Satyabhama has at its core a female cop and helmed by a debutant director, one’s expectations that it’ll be a highly engaging and gripping thriller are quite reasonable. However, despite a strong Kajal Aggarwal as ACP Satyabhama, director Suman Chikkala squandered the opportunity to make this Telugu film into a realistic cop drama that packs a punch.

At the heart of the film is ACP Satyabhama (Kajal) whose dedication and focus on her duty is paramount. She is even late for her own wedding to Amar, an author, because she’s on a mission to save a young woman, Haseena, from an abusive relationship. Unfortunately, Satyabhama’s inability to prevent Haseena’s murder haunts her as she has failed to keep the promise made to Haseena and her younger brother, Iqbal. Suddenly, Iqbal also disappears and Satyabhama starts to investigate this shocking turn of events.

The first half of the film sets up the entire situation that Satyabhama is thrown into with Haseena’s death and Iqbal’s disappearance. Also in the mix is ​​her marriage and Amar’s desire for a baby which would inevitably stall her career. She is conflicted between her job and her personal life but her career trumps at least at this point in time. To showcase Satyabhama as a strong lady cop who lives by the rules, she is presented as someone who is fast-talking, constantly issuing orders to her subordinates, and on the move to crack the case. She is seemingly intelligent but many of the clues and breaks she gets conveniently fall into her lap. The segue into the Iqbal, Rishi and Divya story is shoddy and wastes a lot of time weakening the story. And moving to the second half of the film, it starts to quickly unravel. One can’t find an emotional connection to this film at any point sadly.

Director Suman Chikkala has tried to present a powerful and humane lady cop who stands up for what’s right and wants to deliver justice at all costs. But the other elements he has added to the story is what causes its downfall. We have brother-sister sentiment, domestic abuse, a religious angle, terrorism, reality video game, a political angle, and to top it all, Satybhama’s emotional turmoil. The writing by Sashi Kiran Tikka is just too convoluted, straying from the main plot to numerous sub-plots that the audience begins to lose interest. In the beginning of the film, Kajal Aggarwal aka Satyabhama is the leader of the police SHE team to help women who are abused and by the end of the film, she is solving crimes related to terrorism and so on. Had the writer stuck to the main theme and developed a thriller around that, Satyabhama would have been a far more engaging watch.

Kajal Aggarwal as Satyabhama is good but there’s only so much she can do with the written character. She has performed well, especially in the action scenes (mandatory in a cop film). Naveen Chandra as her husband is adequate but he wasn’t given a meaty role to begin with. Prakash Raj, Harshvardhan and Nagineedu make ‘cameo’ appearances and are not used well in the movie. The contrast in the roles of Prakash Raj and Harshvardhan could have been explored more to add depth to the roles. The younger actors like Ankith Koyya, Prajwal Yadwa, Payal Radhakrishna and Neha Pathan do make an impact with their performances. The music and BGM by music director Sricharan Pakala helps elevate Satyabhama’s scenes, especially the fight blocks. But at times it does get loud and jarring.

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Satyabhama is a film that has predictable twists and turns and has incorporated some aspects we have seen in earlier cop films. However, having Kajal Aggarwal at its center makes it a tad more interesting. This is a movie that will appeal to Kajal Aggarwal fans but others may find it a tedious watch.