Krishnamma review: Satyadev salvages this outdated revenge film

The versatile actor embraces his uncharacteristic rugged, mass-y avatar but the writing doesn't allow him to leave any impact.

BySwaroop Kodur

Published:May 31, 2024

Satyadev in Krishnamma

Krishnamma (Telugu)

10-05-2024, Action-Drama, 2 hours 18 minutes U/A
  • Main Cast:Satyadev Kancharana, Archana, Krishna Burugula, Athira Raj, and Laxman Meesala
  • Director:VV Gopala Krishna
  • Producer:Krishna Kommalapati
  • Music Director:Kaala Bhairava
  • Cinematography:Sunny Kurapati



Revenge might be best served cold. But any film exploring this adage cannot afford to be as tepid and unsavoury as Krishnamma.

VV Gopala Krishna’s film employs a whole gamut of narrative ideas only to squander them. Ultimately, it renders an experience that feels neither fresh nor exciting.

Instead, the movie jumps among those ideas with little intent and nuance and remains a confused mess till the very end.

At best, Krishnamma serves as a hark-back to the age of commercial Telugu cinema when the bond and the camaraderie among friends are extremely sacrosanct but also quite over the top.


Krishnamma is an action thriller

‘Krishnamma’ is an action thriller. (Supplied)

Satyadev’s Bhadra and his two friends, Shiva and Koti, form a group.

The group embroiled in street crime is tightly knit. Each of them is willing to go to the greatest depth of danger to save the other(s).

If Bhadra is the devil-may-care guy and Koti is the comic relief of the group, then Shiva is the sensible, mature kind.

Having waded through life together as orphans, the three share an inexplicable comradeship that the rest of the world doesn’t understand.

But what would happen when an evil cop enters the fray? He wreaks havoc in their lives, and alters them for the worse, leaving vengeance and bloodshed as the only retaliatory option.

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Adopts non-linear narration

Writer-director VV Gopala Krishna attempts to explore this larger-than-life idea with strong doses of melodrama. But his wayward narrative simply doesn’t help us feel the emotion or the catharsis that exists in the story.

Most of the problem stems from how the screenplay doesn’t allow the story’s soul to emerge till very late.

The film opens in the year 2015 when two inmates of a prison, having served a 12-year sentence re-enter the world but with a heavy chip on their shoulders.

Something’s amiss about who they are. But moments later, we understand that violence is seeped pretty deep into them.

The story then cuts back to 2004 (to the crummy lanes of Vijayawada along the banks of River Krishna) to drop us into the belly of the drama, leaving this long and rough-around-the-edges flashback to answer everything for us.

Credit where it’s due, the flashback begins promisingly and boasts the rawness that the trailer teased us with.

Bhadra and Koti’s escapades as drug mules come together laced with humour, romance, some action that’s fun, and also a lot of sentimentalities.


VV Gopala Krishna directorial Krishnamma

VV Gopala Krishna’s directorial ‘Krishnamma’. (X)

VV Gopala Krishna, quite apparently, wants these portions to serve as the base of his revenge drama and juxtapose the happier, more hopeful times in the lives of friends with the present time, where angst and sorrow envelop them.

A new lot of characters come in to raise the stakes.

When the antagonism is introduced in a full-blown manner, we brace ourselves for what’s to come.

But almost every bit of this precarity resides on paper and very little of the tension gets translated on screen.

If the entire first half is foregone in the setup, the second half comes into view with a lot to resolve. Though the narrative picks up some pace here, we feel undone because the shift in the drama isn’t all that smooth.

Bhadra, Koti, and Shiva have a lot to fight for at this point. The villain threatens to take everything away. Yet, we feel each new moment is contrived because the approach is outdated and clumsy.

The story progresses just as we have seen in countless other films.

Neither the crime elements nor the brotherhood among the characters manages to enrich the story.

All the grit and emotion don’t necessarily surprise or charm us because the director isn’t inventive when he is most required to be.

Heavy-handed writing

A still from the film Krishnamma

A still from the film ‘Krishnamma’. (Supplied)

The second half has its share of intrigue.

Certain sequences even indicate a better film. But, here too, the writing seems too heavy-handed.

The police brutality we see is gut-wrenching.

Kannada actor Nanda Gopal (as the cop) is impious enough to elicit something in the viewer.

But what was meant to be the fulcrum of the story is eventually treated with a crop of cliches — ranging from unnecessary violence against women to a corrupt politician.

Even though Krishnamma doesn’t wish to be misogynistic, it is high time that Telugu filmmakers rethink the way some of their main female characters are dealt with.

Almost every mainstream film has grown accustomed to lazily misusing an important woman role as a mere tool to pit two male characters, unwilling to take any onus for exploiting sexual violence of any kind.

At the end of it all, one might walk away from the cinema hall feeling Krishnamma is a missed opportunity.


Actor Satyadev Kancharana, in an uncharacteristic mass-y and rugged role, submits to the job and is effective in the dramatic portions.

Other cast members, including Athira Raj as Meena, offer decent performances. But the slightly lacklustre writing doesn’t allow them to shine brighter.


Had Krishnamma been more economical with the runtime and utilised the premise, the result would have been a far more engaging “mass” movie that we all have been looking for.

(Views expressed here are personal.)