In his second outing after Mummy - Save Me, director Lohith has again displayed a shade of the mark of a genius.
It is not just perfection that comes to the fore in Devaki, but the opening of new frontiers, inviting the audience to the kingdom of ingenuity.
There is not a scintilla of mediocrity in his execution, which is enhanced by Kolkata’s vibrant yet moody aura, Nobin Paul’s music, and HC Venugopal’s cinematography. Priyanka Upendra, an actor who is on a pursuit to tame excellence, is disinterested in being just good. Equal credit should also go to actor Kishore.
Devaki’s tale is universal, for it emotionally delves into the bond between a mother and a child. Devaki (Priyanka Upendra), a single parent, is frantically in search of her 10-year-old daughter Aaradhya (Aishwarya) on the dingy streets of Kolkata.
She finds help in a police officer (Kishore), a Kannadiga based in the city. The story, with loads of suspense, unexpected consequences, a buried past and emotional strains, ends with a beautiful thought — a short narrative given by actor-director Upendra.
Dedicating the film to all mothers, which is a familiar template, Lohith makes Devaki refreshing by coming up with an untold story.
Though the main theme is about a missing child, even the subplots (about Devaki’s grief, her husband, the police officer’s life, the frightening scenario of missing children, trafficking, prostitution, adoption) are intriguing.
Having taken the courage of setting the story in another state, the director manages to bring in the native tones and realistic ambience.
Lohith captures the chronological, physical, and spiritual relationship between two souls who are just a few heartbeats away from being the same person, and shows the power within a mother who dares all things and remorselessly pursues her instincts, irrespective of what stands in her path.
With new technical elements and shooting in live locations, the director has paid equal attention to camera angles, sound, lighting, background score and music, all making the film admirably compelling.
The twists the director brings in every 15 minutes are capable of keeping the interest alive. The second half, and especially the last 30 minutes of the movie have been crafted with intensity.
While the cast includes a good number of actors, Lohith makes sure only a few main characters carry recognisable faces, and Priyanka Upendra carries the film on her shoulders.
Her varied personalities make a huge impact. Kishore’s character is equally riveting and the actor needs to be applauded for his role as a cop.
The film marks the debut of Aishwarya (Priyanka’s daughter) and she is its soul, her presence strengthening the emotional bonding.
Cinematographer H C Venugopal gives a good glimpse of Howrah, an area which is a indeed a cameraperson's paradise.
Nobin Paul’s music, especially the background score, is sublime.
A suspense thriller, Devaki is a film about love and loss, told with a lot of sensitivity. A must watch.