Amaravathi is the kind of movie that takes the pains to acknowledge each and every member of the cast and crew in the closing credits, including Nurse No. 3. Indeed, it's the thought that counts. More good news - your intelligence also was thought of.
Amaravathi's also the kind of film where "Choreography" figures nowhere in that list of credits. Distractions, then, do not exist. And since it is one of the darkest flicks to have emerged out of Tollywood in recent months, it makes sense to leave the kids, expecting mothers and heart patients at home, just like the statutory warning says.
The story is ambitious. A series of attacks in town, on pregnant women who're all due for delivery, makes the Special Task Force sit up and notice. It's found that the perpetrator calls up 108 before he strikes, and steals each woman's unborn child before the emergency vans come howling.
Venkat (Ravi Babu) is assigned the case, and he finds that he has to deal with a maniacal criminal equipped with an unfathomable power to get things done.
Amaravathi is not without its flaws. The first half of the film, if you can call it that (the interval troops in well before half-time), establishes very little by way of the plot. This is where the director uses plenty of rather elaborately set-up fear devices and morphs Amaravathi into a semi-horror flick.
The story moves ahead pretty quickly, but events get repetitive. There are the loopholes - why does it take so long to determine where all the calls to 108 were coming from? The violence is mostly suggestive, but it's intense all the same. A little overt violence towards the end won't go down well with the weak-hearted.
What you get out of the movie depends on what you set yourself up for. Judge Amaravathi by a Stephen King novel, and it might seem like a rookie. Judge it by Tollywood templates, and it will look intelligent - maybe more intelligent than it actually is.
The screenplay speaks of high standards. Scenes seem to have been meticulously planned, and even the performances seem to have all been "normalized" under the skill of some impeccable direction - even a second-rate artiste wouldn't be able to let things down.
That said, it's a movie that relies on spontaneity in acting, and artistes have put in interesting work. Ravi Babu and Sneha are good, Taraka Ratna's taken a commendable step taking up this role, and Sindhura Gadde makes good use of hers. Bhoomika is barely there, so not expecting much of her could do you some good.
The filming is polished, especially with the whole Special Task Force setting. Some novel cinematography helps keep the jitters turned on always, along with a powerful soundtrack.
Amaravathi is as dark as it gets. Coincidentally, it's also that side of Tollywood that doesn't see much of the sun. Go if you can stomach it.