Andhaghaaram Movie Review Rating: 3.5/5 Stars (Three and a half stars)
Star Cast: Vinoth Kishan, Arjun Das and Pooja Ramachandran
Director: V. Vignarajan
What’s Good: If a film makes you marvel each frame and every single acting performance, you got to bow down to the teamwork that has gone into making it a visual spectacle.
What’s Bad: The decision of keeping too much of the best for the last.
Loo Break: It is a smart film; you cannot move your eyes away for a moment. If you decide to take one, you better be watching it on your phone and take it inside.
Watch or Not?: You should watch it. It is not every day that you get to see the technical teams so much in synch with the actors and the story. While there are a few lows, I would want you to watch it.
Defining the title Adhaghaaram or Andhakaaram, the film is about three intervened lives in a web of darkness. A blind librarian, an evil psychiatrist and a depressed cricket coach end up at a dead-end where darkness rules and the key to light is to be found out.
Andhaghaaram Movie Review: Script Analysis
If you watched the trailer and had your answers to the absurdity, erase those like your cache memory and enter the film like a clean slate. Written by V Vignarajan, Andhaghaaram stands true to its name.
We meet people in bang middle of what looks like the end. Montages show people doing crazy things. A man on a killing spree, another stabbing his hand, a group of people killing themselves through various means. All of this is in monochrome. Vignarajan starts his thriller from the end. The next three hours is an answer to why.
Talking about the story will only degrade your experience. I wish we can have a spoiler chat on this one. The writer keeps his audience in darkness till the very end like his characters are, one literally and other metaphorically. It’s an assessment of the human psyche and what drives it. Can some external force be the driver? Watch to know.
But on the contrary, the same darkness that intrigues till the midpoint starts bothering and irritating in the second half. You are kept scratching your head for a very long time. Till the last sequences where a conversation joins the dots, you are just watching random people doing random things. And thus there is too much of the best kept for the last. The weight increases more than expected, thus leaving us confused what were we supposed to root for. Also the storytelling increases the speed by the climax, it affects the entire experience.
The world the writer creates deserves an extra star. The easiest trap to fall in while writing dramas like these are succumbing to convenience. Here there is no convenient twist to make the character transition easy; it all seems difficult and thus hooks the viewer.
Andhaghaaram Movie Review: Star Performance
Andhaghaaram depends on good acting performances. Even the cameos are so dedicated to their parts that their presence matters to the narrative and our movie-watching experience.
Vinoth Kishan as Selvam is the embodiment of the title. The actor plays a blind man in a way a very few actors have across the industry. With the saddest arc amongst all, he never let’s it to be a sob story. He owns weird confidence and pride even in the falling castle, and it is a treat to witness.
Arjun Das’ Vinod represents the viewer in the charade. He is as clueless as me, and you who are watching the film. He ends being the medium for everything but is unaware about it till the end. I don’t know if he was aware of the end of the story, but he convincingly plays the clueless part and suits the character just perfect.
Pooja Ramachandran, in her limited part, also has a story. It feels good to see cinema respecting its women and not using them as mere vehicles to drive the plot.
Andhaghaaram Movie Review: Direction, Music
Andhaghaaram is not your usual thriller you watch and forget. Its provosts lies in the visuals and the use of various technical elements. Director V Vignarajan’s vision isn’t fast-paced; it’s slow. Even a burning cigarette butt gets its own screen times. It is also an effort made to make the viewer step into this eccentric universe.
But for a moment the slowness becomes jarring too. This has to be the runtime of 3 hours almost, and the film releasing on OTT.
What deserves accolades in the camera department. Cinematography by AM Edwin Sakay and editing by Sathyaraj Natarajan is perfection. Every frame a cryptic story, every transition hitting yet smooth. This is also possible due to the art design by Rembon Balraj. You cannot stop yourself from witnessing the details. Even the papers stuck on the wall in a sequence are equi-distanced. The spaces created for each character speaks volume about the person living in them. Eg: there are no lights in Slevam’s house. He is a blind man. Or how random and absurd in its way Vinod’s house is, defining the character and journey he sets on.
Music is added like that perfect pinch of salt the make it just right.
Andhaghaaram Movie Review: The Last Word
There are a few reasons to ignore this drama, but double the reasons to give it a try. It is a film that deserves attention and a team effort that needs the motivation to make more of this. Go ahead and watch it.
Andhaghaaram releases on 24 November, 2020.
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