Devil review: This British-era investigative tale has lesser thrills and average frills

The initial half of 'Devil' appears somewhat lengthy, but events in the second half compensate for it with somewhat pacy twists and thrills.

ByPrakash Pecheti

Published:Dec 29, 2023

Nandamuri Kalyan Ram in Devil
A run-of-the-mill story!

Devil (Telugu)

  • Cast: Nandamuri Kalyan Ram, Samyuktha, Elnaaz Norouzi, and Mark Bennington
  • Director: Abhishek Nama
  • Producer: Abhishek Nama
  • Music: Harshavardhan Rameshwar
  • Runtime: 2 hours 26 minutes

The narrative of Devil is set in the pre-independence era. The murder of village Zamindar’s daughter Vijaya (played by Ammu Abhiram) creates havoc in Rasapadu.

The incident prompts the British authorities to appoint secret agent Devil (portrayed by Kalyan Ram) to investigate the murder case.

When the Devil arrives in the town, the complexities start to unravel in the case. Meanwhile, two additional murders take place in the village.

However, the Devil’s real mission was to gain information about freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose through Naishad (played by Samyuktha), who resides in the house of a Zamindar.

Naishad’s objective is to gather details about Netaji’s close associate Trivarna.

The narrative explores the Devil’s journey in the town, his investigation of the murder case, and the identity of the perpetrator.

Will British authorities ever know the whereabouts of Chandra Bose? What’s the love story between Devil and Naishad? — is the story.

Related: Director of Kalyan Ram’s ‘Devil’ puts up an emotional post


Kalyan Ram and Samyuktha in Devil

Kalyan Ram and Samyuktha in ‘Devil’. (X)

This British-era tale is woven around a fictional character named Trivarna, an associate who worked closely with Chandra Bose.

The initial part unfolds as a suspenseful thriller with the Devil untangling the threads of a murder mystery. The suspense thickens with each sequence.

As we approach the interval, the revelation of Netaji’s information unfolds.

The narrative delves into the British authorities’ strategy to apprehend Trivarna and the subsequent twists.

Post-interval, the film unravels with the murder case the revelation of Trivarna’s identity, and the intriguing events towards the climax.

Satyadev’s voice narration enhances the story.

The scripting and execution of the investigative thriller seem to be a mixed bag, lacking complete thrill even though it has partly entertaining blocks chipping in at regular intervals.

Yet this British-era tale of spy-thriller couldn’t properly mitigate the fatigue for the audience in the end.

Music and technicalities

A poster of the film Devil

A poster of the film ‘Devil’. (X)

Action sequences featuring Kalyan Ram with novel weapons and locations before the pre-Independence era are good.

Every action scene is designed brilliantly, but in the end, you see the same age-old hero-elevation scenes testing your patience.

The confrontations with the British and other scenes involving the Devil are enriched by a splendid background score.

The music evokes good patriotic fervour. While the songs may not play a pivotal role, the art department deserves praise for impeccably capturing the essence of pre-independence settings and buildings.

Regarding the style of the narrative, the initial half appears somewhat lengthy, but the events in the second half compensate for it with pacy twists and thrills.


Devil has good casting. Both Kalyan Ram and Samyuktha dutifully put up good performances. However, neither succeeds in making a notable impact.

Comedian Satya, while maintaining a decent presence, finds himself in yet another ordinary role.

Srikanth Iyengar, Ajay, Shafi, Elnaaz, and a couple of British characters play roles that adhere to a familiar commercial-film template.


Except for the highlights of Devil, Kalyan Ram’s characterisation, and a couple of action blocks, the film lacks a strong core conflict. Furthermore, the key revelations in the story don’t pack a punch.

With Devil, Kalyan Ram yet again falls for the regular run-of-the-mill template.

(Views expressed here are personal.)