Let me start with a disclaimer- I am a Sriram Raghavan fan so this might be skewed, slightly. From Ek Hasina Thi to Badlapur– the thriller genius has given us many gems to cherish and Andhadhun is another one of them. What a film! This is exactly what we want in Bollywood. A strong script, layered characters, superb acting talent and a director that lives the story through every frame. Inspired by a French short story (and possibly the song sequence Raabta in Agent Vinod), Andhadhun is the quintessential black comedy thriller, which keeps you hooked to your seats through its 2 hours 20 minutes of run time (Add 15 minutes of Manyavar ads if you are watching it at a PVR). You literally do not know what is going to happen in the next shot, leave along next scene or later in the story.
The story has a twist after every 5 minutes and I am not exaggerating. And they are not the twists that you would expect normally out of such a story. Things like whether the blind pianist is actually blind or not, who committed the murder and the kinds are answered right at the beginning. And that does not take away from the absolute thrill of the roller coaster that is Andhadhun. Written by Sriram along with 4 other writers, the story binds all loose ends together eventually if not at an ideal point. From a cat to a loitering kid, everyone has a role to play. Although the movie derails for a bit in the second half, it picks up quick and without much loss.
Let’s talk about the performances. Oh my God, Tabu! She is a delight. An absolute amazeball in the movie. Her character is so organically there in the midst of one situation after another that you are left to wonder if she is an intrinsically bad person or is she a victim too. I think Ayushman Khurrana has given his career best performance in this movie. He is so nuanced and in control of the character that you see his training for the role right through the screen. Commendable. The supporting cast with Manav Vij, Anil Dhawan and Ashwini Kalsekar is as strong as the leads of the story. And there is Radhika Apte too. Why is she there, you ask? Well, some questions even Sriram cannot answer.
The music of the film is not the central attraction but incidentally very intrinsic to the narrative of the film. But why three voices for one actor? Why? Anyway! What holds your attention are the piano pieces for which apparently Ayushman did not use any body (hand) double. Noice. There are pleasant throwbacks to Chaaya Geet and Chitrahaar and plenty of easter eggs to bring a smile to your face if you catch the references.
The screenplay though effective could have been edited slightly better so that the movie was crisper. But the cherry on the cake is the open ended final shot that will leave you with an Inception kind head scratch. It is becoming quite difficult to continue with this piece without giving away any spoilers. So I will wrap this up now.
If you are a thriller fan, go watch. If you are a dark comedy fan, go watch. If you are an Ayushman or a Tabu fan, definitely go watch. And if you a fan of good cinema, go watch. So basically, go watch this one because it is amazing.
P.S. If you were intrigued by the blind rabbit in the trailer, you will be very happy with what happens in the movie.
Hits- Acting, Screenplay, Direction, Story
Misses- Radhika Apte, Length, Editing
(Picture Credit- Wikicommons)