Banners: Viacom18 Motion Pictures, Matchbox Pictures
Director: Sriram Raghavan
Cast: Tabu, Ayushmann Khurrana, Radhika Apte, Manav Vij, Anil Dhawan, Ashwini Kalsekar, Zakir Hussain, Chhaya Kadam
Writers: Sriram Raghavan, Hemanth Rao (Story), Sriram Raghavan, Hemanth Rao, Arijit Biswas, Pooja Ladha Surti, Yogesh Chandekar (Screenplay and Dialogues)
Music: Amit Trivedi
The father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, once said that ‘an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind’. This adage sardonically makes a lot of sense in Sriram Raghavan’s latest directorial, AndhaDhun and ironically has enlightened our vision, not only for the film but the cinematic world in which we see Hindi films. The film, which was proposed to be a murder thriller, does complete justice to its central theme as well as surprisingly making us all laugh with its dark humour.
The story begins with a blind piano player named Akash trying to figure out his signature tune for a prestigious competition. While in the process, he accidentally meets a girl who gives him a job at a restaurant to play the piano. The jovial singing and dancing subside when Akash, hired by a yesteryear actor to surprise his wife Simi, inadvertently becomes a witness to a murder. This linear story then gets a huge twist which gives way for a few more of those in the course of the film. How Akash tries to figure out his way and deal with this mess which turns his life upside down and how Simi plays a huge part in it, is what forms the crux of the film.
Right from his first film, Ek Hasina Thi, director Sriram Raghavan has tried to give us stories which seem straight-forward but the characters, often with shades of grey in their nature, do a turnabout and raise it to the next level.
AndhaDhun is just another example of his brilliance where he has made a thriller that will surprise and shock the audience when they see it. The first half of the film is phenomenal as after a dragging start, the film picks up with such a fast pace, that your jaws drop every other minute with either a shocking revelation or a situationally funny scene. The second half lags just a bit behind as the ending is stretched from one climax to the other.
One would think that the first major revelation had been done too soon in the story, but what follows is a series of sequences that make you appreciate the hindsight of the filmmaker.
The writing of the movie, credited to Sriram Raghavan, Hemanth Rao, Arijit Biswas, Pooja Ladha Surti and Yogesh Chandekar, is extremely powerful. The way the plots make a complete 180 degree turn are justified proofs that there is much effort gone into making this film a work of mysterious, hilarious and unusual art. Not only is the story with its unpredictable situations different than what we have seen before but it is peppered with some class apart dialogues too.
Shot against the simple background of Pune city, the movie takes huge twists and turns but all the while, keeps the audience in the loop without missing a beat. There are times when only the audience is in the know of what exactly is going on and it is amazing to see how Raghavan brings it all together, packages it in a box and ties it with a bow.
A major plus of the film is the symphony that runs in the background, ranging from mellow and beautiful to suspenseful and dramatic in a second, holding the film together. Daniel B George does excellent work on the score. The songs in the film are few and fabulous. Amit Trivedi has once more waved his magic wand for songs like Naina da kya kasoor, the AndhaDhun title track and Aap se milkar. The other songs are also pleasant and rightly placed.
KU Mohanan’s elegant filmography and Pooja Ladha Surti’s expertise in editing the film makes it a package that you cannot avert your eyes from.
With his previous filmography as a base, we can say that Raghavan always puts the simple and innocent bystander into the middle of a chaos which they unravel piece by piece along with the audience. Here too we see the pattern follow but the uniqueness each earlier story had and how that quality is approached in AndhaDhun, is worth a watch.
Performance-wise, Tabu with her canny character takes the cake hands down. The actress is par excellence in every emotion she brings out on screen. Ayushmann Khurrana has done a fantastic job as he convincingly plays the blind guy, hitting all the right notes with his authenticity. Radhika Apte as Ayushmann’s love interest is decent but her role lacks the meat which others have. Manav Vij does a brilliant job with just his expressions in some scenes. Anil Dhawan is good and so are Ashwini Kalsekar and Zakir Hussain. Marathi actress Chhaya Kadam delivers a strong performance. All the other actors, even in small roles, are strong.
Verdict: Go for it, don’t miss this thriller!