Lots of Indian films are now being simultaneously made in multiple languages in order to attract more viewers and generate more revenue. However, this family drama is not that appealing so as to receive such a wide release, in three different languages.
Sairam (Mohanlal) is a middle-class man working as a supermarket supervisor. He is in great debt owing to his financial needs, and will do anything to snatch that upcoming promotion. Gayathri (Gautami) is a housewife who is tired of her everyday life filled with frugality. She wants to break free from the shackles of her impoverished life, which is when she bumps into her college professor who is now a rich businessman. Abhiram (Viswant Duddumpudi) is a college student who sees himself falling for an affluent girl without realizing the her intentions. And finally, there is Mahitha (Raina Rao), a school-going girl who is relentlessly looking for her young street friend, who has been missing for days now. The story is all about these four characters' issues and their eventual intertwining.
For an average viewer, it would not take much time to detect the film's central theme, which is a mix of various values such as righteousness, virtue of family life, love and lust, innocence, and humanitarianism. Even though the elements used to convey these contrived messages are sane enough, the end products look extremely cringe-worthy, making its viewers dismiss most of the fables it throws at them. Of course, there is enough matter for a naive person to grasp from the four stories, but all of them are either clichéd or senseless or both. It becomes preachy towards the end where the lives of the characters connect with each other, as anyone could have predicted, conveniently ending the 150-minute charade with a fused-off, noiseless bang.
In addition to the awful editing and dubbing (Malayalam), the screenplay is all bits and pieces, trying to construct itself as novelty of climactic storytelling. Unfortunately, it comes out contrived, ill-timed, and haphazard, with no respect for the informed audience sitting at the receiving end. The cast performance is not that great, either, with even Mohanlal following the amateur director's directions and doing no more.
Lastly, it is evident that the film was made to bank in on the lead actor's fame and nothing else. It manages to tell a story or two on the way, which could make it an easy afternoon watch.
BOTTOM LINE: Telugu filmmaker Chandra Sekhar Yeleti's "Vismayam" is a greasy family drama that may appeal to the older generation who may have already seen some of the elements sampled in it. For today's people, this is just a badly executed drama made by a bunch who are clearly out of ideas. Watch the TV premiere, but switch channels during commercials.
Can be watched with a typical Indian family? YES