- 2 hr 47 min
Akhanda is a 2021 Indian Telugu-language action drama film directed by Boyapati Srinu and starring Nandamuri Balakrishna in a dual role alongside Pragya Jaiswal, Jagapathi Babu, Srikanth, and Poorna. The movie combines elements of action, mythology, social issues, and drama to deliver a narrative that is both impactful and thought-provoking, playing with good versus evil in a grand, larger-than-life manner.
The film opens by introducing us to a rural village in India that is facing the brunt of corporate greed and environmental destruction. A mining mafia, led by a ruthless businessman, is depleting the natural resources of the region without any concern for the consequences on the environment or the local village community. The plight of the villagers forms the backdrop of the story, setting the stage for a tale of resistance against oppression and injustice.
Enter Balakrishna, who plays a double role — one of a straightforward, noble human rights activist, and the other as Akhanda, a fierce, larger-than-life character shrouded in mystery and endowed with extraordinary strength and god-like powers. The film follows the journey of these two characters as their paths cross with each other, and with the numerous other characters who make up the intricate web of the movie's plot.
Pragya Jaiswal stars as the female lead, portraying an IAS officer who is determined to fight the corruption and the illegal activities of the mining mafia, all while dealing with her personal demons and the challenges of being in a power-hungry world. Her character forms a crucial link in the intricate tapestry of the movie's storyline, as she becomes entangled with Balakrishna's characters.
Jagapathi Babu delivers a notable performance as one of the antagonists of the film, a complex character with his own set of principles and motivations. His interactions with both of Balakrishna's characters are significant in steering the narrative, creating climactic moments that are both intense and riveting.
The character of Akhanda, which Balakrishna portrays with a deep sense of mysticism and vigor, becomes the centerpiece of the film. Akhanda's presence is awe-inspiring, characterized by divine fury and a mission to restore dharma (cosmic order and righteousness). Scenes featuring Akhanda are charged with an almost mythological energy, filled with spectacular action sequences and visual effects that hold the viewer's attention.
Throughout the film, the director Boyapati Srinu explores the themes of good vs evil, spirituality, and the resilience of the human spirit. Symbolism is prominent, with the duality of Balakrishna's roles representing the light and shadow within each individual and society at large. The film straddles the line between modern-day societal issues and ancient spiritual wisdom, tying them together in a narrative that seeks to deliver a potent message about truth and justice.
The soundtrack of Akhanda, composed by S. Thaman, contributes significantly to the atmosphere of the movie. The background score amplifies the intensity of the scenes, especially during the action sequences and pivotal moments that define the movie's trajectory. The songs serve as a narrative device themselves, providing insights into the characters' inner worlds and helping to drive the plot forward.
Visually, Akhanda is a feast. Cinematographer C. Ram Prasad captures the lush landscapes, the raw action, and the emotional gravity of the story with finesse. The film takes advantage of a rich color palette, lighting techniques, and well-executed CGI to create a cinematic experience that feels both epic and personal.
In terms of performances, Balakrishna dominates with his dual roles. His transformation between the two characters displays his range and skill as an actor, with each role requiring a different physicality and emotional depth. The supporting cast, including Srikanth and Poorna in pivotal roles, bring their own charisma to the screen, adding depth to the ensemble.
The pacing of the film is deliberate, with the director taking time to build the world and establish the characters before diving into the throes of conflict. While some viewers may find the pace methodical, this approach allows a deeper connection to be forged with the story and the stakes involved.
Akhanda is not just an action-packed drama; it is a film with a soul, grappling with contemporary issues while anchored in timeless truths. It offers a unique blend that is characteristic of Telugu cinema—where grandiosity meets relevance and where every punch, every dialogue, is punctuated by an underlying message. For fans of the genre and for those seeking a cinema experience that combines the thrill of action with philosophical musings, Akhanda presents a compelling tale that stays with you long after the credits roll.