People go with certain preconceptions when it is a certain director who has made the film. Some directors like Ravi Babu are stereotyped for being good at making eccentric or hatke stuff; as a result, when a Ravi Babu makes something sensible, they judge the film as crazy. On the other hand, a director like RGV is given latitude because it is his apparent maverick that makes him special. So, what could have been adjudged mediocre is leniently certified as RGV-style. This not only proves that some directors are given the long rope and afforded the luxury of resting on laurels, but also that sometimes, self-fulfilling public perceptions can make or mar a movie.
Here is a Kodi Ramakrishna movie of which people would have said that it would have been better had Kodi Ramakrishna made it!
Just as RGV has Sathya-Sarkar well to draw from, Kodi has Ammoru-Devi bank to draw from. There are certain durable features which have made Ammoru and Devi the noteworthy films they are. Such techniques are on display in the screenplay here, too.
The film is the victory of Good over Evil. Mythological legends have it that even Gods have to constantly wage war against the Evil to keep the universe from being vanquished. In Avataram, like in Nagarjuna's Damarukam, the fate of the planet hinges on the rising to the occasion of a woman born in a particular rasi.
The film begins on a high note. The very first episode is used to convey that not just Gods and Goddesses, even their great devotees are great (Kodi's tested formula). The goddess has as Her abode Eight Hills, and she is threatened by evil from time to time. Any living creature born in Simha Rasi has to plunge into fire if She has to be saved from Karkotakudu (Sathya Prakash). It's the turn of four sisters to self-immolate.
When the premise has been established, we know that the next danger is fast approaching and that the main character is central to averting that danger with the goddess in tandem.
After Rajeshwari's (played by the relatively new actress Radhika) devotion is established through a song, the villain makes the entry in a Kodi-fied style: the Evil traverses many milky ways making a curious sound, pierces into the womb of a woman, evolves in a baby, comes out within seconds, grows up much faster, turns into a monkey-like creature, metamorphoses into man and finally becomes Sathya Prakash, the villain born in Kichaka Rasi.
He knows that he has beguile Rajeshwari to be able to destroy the world. In comes the goddess as Durgamma (Bhanu Priya) disguised as a washer-woman. Much of the film is about how Sathya Prakash and Bhanu Priya try to push Raji into danger and avert the impending catharsis, alternately. At times, the evil does manage to outwit the goddess, who Herself is not in the know of all that is going to happen, and there in lies the plot. The scenes would be interesting for those who find creativity in fearsome CG-finish creatures popping out of apples when we expect them to mysteriously rise from computer keyboard! For a change, the villain has a companion in an innocuous looking animal who keeps him informed and who originates from Karkotakudu's head. The villain has an exciting profile: he can eavesdrop on the whispers between the planets!
A formulaic film, Avataram would have attracted eyeballs had it been for good graphics. The work is quite suboptimal.
The performances are fine. There are no intense performances, though. Radhika plays the innocent village girl and gets her emotions mostly right. Bhanu Priya looks dull and it looks like playing a goddess is not her cup of tea. Rishi is seen in a distinct role; he is one of the most under-utilised actors, surely.
Technically, the BG score is fine but the songs are outdated. The cinematography and other departments pass muster.
Verdict: Typically Kodi, but nothing different from his best in the similar genre.