep even after a day of haranguing and near-death experience in the same house!
It is especially tiresome to see the same elements of a murderous male fatally threatening a vulnerable female from the word go. The spirit is like a comedy villain who at one time walks down the stairs with a blanket covered from head to down, even if it means risking itself of falling into Mohini's eyes. The spirit otherwise doesn't leave a clue because its ultimate aim is to enter into a human body to quench its sexual thirst.
Who is the spirit? Why does it haunt the house?
There is another story, that of a cute kid (Master Gaurav of Rushi fame) who sees his dead grandfather and even knows all the information which only his dad knows in the world. He has a direct contact with the spirit, but the kid can't change the course of the story. He predicts the fate of Mohini and Harsha, which is not shown visually lest the sensitivities of Telugu audience might hate to watch it.
Poorna's performance is adequate. Looks wise, she is earthy and mixes the features of Shriya and Asin. She looks cool when she is suggestive or emotional or scared, but her expressions in the police station scenes could have been better. Harshavardhan did not get a good role like in Naa Ishtam, most of the part he looks like a model in a textile ad or a toothpaste ad. He wears plastic expressions in the crucial scene where the spirit overtakes him.
Chalapathi Rao as a husband denigrating his wife (a typical Ravi Babu film element) and others like Sudha, Gayatri do good job.
Shekar Chandra's BG score picks up in the second half. Thank god for no songs and the short length (115 minutes). Marthand K Venkatesh's editing is good.
The screenplay and dialogues were both average. Sathyanand's work for Nuvvila stood out for its intelligence, but his pen goes dry here.
Released on: 21st Sep, 2012