The Telugu crime thriller is captivating, but doesn’t go beyond tried-and-true tropes
The Telugu crime thriller is captivating but doesn’t go beyond tried-and-true tropes
Writer, director and cinematographer KV Guhan begins the story by saying “There will always be a reason why you meet people; either you have to change your life or you are the one changing their life. In line with this thought, the Telugu thriller Freewaystreaming on Aha follows a handful of characters who happen to cross paths and are drawn into a journey of life and death.
Freeway takes common tropes associated with killer-on-the-loose thrillers of Hollywood and Indian cinema and reimagines them in the context of a crime drama set on the highway connecting Visakhapatnam and Mangaluru.
Vishnu (Anand Deverakonda), a photographer from Visakhapatnam, and his friend Samudram (Sathya) head to Bengaluru for a wedding photography assignment. On the way, they meet Tulasi (Manasa Radhakrishnan) and are tasked with getting them to Mangaluru. Meanwhile, a psychopath killer identified only as “D” is on the hunt for his next prey, with a task force led by investigating officer Asha Bharath (Saiyami Kher) on his tail.
Cast: Anand Deverakonda, Abhishek Banerjee, Manasa Radhakrishnan
Lead: KV Guhan
Music: Simon K King
Streaming on: Aha Telugu
We get a good idea of Vishnu’s loving family and in contrast Tulasi’s situation of being separated from one parent and going in search of another whom she has never met. The banter between Vishnu and Samudram brings in a few laughs, and remarkably, the film doesn’t elaborate on it any more than necessary.
Guhan’s camera and Simon K King’s background music suit the mood of the thriller. The psychopath’s process of selecting his targets is well laid out. As long as the narrative uncovers the task force attempting to approach D and he dupes them, it keeps the momentum going.
From a mile away you know who D’s next critical target would be. However, the brief characters that appear along the way and the incidents keep us hooked on the way all of this increases the threat to the target.
As Tulasi finds relief and relief in the company of Vishnu and Samudram, what follows reflects how uncertain things can become for a naïve young woman forced to travel alone along an unfamiliar route.
Manasa plays her role with innocence and vulnerability, while Anand convinces as a sensitive and responsible guy. Saiyami Kher plays her brief role with conviction, but this character could have been fleshed out better. John Vijay goes overboard as a creepy truck driver. Abhishek Banerjee, making his Telugu debut, is the sinister killer. Similar to Paatal locomotivehe manages to send shivers down your spine without speaking much.
Freeway unfolds on familiar lines and provides thrills from time to time. However, it falls short in the final sections, which appear stretched and dilute the potential for a nerve-wracking finish.
The film is quite an appealing watch by staying true to its genre and eschewing frills. However, anyone who has watched crime fiction and thrillers featuring a psychopathic character is likely to experience a sense of deja vu. A few innovative elements in characterization or storytelling wouldn’t have hurt.