Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya (Naveen Polishetty) is a talented, underappreciated detective from Nellore who manages the FBI, a non-profit organization. When a case falls into his lap seemingly out of nowhere, he gets more than he bargained for.
Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya is a wonderfully produced, no-nonsense picture that makes its intentions plain from the start. This is not a picture that will pander to a mass audience or allow itself to be diluted by needless clichés. When the story’s grisly heart is revealed, there will be no feel-good moments to help your chest untighten, and there will be no comfort at the conclusion to make it appear like everything is OK in the world. This is why Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya is a film that must be watched and recounted.
Agent Athreya (Naveen Polishetty) is a detective who is grieving the loss of his mother and runs a detective agency called FBI (you’ll have to see the movie to figure out why it’s called that) out of a vegetable market in Nellore. Agent Athreya and his aide Sneha (Sruthi) handle crimes that are plainly beneath him in the limitations of peeling wall paint and flickering lamps, but it’s all he can get. He feels that his name precedes him and that his smart but witty intellect yearns for difficult situations. In the midst of a less-than-ideal circumstance, Agent Athreya stumbles onto just that — a heartbreaking case worth his attention if only for the bereaved father.
However, when he begins to connect the connections, something considerably more terrible emerges.
The film Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya is a slow-burning thriller. You walk in anticipating a few jokes and maybe a case that isn’t quite as difficult as the one you’re shown, but one that our hero solves and saves the day. That’s also how it starts. The film takes its time establishing up people and providing you facts you didn’t realize you’d need later, notably with Agent Athreya’s history. The speed is exasperating, and you begin to question why you’re being given so many facts that have little to do with the issue at hand.
However, director Swaroop and Naveen (who also co-wrote the screenplay) manage to yank the rug out from under your feet, leaving you to question what you just saw. Any more information about the story would be a grave disservice, as it is something that must be viewed on-screen.
Films like this – a true-blue detective thriller – are frequently marred by flaws, especially when they’re based on crimes that happen every day in real life. Is Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya without flaws? Maybe it does, but Swaroop and Naveen keep you so occupied that you don’t have time to think about it all, even during the tedious parts.
With this film, Naveen makes a wonderful debut as a lead actor, and he seems to fully inhabit the role of his character. There isn’t a single scene where you feel he’s out of place, and while he excels at the comedic portions, it’s the situations where he has to exhibit emotion that take you off guard. Shruti’s performance as Sneha is excellent, but the show belongs to Naveen and his character Athreya. Suhas plays Detective Bobby, Athreya’s Tamil equivalent, in a memorable cameo.
While Swaroop makes a good film, the music by Mark K Robin and the photography by Sunny Kurapati assist to establish the mood in several situations. If you enjoy no-frills detective thrillers, check out the film this weekend; if you’re looking for something new to think about, check out this one even more. You will not be sorry!