Ayushmann Khurrana, Tabu, Radhika Apte, Ashwini Kalsekar, Manav Vij, Chaya Kadam, Anil Dhawan
Sriram Raghavan’s latest takes you to the era when Hitchcock made movies. When movies were meant to be discussed and marvelled at over tea, rather than be taken as an escape for two measly hours.
Andhadhun finds us in Pune. Aakash (Ayushmann Khurrana) is supposed to be a visually impaired musician. He meets his muse and lover (Radhika Apte) in an accident, and promptly he lands himself a job at her father’s bar. His music catches on and he finds a fan in a yesteryear actor (Anil Dhawan).
Dhawan who lives with his second wife (Tabu), calls Aakash over for a private entertainment. What should have been one of the better nights in this ambitious pianist’s life, turns out to become his biggest nightmare – he witnesses a murder. Wanting to keep his conscience clean – Aakash reports the murder despite knowing it might lead to complications for himself. What ensues is crazy inquisitions and steadily, we the audience, too get embroiled into a messy investigation.
With everyone suspicious of everyone else, Andhadhun starts getting more noir with each passing frame but Sriram keeps the mood light with his matter-of-fact and witty dialogues. Of course keeping with his protagonist, he has dispersed songs and some musical preludes gorgeously through the film, and each time you hear one you know it will only take the narrative further. We will speak about his details later….
While the first half of the film is trying to establish the plot, a lot starts happening right before the interval with the second half pushing you to the edge of your seat. It is the kind of movie that Raghavan specialises in. The Badlapur director has this genre down pat and tucked up his sleeve. From the very beginning, he lets us in on a big secret. Being privy to it ensures that we are equally embroiled in this nightmare, like Aakash. We then become the red-white stick that walks along with Aakash throughout the script, taking a tumble with him and standing up together too.
The movie of course belongs with Ayushmann Khurrana. He manages to walk through the film like he owns it and yet, you find him vulnerable yet shrewd. Of course, no matter how much he tries manipulating his circumstances, he is intrinsically a decent guy and that comes across. Ayushmann like his director, has learnt the art of doing two things simultaneously – he can surprise and charm the audience in equal measures. Here’s an actor who is making the right choice and the right noise too. However, his chemistry with Radhika Apte despite being cute doesn’t really leave a lasting impact on anyone’s mind. For that matter, Apte’s role itself seems a wee bit insignificant as compared to all the other stuff that keeps happening around it. Despite her presence being redundant, she does her part beautifully.
It is Tabu who wins you over with her portrayal of the aspiring actress. She is phenomenal in the film. Of course, there are many characters who come and leave an impact towards in second half of the film. Each perfectly cast and lovely to watch.
Of course, the best pick of the film is the music that Sriram has chosen. The way old hindi films songs come and go through the film is bang on. The few original numbers too compliment the film wonderfully. Amit Trivedi as always shines through his eclectic work. The piano in the end credits totally hit the nail on the head, telling you Sriram doesn’t miss a single detail.
Sriram’s biggest support is Pooja Ladha Surti who has edited this film perfectly. There is never a dull moment, the flow is not jarring and yet not at all slow making this thriller pitch perfect and a must see.
PS: Don’t let the popcorn distract you from this one!