'Virupaksha' Movie Review

Cast: Sai Dharam Tej, Samyuktha Menon, Rajiv Kanakala, Sai Chand, Brahmaji, Ajay, Sunil, Abhinav Gomatham, Kamal Kamaraj, Ravikrishna ad others.

Music: Ajaneesh Loknath

Cinematography: Shamdat Sainudeen

Editor: Navin Nooli

Producer: BVSN Prasad

Screenplay: Sukumar

Director: Karthik Dandu

Due to the accident that took place before the release of 'Republic', Mega hero Sai Dharam Tej took a break from films. He made his comeback after his recovery with a mystery thriller named 'Virupaksha'. Directed by debutant Karthik Dandu, star director Sukumar penned the screenplay. The promotional content starting from the songs to the trailer were highly impressive. The makers are offering something different from the usual and let us see if it managed to satisfy the viewers or not.


This is a story that takes place in a village named Rudravanam which is located in a forest. It is set in the 90s and when the preparations of the temple's Jathara are going on, a person dies inside the temple under mysterious circumstances. Due to this, the villagers perform special rituals and close the temple along with the village too. They lay a rule that an outsider shouldn't enter the village and the insiders should not go out. But unfortunate things start to happen when a girl steps out of the village for a boy she loves. People in the village start to die one after the other. Suriya (Sai Dharam Tej) who arrives as a guest in the village starts to investigate these murders. What did he find out? Why are people dying? Can Suriya save the village? The answers to these questions form the rest of the story.


People keep dying one after the other in the village under mysterious circumstances, no one knowing the reason and the hero coming from outside and finding out the solution at the end. Thrillers made with this storyline are quite common. When a Sukumar's student makes a film with his teacher's screenplay, we tend to expect something special. Sukumar is known for his logics and many expected him to showcase that everything has a scientific reason and there is no such thing as superstitions. But Sukumar always delivers different from what you expect. In 'Virupaksha' too, he along with his student have amazed us with a fictional story that revolves around black magic and unknown forces. They did not try to confuse the audience but surprised them with a lot of twists and turns. Despite a few loose ends here and there, 'Virupaksha' becomes successful in keeping the audience hooked for two and a half hours.

At a time when suspense thrillers from all over the world are available with a single touch on your phone, it has become a huge challenge to thriller the audience who are predicting the climax by watching the intro scene. Thrillers which became super hits then will be easily found out by the latest generation. But 'Virupaksha' team was successful in keeping the audience interested till the last minute without making them predict the story. The director started the story in a simple manner and took it forward in a very plain way till the story actually took off. The love track between a dull hero and a hyper heroine did not create a lot of interest and some people may even feel a bit restless as well.

But 'Virupaksha' gets intriguing when the real story takes the forefront. The way people die one after the other creates fear while the reason behind it generates a lot of thrill and suspense. People get on the edge of their seats when they realize that the heroine is going to die next. The narration is very gripping and the audience are hooked completely. The interval point arrives at the perfect time. The second half is all about how the hero does everything to stop the heroine from dying. Though the adventures of the hero appear a bit cinematic, it is not a huge problem. The characterization of the heroine and its importance to the story definitely works out well. We will be shocked to see that character at the end. It seems that the makers trusted the change in the audience's perspective in recent times while developing this script.

The story completely revolves around beliefs, superstitions, ghosts and black magic. But the first half hints that the team is trying to give a scientific touch. It is very tough to convince the audience in that manner and it is the main reason why the director dropped that idea and took the 'Arundhati' route. But the director's stamina is showcased in a lot of scenes. He wrote the story in a very captivating manner and stuns you with his twists. He managed to maintain the suspense till the end. We get the idea that the villain belongs to one certain family but no one knows who it is and their plan till the end. The audience find it difficult to guess which makes it a good suspense thriller. People who love this genre will definitely get satisfied by 'Virupaksha'. The rest of the audience will not be disappointed too.


Sai Dharam Tej was okay in the role of Suriya. He looked quite dull in the movie as it is the first film after such a huge accident. His look was a bit odd too and his hairstyle did not suit him. Though he impressed in the second half, he did not have a lot to do in the first half. One wishes to see Tej in a more energetic role with more expressions.

Samyuktha Menon is the surprise package of this movie. She was showcased in a way that the other directors did not. We will be amazed to see her a village girl though her expressions were a bit loud at places. She definitely impresses you with her acting skills. Serial actor Ravi Krishna did a very good job and Ajay was wonderful as the Aghora. Rajiv Kanakala, Brahmaji, Sai Charan and others showcased their experience. We expect a lot from Sunil's role but it was quite normal. His acting is decent too. Abhinav Gomatham got a small role and the rest of the actors are fine.


The biggest strength of 'Virupaksha' apart from the story are the technicians. They delivered their best and their brilliance is pretty much visible in every frame. Kannada composer Ajaneesh Loknath gave a terrific BGM. He elevated the scenes a lot and the sound design is quite good too. It played a key role in keeping the audience engaged. Shamdat's cinematography is amazing as well. The art director ably supports him as well. Though most of the movie took place on sets, the makers were successful in creating the forest atmosphere and the main credit goes to the cinematographer. The production values are satisfying as the quality output is great to watch.

Director Karthik Dandu excelled as a writer and director. His story is the biggest strength and Sukumar took it to the next level with his screenplay. 'Virupaksha' proves that Sukumar's students are something different from the usual and Karthik makes his own mark.

Verdict: 'Virupaksha' Definitely Thrills You!

Rating: 3/5
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