Cast: Nivetha Thomas, Regina Cassandra and others
Director: Sudheer Varma
Autonomy: 118 minutes
The film under consideration is an adaptation of the 2017 South Korean action comedy “Midnight Runners”, where the protagonists were male. In the adaptation, gender was swapped. At first glance, producer Sunitha Tati, one of the backers of “Saakini Daakini,” is showing signs of rolling out something new by remaking six more Korean films these days. Only time will tell if these many remakes (to be released in the next couple of years or so) will change the way Telugu/South Indian cinema views the creative dimensions of remaking foreign films. For now, she and fellow producer D Suresh Babu (whose Suresh Productions has the distinction of producing some of the most content-driven movies in decades) are off to a good start.
Shalini (Nivetha Thomas) and Damini (Regina Cassandra) come from two different economic and social backgrounds. If the first comes from a superior bourgeois background whose parents are influential, the second comes from a relatively modest family. They both join as trainees a police academy run by a strict officer (Bhanu Chander) and otherwise populated by a gang of pranksters (played by Prudhviraj whose scenes with Shalini are fun to watch, Nellore Sudarshan who shows symptoms of kleptomania, RJ Hemanth who is compulsively flirtatious and Raghu Babu who is conveniently buffoonish).
While Shalini and Damini start out picking small fights, their conventional equations give way to a semi-intense, innocent bond as the story progresses. Somehow it feels sudden, especially because it takes place after about 30 minutes of plot stagnation. One evening, while on their way to the police academy after partying, they see a teenage girl being kidnapped. The rookies must now expertly navigate the incompetent and indifferent system to break the racket and save the girl.
While the action-crime part takes off with a certain freshness, the flavor turns generic after the introduction of the racket angle of harvesting unfertilized eggs. Moreover, the Shalini-Damini duo’s amateur investigation is full of lucky, unrealistic and simplistic coincidences, not to mention accidental discoveries.
Comedian Satya is here to create a few double-sided lines in the middle of serious scenes. But the action part is not about such digressions. It’s about girls who become brave heroines in the face of bureaucratic obstacles, a theme taken from “Midnight Runners” and brought to the fore by moviegoers when the Korean original was released.
Mikey McCleary’s songs don’t follow a pattern; the final montage song, set to an action block, is nice. On the other hand, the background score may not be basic, but it adds no weight to the procedure. Viplav Nyshadam’s editing is smooth and this probably reflects the talent of the director. Richard Prasad of “Oh Baby” fame is pulling himself together as cinematographer.
Also Read: Saakini Daakini Twitter Review: Here’s What People Have to Say About the Nivetha Thomas-Regina Cassandra Film