If I try to access Andhadhun by separating it from director Sriram Raghavan’s previous directorial works – the film will continue to be a an overrated excitement for Indian audiences. One can easily recall Badlapur because of the tight ideas it was written on. The film stood apart from the rest in more than one way. The casting was probably the highest plus for the film. As someone who likes to experiment with thrill probably fell short of the essence of his preferred genre this time.
As we tread on through this dissection, it becomes imperative to remember that Raghavan has always exhibited his intention to diversify the thriller genre through his work. It began with his involvement in the episodes of CID and Aahat and went on till Badlapur. However, Something happened with Andhadhun. I recall feeling refreshed with what I saw John Abraham and Nana Patekar do with Taxi No. 9211. With Andhahun, I felt mislead.
Ayushmann Khurrana’s filmography has begun to shine a light on a slight alteration he made with his already established role of the chocolate-boy of Bollywood. With Andhadhun and Badhai Ho, the man has surely taken a liking for social commentary. Akash, as he is referred to in the film, is an artist or so he calls himself. A pianist going through a pianist’s block. Lands up at Pramod Sinha’s (Anil Dhawan) residence, the washed out 70’s actor living with his new wife Simi (Tabu).
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Up till this point, the film has adjusted to a pace chosen to conveniently reach the first plot-point. Easily done and therefore depriving characters of their substance. Both Sophie (Radhika Apte) and Akash seem detached from the plot. And because the establishment went wrong was the reason why it is tough to recall who was, in fact, one of the better performances from the film. Which then automatically points a finger at unused acting potentials of both Tabu and Khurrana. Raghavan gets the cast just about right when his writing starts to lose sight of what or who Andhadhun is about. Forced lines, lack of a real conflict with a touch of purposelessness, the film is one of the disappointing ones from Raghavan.
Thrillers often demand that the camera records events up-close- which brings me to the true ethos of the story. Bandu, the kid from ground floor often observes how a blind Akash handles his life. In the wake of finding out how he does so, Bandu watches Akash through his smartphone and how? Up-close. Akash witnesses murders after murders, up-close. Having mentioned that, the film does construct some interesting moments which strike as Raghavan’s peak at writing.
Andhadhun fails to be a loyal thriller because of these numbered moments and also because they are numbered. At only some points in the film will the audience truly feel the suspense. And a thriller that generates suspense hesitatingly is one that will not stay. Ideologically, the film hardly touches upon Akash and his whereabouts. Shot in Pune, the camera misses the greens and blues making the film tonally unstimulating. Raghavan who had once used interesting reds, blacks, and browns for Badlapur, fails to get the colors to compliment the story.
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As a unit of Raghavan’s work, Andhadhun stands as an elementary mismatch of the basics. Questions will continue to tail this film due to the lack of enough background and establishment. It was the writing and maybe the filmmaker’s refreshed take on the genre that does not allow Andhadhun’s cast enough space to revive themselves through the film.
Surely, as the trailer gave away- “Every artist has a secret”. But an artist doesn’t always know how to have one.
Raghavan’s decent but not the best.