Andhaghaaram Movie Review: Popular director Atlee turns producer for V Vignarajan’s directorial debut, Andhaghaaram. A supernatural/psychological thriller, Andhaghaaram finds its strength in its very gripping storytelling that keeps you, the viewer, in darkness as to where it is headed, before it reveals its bundle of secrets. Tautly directed and immensely intriguing, not to mention well-acted, this Tamil film keeps you on the tenterhooks, though that nearly three-hour runtime threatens to play spoilsport. OTT Releases Of the Week: ZEE5’s Naxalbari, Andhaghaaram on Netflix, Manne Number 13 on Amazon Prime and More.
Andhaghaaram relies its narrative on three main arcs of three seemingly unconnected individuals. Selvam (Vinoth Kishan) is blind and works as a clerk at a public library. Leading a lonely existence, Selvam needs money for his kidney transplant surgery, but the only way to do so is to invoke the secret skills that he had once learnt from his father.
Dr Indran (Kumar Natarajan), a brilliant psychiatrist, finds his life shattered, after a patient goes violent and kills his family, leaves the doctor grievously injured, and then commits suicide. Having lost his vocal chords and relying on assistance to speak, Dr Indran is desperate to get back to practice once he has recovered. The trouble is, he is not the same man anymore.
Vinod (Arjun Das) is a cricket coach, who is beleaguered by his failure to make it to the Indian team and guilted by his role in what happened to his incapacitated best friend. He begins to get strange calls on his newly installed landline phone, that becomes threatening each time. His girlfriend (Misha Ghoshal) thinks he has lost it in the head, and even he doubts his sanity, as spookier things begin to happen around him.
There is also Pooja (Pooja Ramachandran), a girl who has links to all the three men in one way or the other.
Watch the Trailer:
Andhaghaaram begins with a very sinister scene, where a man who is possessed after getting hold of a spooky book, begins to indulge in self-harm We then see another random man shooting down his counsellor, who later turns out to be Dr Indran, and then we get to see glimpses of certain individuals preparing to die by suicide. Within the first five minutes, Vignarajan (who has also scripted the screenplay) has your attention, that continues to unwaver nearly throughout the film. These eerie sequences, as well as the mysterious happenings surrounding the lives of the three main characters, are all tied up in the film’s expository climax (to which I will get to in some time). Andhaghaaram, Produced By Atlee, To Release Directly On Netflix.
Till then, even with its length runtime, I was completely hooked as to where the film is headed. When it comes to setting the three main stories against each other, Vignarajan seems to have taken a page out of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. I won’t say more on this s it would spoil some of the surprises that Andhaghaaram has to offer. Edwin Sakay’s cinematography is fantastic, I particularly loved a visual of a barren tree, flying eagles and a man walking away. Truly captivating!
I was a little disappointed with the third act, where loads of exposition are put up by Vinod’s mystery caller, as to why he is facing this strange predicament. Sure, it answers all the mysteries in the film, but it feels like a lazy and cliched route to take for the film to tie up all the loose ends, not to mention, putting in an unintentionally hilarious death sequence for a character. It also doesn’t help that some of the answers you could have easily guessed much before the characters came to their conclusion. Like what’s the connection between Vinod and Selvam. Or who is Vinod’s tormentor.
Even with the length and the underwhelming finale, Vignarajan has still managed to put in an impressive show, both the writer and the director, in what is his first film. He gets great support from his cast, especially Arjun Das (whose volatility reminded me a lot of Yash from KGF) and Vinoth Kishan (his character’s story has surprisingly emotional nuances).
– Suspenseful Narration
– The Leads
– The Runtime
– The Underwhelming Finale
Andhaghaaram is an unconventionally-told supernatural thriller that keeps you reeled in with its gripping sense of mystery. Some trimming of its length and a more effective climax would have turned it into one of the finest thrillers we have had in recent times. Still, not at all, a bad attempt for a first-time filmmaker. Andhaghaaram is streaming on Netflix.
(The above story first appeared on Onhike on Nov 24, 2020 04:13 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website onhike.com).