'Rachayita', starring Vidyasagar Raju, Sanchita Padukone and others, hit the screens on Saturday. Here is our review.
Aditya Varma (Vidyasagar Raju) is a writer par excellence. When he speaks, it's more often than not poetry (and sometimes RGV). Having become a famous writer, he approaches the father of Padmavati (Sanchita Padukone), his childhood sweetheart, with a marriage proposal. By now, Padmavati is sadly widowed.
Aditya and the reluctant woman travel to a lonely place and live in a beautiful bungalow by an ocean. Even as Aditya starts penning a novel based on the theme of fear, the morose-looking Padmavati starts encountering eerie experiences in the bungalow. Her now-dead husband (Sridhar Varman) seems to be haunting the place.
The rest of the film is about if and why the late hubby is baying for the blood of the duo, and more.
At its heart (or should we say tongue, because every character speaks in a verbose language in the film?), 'Rachayita' is a template-driven revenge-horror story. Director Vidyasagar Raju (also its male lead) chooses the backdrop of a writer's journey to narrate such a much-leveraged line.
Set in the 1950s, the film's strengths are its technical elements (Shaan Rehman's music and Jeevan Bg's BGM are able, while the cinematography is almost perfect and Prawin Pudi's editing is flawless), and those poetic lines that come off now and then.
While the dialogues start off on a high note, they lose their sheen in the second half when the film's formula becomes evident. The lines related to how it's the mother who introduces the child to fear and such ones are interesting.
One expects so much from the premise. When the lead man ventures out to pen a novel that explains fear, we expect the script to be layered. But nothing of that sort happens. By the way, the press briefing by the writer reminded yours truly of Ram Gopal Varma's attitude. He should watch this movie and try to infuse some of its Isms in 'GST-2' (why not?).
Padmavati is a damsel in distress whose backstory is another low point. From the pre-climax phase, the film starts further descending into same old formula.
For those of you who would find a known template missable, it's the performances of the lead actors, besides those visuals, that keep the proceedings stay afloat. It's true that Sanchita Padukone seems to assume a one-note expression after a while, but the fact that she has fewer dialogues adds to her character's mystique. Since the male lead is a writer, he opulently does a 'bhajana' of his muse's beauty. He compares the woman's beauty with the majesty of mountains, and the imponderables she poses with the depths of the oceans.
In trying to evoke horror, the director falls back on tested but routine ideas. Those mysterious songs that play by themselves at nights, etc are so jaded.
The entry of a wannabe writer who emotes while talking doesn't add much. Also, the element of a fashionable, lesbo journalist (played by Himaja Reddy) is far from efficient. There are doses of misogyny, probably because of the time period in which the film is set. The dumb-and-deaf servant is there for a reason.
'Rachayita' succeeds in hiding its formulaic self throughout the first half. But once the veneer is off, we see through the games. And it's not pleasant when the realization dawns upon us.