Writer-director Gautham Iyer has given a new shade to investigative thrillers by having a female protagonist and naming his film Vrithra, which translates to the demon of drought. The film revolves around the metaphor given by the title and is a contemporary take on Bengaluru, the garden city which is slowly transforming into a concrete jungle.
The entire film is set in the city, where Indira Rao (Nithya Shri) works as a sub-inspector. The initial scenes show her dealing with ordinary citizens and circumstances that draw them into the crime. She is handed over a suicide case, and it leads to crimes like involving kidnap and extortion.
Her uncle (Prakash Belawadi) gets introduced in the tale and he explains that she trapped herself in a complex chess-like game, where all her opponents are unknown. The rest of the plot is filled with twists and revolves around how she tackles the situation.
Gautham has tried to weave an intriguing crime story with a slow-paced narration and has filled it with a lot of suspects to sustain the mystery. Though the plot is set against a police backdrop, it takes interesting references from mythology and also cleverly hints about sensitive issues related to real-life politicians and their hunger for power. However, the confidence in the writing is not reflected in the making. Though he handles the serious issues subtly most of the scenes have an abrupt ending.
The cinematography of Auditya Venkatesh gels with the dark theme of the film and the music of DA Vasanth beautifully adapts according to the intensity of the scenes.
Model-turned-actor Nithya Shri, who is also a trained dancer and theatre artiste, carries the entire film on her shoulders in her debut and is completely aligned to the vision of the director. The rest of the characters, including Prakash Belawadi and Sudharani make their presence felt during important moments in the film. Tharun Sudhir, who makes a guest appearance towards the climax ends up being the turning point of the film.
Gautham undoubtedly keeps the audience guessing every minute of his debut film. But the commercial success of Vrithra has to answer whether he has completely won over them.