Skylab Review: Interesting premise, uneven narrative

What’s it about?

When villagers of Banda Lingampally realize that a space station named, Skylab, may fall right on their village, chaos ensues. A writer Gauri (Nithya Menen), a doctor Anand (Satya Dev), and a young guy Rama (Rahul Ramakrishna) are part of this melee. 

Analysis

The year 1979 is known for many things, but the fall of the space shuttle ‘Skylab’ remains an important event to remember. In Telangana, people still recall that incident. Radio and newspapers were the only mainstream media back then. The news of NASA’s ‘Skylab’ disintegration led to chaos. Fearing no future, people reportedly hid their ornaments and valued things underground, wrote ‘final’ letters to family members and relatives, enjoyed non-veg dinners daily.

Such many interesting tales old people narrate. The Skylab finally disintegrated on July 11, 1979, and debris fell in the Indian Ocean. The premise of the new director ‘Skylab’ is solid. In fact, it is quite interesting. We should commend him for this concept. But the director must be in confusion whether to narrate it as a comedy or end it as an emotional drama. That reflects in his narration.

The main plot of the fall of ‘Skylab’ and the fear of the villagers come in the second half. Before that, he focuses on various inhabitants of the village. The village is Banda Lingampally, a fictional place in the Karimnagar district. The village has no dearth of peculiar characters. 

A budding writer-journalist who is trying to find her voice, a doctor who comes to the village for ‘time being’ and flee to Hyderabad as soon he gets money for his license, a guy who is burdened by his family’s legacy are the pivotal characters around the story is woven. There are also characters like a child who saves coins for his sister, a group of Dalit waiting to enter the temples, a maid and her son trying to find simple joys, a heroines’ assistant who wants to propose to his girlfriend, etc. All these characters and their journeys culminate into an emotional conclusion. 

The new director’s writing and handling are perfect in the final act. But the same is not the case with the first half. In an attempt to derive comedy from the introduction of the main characters and their situations, the director seems to have forgotten about the flow and the pace of the movie. The scenes go on as if they never end. Crispness would have made the film a lot of difference.

What I liked in the film is the concept and the emotional touches. The final part of the film is where its heart truly lies. 

All the lead actors have done a fine job. Nithya Menen holds the movie entirely with her acting capabilities. Satya Dev in a small role adds his touch. Tulasi and Narayana Rao leave their mark. Rahul Ramakrishna once again steals the show. Among the technicians, music director Prashanth Vihari and cinematographer have done their parts well. 

Bottom-line: ‘Skylab’ is not a run-of-the-mill story. It has a solid premise and interesting plotline, but it needed a better editing job. It would have made a better viewing experience had it premiered on the OTT platform given its leisurely pace of storytelling. 

Rating: 2.5/5

By Jalapathy Gudelli

Film: Skylab
Cast: Nithya Menen, Satyadev, Rahul Ramakrishna, Tanikella Bharani, Tulasi and others
Music: Prashanth R Vihari
Cinematographer: Aditya Javvadi 
Editor: Ravi Teja Girijala 
Co-Producer: Nithya Menen
Producer: Prithvi Pinnamaraju 
Written and directed by: Vishvak Khanderao
Release Date: December 4, 2021

 

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