Vyooham Web Series Review: A Promising Premise Stretched Too Thin

The advent of OTT streaming has allowed more creative freedom for Indian filmmakers to tell stories in new formats like web series. However, the latest Telugu thriller series Vyooham on Amazon Prime Video shows how the web series structure can also have limitations. Compelled to stretch the story across 8 episodes, Vyooham loses steam despite an intriguing core premise.

Overview of Vyooham’s Plot and Format

Vyooham follows ACP Arjun Ramachandra as he investigates a mysterious hit-and-run accident that leaves a pregnant woman, Jessica, in dire straits. As Arjun unravels clues, he discovers the case has ties to various unsavory local elements.

The series aims to explore how one incident can have far-reaching consequences due to the interconnected nature of evil-doing. It wants to study the karmic effects of immoral actions.

Structured as 8 episodes of around 40 minutes each, Vyooham seems constrained by this format. The story frequently meanders and drags just to fill time. Tighter writing or a more flexible episode count may have improved storytelling flow.

Execution Falls Short of the Ambitious Premise

There is an excellent brooding crime thriller hiding within Vyooham’s core premise. The connections linking Jessica’s tragedy, the city’s corrupt pillars, and society’s moral decay offer rich story fodder.

However, the execution from director Sashikanth Srivaishnav Peesapati fails to do justice to this potential. dragged out dialogues, lingering shots, and lifeless performances prevent the series from becoming an edge-of-your-seat watch.

It often feels like Vyooham is padding for time and struggling to generate engaging narrative hooks at the end of each episode. Forcing the story into 8 uniform chunks of 40 minutes apiece does it no favors.

More disciplined writing or the liberty to make episodes shorter/longer as needed would have benefitted the series pacing and helped better showcase the promising ideas at its core.

Lead Actors Fail to Impress in One-Note Roles

For a pulpy thriller to truly grip audiences, it needs magnetic performances from its lead actors. But Vyooham’s cast lacks the charisma or depth in their portrayals to elevate the material.

Sai Sushanth Reddy as ACP Arjun embodies all the predictable tropes of a “renegade good cop with a haunted past.” There is no unique flair or signature moves that bring this stock character to life. Reddy’s performance feels flat and detached, even in scenes meant to convey high stakes.

Similarly, Chaitanya Krishna as victim Jessica’s vengeful husband Michael seems to be going through the motions. The writers make Michael an angry, obsessive man hellbent on payback. But Krishna relies on superficial outbursts and glares rather than mining the nuances of this grief-stricken role.

With richer source material, Reddy and Krishna may have delivered more textured performances. But in Vyooham, they come across as miscast and out of their depth.

Subplots and Supporting Characters That Lead Nowhere

To fill up 8 episodes at 40 minutes each, Vyooham introduces various subplots and supporting characters that ultimately have little payoff. They feel like distractions rather than additive to the central mystery.

For example, much time is spent on a journalist character named Nirmala and her connection to shady local businesses. While this backstory tries to demonstrate the far-reaching nature of evil deeds, Nirmala’s arc could be easily trimmed or excised without sacrificing the core narrative.

Other secondary characters like militants and corrupt officials flit in and out of the plot when convenient. They seem to exist merely to provide periodic bursts of action or melodrama just to kill time.

The Series Finally Delivers in the Final Episodes

It is not until the seventh and eighth episodes that Vyooham finally gains momentum and begins flowing smoothly. By this point, the scattered plot threads come together in a satisfying way.

We see how Jessica’s tragedy, Michael’s retribution mission, Arjun’s investigatory zeal, and the city’s criminal enterprises intersect and feed off one another in karmic fashion.

The climactic final 30 minutes provide the first genuine edge-of-your-seat thrills in the series. Had Vyooham discovered this rhythm and pacing sooner, it could have been a taut, addictive binge.

But the majority of the runtime feels like a flawed build-up that takes way too long to connect.

Final Verdict: Ambition Undercut by Execution

Vyooham deserves some credit for attempting a complex, interwoven crime saga in a slowly maturing Telugu OTT landscape. There is potential in its themes of morality and consequences.

However, the series’ rigid 8-episode structure and lackluster writing prevent it from blossoming fully. Even seasoned actors like Sai Sushanth Reddy and Chaitanya Krishna can’t salvage the sluggish pace.

Vyooham’s ingredients could have combined into a riveting thriller in the hands of a more seasoned showrunner. Instead, we get a disjointed, patience-testing viewing experience with occasional flashes of what might have been.

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Key Takeaways from Vyooham’s Shortcomings

Despite its flaws, Vyooham does offer some valuable lessons for Indian web series creators going forward:

  • Formats must serve stories, not vice versa. Avoid forcing content into a one-size-fits-all episodic structure.
  • Compelling performances are crucial, even in pulpy genre series. Lead actors must deliver gravitas and magnetism.
  • Subplots should complement, not distract from, the central narrative arc.
  • Don’t pad for runtime. Quality trumps length or episode count quotas.
  • Stick the landing. Satisfying climaxes justify slower-paced buildups.

Hopefully Vyooham paves the way for more skillfully constructed Telugu-language series that maximize the creative liberty of the OTT format instead of remaining shackled by it. The talent and hunger for authentic Indian stories are certainly there. The execution just needs more finesse.

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