Whatever other injustices Hyderabad's theatre oligopoly may be accused of, here's a fact: the local movie commerce in town is indeed the reason countless well-meaning voices of social concern go unheard.
Made on low budgets and handicapped in most areas of production, many of the minnows that get released when big movies aren't around are not frivolous love stories or soppy family dramas. Lack of technical finesse aside, these are movies that speak about social issues, with terrorism being a popular favourite. Tragically, the only audiences who get to watch them are the ones in the front rows at Usha Mayuri and the like - the people who, ironically, are looking for a commercial entertainer and not offbeat cinema.
Sanchalanam, yes, is one of those films. It lacks a decent star cast (save for Saikumar, Ashish Vidyarthi and a couple of villains), a decent screenplay, a decent camera and much more, but it does raise a few disturbing questions about the police system.
Vikram (Kamalakar) is a youngster who saves a woman and her daughter from a suicide bid. This lands him into serious trouble, with top cop Saxena (Ashish Vidyarthi) baying for his blood. An inspector Nanda Gopal (Saikumar) inadvertently gets involved in Vikram's case, and helps Vikram get to the bottom of the case and the woman's flashback.
The issue that Sanchalanam is ostensibly about shows up only towards the end of the film, after a lot of unnecessary suspense-building. When it is finally revealed, and Ranganath and Saikumar raise the quality of the movie by several notches, with their powerhouse dialogues, the rest of the film seems like a colossal waste.
The film itself is slightly amateurishly made, and you can see the naivete of the makers in the fact that the end credits are preceded by a repeat video of one of Saikumar's dialogues (apparently the fact that it is 1:35 mins and "single take" deems it worthy of an encore) in the film.
The story doesn't get anywhere for ages, what with the endless fight sequences all through. The action is a tiresome and a dampener.
However, L B Sriram's flawless portrayal of a victimized villager is what turns the tide for the otherwise wishy-washy screenplay. The actor shines in his role, and even though his lines aren't pathbreaking, he does what he always does.
Kamalakar is quite wooden, but the other newcomers seem better. Saikumar, Kinnera, Vidyarthi and L B Sriram are in key roles, so the other performances, overall, are quite good.
An item song cheers sleepy front-benchers, and that's about it for the music. The visuals aren't great shakes.
In all, a movie that you can stay away from while at the theatres but that you may want the remote to linger on when on TV.