‘Run’ On Aha Review: Few Things Are This Odd, Fewer This Bad

This Telugu movie, from Aha, Allu Aravind’s streaming platform, is what happens when you try to camouflage bad ideas with style
‘Run’ On Aha Review: Few Things Are This Odd, Fewer This Bad

Director: Lakshmikanth Chenna
Writer: Sahana Dutta, Carthyk-Arjun
Producer: Y Rajeev Reddy, Sai Baba Jagarlamudi
Cast: Navdeep, Poojitha Ponnada, Amit Tiwari, Bhanu Sri
Streaming Platform: Aha

A policeman and an investigating officer walk into a mansion, a murder site. The wife has been killed, and the husband is a runaway suspect. "Did you notice the house number is 302?", one of them asks the other solemnly.  "Yes sir. Section 302, Murder Case." Swagger on, sunglasses off, they meander around looking for evidence, happy with their observation. This shows simultaneously, why this film is awful, but also why even in its awfulness, it remains watchable. The awfulness comes from this need to be stylish, and the rather glaring failure to be that. English is clearly noted as a language of class, (which it certainly isn't, but this seems to be the assumption here) and this desperation for English in the dialogue, comes across as a desperation for class, which is just artless. But that is also precisely why the film remains watchable. Like the meme-gaze towards Indian serials, moments of tension and suspense are simply too comical to not take note of. The 90 minute run time is also helpful. 

Sandeep and Shruti are the couple. The story begins with the two of them professing their love. A minute and a half of a generic-love-song later, Sandeep is getting ready to leave the office early to meet her for an anniversary lunch. Makes sense, the love isn't important here, so shave it down, and shove it smack in the beginning and leave it at that. The story is about the murder- who murdered her, and why. If you believe in the three act structure, this film is the funeral of the first act.  

But then even the murder is bizarrely followed up with ridiculous assumptions. Sandeep is convinced he has not murdered her. The police are. (Sandeep holds a break-up letter in his hand, and the police think that since he is in possession of her "suicide" note, he must be the murderer. Just think through the logic of that sentence.) Now this might be a spoiler, so disengage hereon. 

It is around the time of the investigation that the film begins to flirt with the idea of mental illness. And then within a scene or two, this flirtation blows up. Sandeep is diagnosed with multiple personality disorder (an extreme kind with six characters or so populating his head), and we then realize, almost 80% through the film, that most of the oddball characters who prop up and leave without notice or reason, are all figments of his imagination. Now, the problem with this late revelation is that these figments are just awfully written. And so the "revelation" isn't as much a shock, as it is an explanation for the bad writing throughout. 

At one point when Sandeep is running away from the police, he is sandwiched between his "friend" and a woman called Rosy. The girl is telling him to get into her car and not trust the friend. The friend is screaming at him to not heed her because "all women are  bitches". It was around this time I just surrendered to the story not fixating on the absurdity or the coincidence. Then a few scenes later, he runs towards his car to find a bleeding child who confesses that he murdered his friend's father and is just… hanging out in the car. Again, I let it be because this universe is full of logical fallacies and odd if not ridiculous circumstances. But the issue is that mid-way, through the revelation of his illness, you are rationalizing some of the fallacies, and the odd writing. What about the rest? 

With so many questions now simmering, as if on cue, the film ended on an abrupt note. But here's the thing, abruptness can either make you question more, question deeper, or just dismiss and move on. And just like that, I moved on. 

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