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Panchathantram Movie Review - Low-grade OTT stuff for theatres

December 9, 2022
S Originals & Ticket Factory
Brahmanandam, Samuthirakani, Swathi Reddy, Shivathmika Rajasekhar, Rahul Vijay, Naresh Agasthya, Divya Sripada, Srividya, Vikas, Adarsh Balakrishna
The Weekend Show
Harsha Pulipaka
Raj K Nalli
Garry BH
Harsha Pulipaka
Ayesha Mariam
Kittu Vissapragada
Naidu Surendra Kumar & Phani Kandukuri (Beyond Media)
Sai Babu Vasireddy
Suneeth Padolkar
Bhuvan Saluru
Ushareddy Vavveti
Ramesh Veeragandhan & Ravali Ganesh
Prashanth R Vihari & Shravan Bharadwaj
Akhilesh Vardhan & Srujan Yarabolu
Harsha Pulipaka

'Panchatantram', produced by Akhilesh Vardhan and Srujan Yarabolu, hit the cinemas today (December 9).


Veda Vyas Murthy (Brahmanandam) is a retired All India Radio announcer whose daughter (Swathi Reddy) wants him not to work any longer. When a publishing house announces a story-narration contest, Veda Vyas' interest to tell stories gets kindled. He narrates five different stories with the theme of five senses: Sight, Smell, Sound, Taste, and Touch.


Naresh Agastya and Sri Vidya Maharshi headline the first story. As Hari, Naresh plays a slightly frustrated corporate employee who is yearning for a memorable holiday. A beach trip is what he wants. Coming with superficial performances, this segment is dragged down by a pedestrian ending that wants to be seen as poetic. The emotions spun around the trip are plain.

Rahul Vijay as Subhash and Shivathmika Rajasekhar as Lekha headline the second story, where drama is sought to be built around Taste. A honey cake and a glass of Badam Milk are its motifs. The humour around tropes associated with match-making is sub-par. The emotions are nearly non-existent; the itch to make it all saccharine is an exercise in over-simplification.

The third story is fronted by Samuthirakani and Divya Vani. The former is a retired SBI manager whose daughter is pregnant. He smells something foul all of a sudden and undergoes inexplicable, low-key mental pain for several days on end. The track is high on exposition and the unremarkable narration leaves much to be desired. The consolation prize is that Samuthirakani is good to watch.

Vikas and Divya Sripada headline the fourth story. As a young, loving husband and wife, their acting holds up the otherwise cliched writing. But the ending doesn't tug at your heartstrings.

The segment involving Swathi Reddy (as Chitra, the creative producer at an entertainment company), Adarsh Balakrishna and Uttej, is the most boring of all. Uttej performs as though he is stuck in the 1990s. The Krishna Vamsi school of acting doesn't appeal to the audience in 2022. Swathi is the only actor who gets it. She doesn't overdramatize.

It may upset many but we will say it nevertheless. Brahmanandam has been terribly miscast in a poignant role that was supposed to convey a sense of heaviness.

Closing Remarks

What do you do when you have five unsaleable stories? Make an anthology and try to sell it. That is what 'Panchatantram' seems to think an anthology is meant for. The film should have ideally been put for consumption on some local OTT platform.

Anthologies made by the Mumbai industry are evolved. They tell bold stories, stories that come with twists. They are sometimes also backed by mainstream Bollywoodians like Karan Johar. We are yet to imbibe such a culture in Tollywood. As a result, anthologies here are TV serials with better production values. Nothing more, nothing less!

Critic's Rating