Not one film this year had full-bodied characters and the twist in the tale style as Sriram Raghavan's deep thriller Andhadhun. The crafty and effectively staged film is germinated on the basis of the French short film The Piano Tuner. This film about a pretending-to-be-blind pianist Aakash and the whirlpool of changes which come to his life when he goes to tune the piano in the home of a bygone big star's home is fabulously, deliciously, delicately twisted. The thrills come naturally in this genuinely upscale mystery, and the layers of narrative for the price of one is what I totally applauded. Ayushmann Khurrana, Radhika Apte and Tabu are amazing in playing their characters. The film carries with it meaning, symbolism, excitement and compelling drama. I'm going with 4 out of 5 for Andhadhun. The best film this year, the best Hindi thriller.
With Team India having demolished the Windies inside three days in the first Test at Rajkot, it pretty much meant that there was hardly anything else to watch over the weekend. That's when I happened to come across a couple of articles that spoke highly of "Andhadhun". Since it was directed by the brilliant Sriram Raghavan & had Tabu as one of the protagonists. I was more than eager to watch it.
Akash (Ayushmann Khurrana) is a talented 'blind' pianist who aspired to make it big in the music world. Despite numerous efforts, he wasn't able to earn a break & it was at this juncture that he meets Sophie (Radhika Apte) who offers him a job at her father's club. His performance at the club earns him numerous fans one of them happens to be yesteryear Bollywood star, Pramod Sinha (Anil Dhawan), who invites him over to his apartment for a private concert as an anniversary gift for his wife, Simi (Tabu). But little did Akash realise that this honour would turn out to be a nightmare & change his life forever.
Based on the French short film "L'Accordeur" (The Piano Tuner) in 2010 by Oliver Treiner, this flick belongs to the black comedy thriller genre that keeps us hooked until the very last scene. Sriram's credentials as a film-maker needs no introduction with movies like "Ek Hasina Thi", "Johnny Gaddaar" etc to his credit. He has also penned this engaging script in the company of Arijit Biswas, Pooja Surti & Yogesh Chandekar and it has got the various elements like murder, betrayal, double crossing, sex etc with a liberal sprinkling of wry humour. Just as in his previous movies, all characters have shades of grey & they are morally flawed. The unusual sequences which is a signature of Sriram can be observed right from the first shot (& be sure to watch it keenly) while his love for the past like Chitrahaar, Sholay, Scream etc., is all showcased here. Though the tempo slacks off towards the early part of the second half, it slowly regains its punch later on & finishes with a bang.
Apart from the script, the technical aspects have also contributed significantly in enhancing the viewer's experience. Key among them was Amit Trivedi's music & BGM which was impressive with 'Wo Ladki' rendered by Arijit Singh being my personal favourite. Equally praise worthy work was observed from K U Mohanan's smartly lighted frames & Pooja Surti's well thought out editing. In the performance part, Ayushmann was fantastic & continues to improve with each movie. It was imperative that he was in form as he was up against Tabu who always gives a thumping performance & this was a meaty role that gave her more adequate scope to rock. As for the rest of the cast, Radhika Apte didnt have much screen space while Zakir Hussain , Anil Dhawan, Manav Vij did their parts aptly.
Verdict: With a cracking script, skillful direction & excellent performances; it should be a winner at the boxoffice, However, more often than not intelligent movies like these fail to garner the adequate number of footfalls. Anywaz it deserves to be watched & if you are a fan of thrillers, then dont think twice. In short, dont miss it!!!
Andhadhun briefly reminded me of the good old days of silent comedies where everything on the screen was extraordinarily entertaining majorly supported by the score. There's a scene at the start where Akash is playing the piano and two people in front of him are foolishly resorting to their basic instincts. Not a word is spoken in those 10 minutes and yet it is the perhaps the most memorable scene in the film. It's pure cinematic brilliance, which unfortunately fades away in the second half as you complete watching the film in labored breathing. TN.
Andhadhun is that classic piece of art you will end up (unintentionally) pretending to like. The magic happens a little later though, when the melody seeps deep into you as moments pass.
Wow nice work of Shriram Raghvan, andhadhun is a crime thriller master piece of Bollywood.
Ambiguity is one of Andhadhun’s traits. While the word may sound negative in its generic form, it perfectly suits the film in the subject. Andhadhun is a puzzle, created by Arijit Biswas, Pooja Ladha Surti, Yogesh Chandekar, Hemanth Rao, and yes, the elephant in the room, Sriram Raghavan. A 138-minute puzzle that asks you to pay attention, figure out things and try to outperform its creator who is facing you, from the behind of the screen that is playing Andhadhun on it. Like puzzles, the film is a fun time.
Special mention to the tone, which is light-hearted no matter how brutal the circumstances are for its leading man, Akash, played effortlessly by Ayushmann Khurana. This tone makes Andhadhun easily watchable, and its the same tone that is the critical aspect for a thriller. Is Andhadhun a thriller? Maybe. Is it a dark comedy? I guess so. But I’m not sure! And this is what sets Andhadhun apart. It is always welcoming when a film doesn’t stick to a particular genre, just like our lives. Are our lives a dramedy? Romance? Action? The genre of our lives keeps changing as our days progress. So is the case for Akash, the film breaks into a beautiful musical as Akash syncs his lips to ‘Naina da kya kasoor’, beautifully composed and sung by the ever-reliable Amit Trivedi. It is a cat and mouse game when Inspector Manohar Jawanda chases poor Akash in the second half of the film. It dwells into some sort of heist in the same half. See, the point I’m trying to prove is, Andhadhun doesn’t confine to a particular genre, and it’s amazing how it shifts from one to another.
The heart of Andhadhun is Simi, played by Tabu. She walks away, not just with the cake, but with every item, the bakery has to offer. Simi is gorgeous, and that’s what makes her even eviler. Evil looking like evil is predictable, don’t you think? And predictability is one thing this film avoids from the word go. The more I write about Simi, the more I’ll have to reveal about the film, which I don’t want to. Speaking of evil, Zakir Hussain plays Dr Swami, a realistic person, who is evil. Hussain is an actor with several negative characters to his credit, Swami is diametrically opposite to the negative character he has played in the past. And that is because of the writing. Swami is written a guy who does evil stuff to make more bucks. He is not inherently evil, like other movies project negative characters to be.
Andhadhun isn’t flawless. While it is a walk in the park for the immensely talented Radhika Apte to play a simple character like Sophie, the character is left midway after half-baked development. This is understandable that the screenplay doesn’t need her, casting a prominent actress like Apte causes this. Ashwini Kalsekar, as Rasika, gives us some of the best moments from the film, despite her limited screen time. Leaving us expecting more of these moments. This is what happens when the writing is on the spot, and it lets every little character shine. When it comes to little characters, there are Kabir Sajid Sheik as Bandu, a annoying little brat who steals the scenes he is in. FYI, he is in a scene with Apte, and guess who steals it? Not a spoiler, but its Bandu. So is Chaya Kadam as Sakhu, and Rudrangshu Chakrabarti as Murli, it is hard to write about them individually, you’ll get it post-viewing. It is the writing that lets these characters break the single dimension. Had it been not for the strong script, these characters would not have been mentioned anywhere.
The first half is a richly satisfying experience, obviously making the latter half look forced. Maybe, it is because the first half alone provides moments and twists more than any other complete well-made thriller Hindi cinema offered in recent times. Perhaps it came under its own weight of the awesomeness the first half offered. That being said, Andhadhun ends on a high, opening countless windows for your own predictions and theories. You walk out chuckling cause you know you have to figure it out! And that is the reward for watching this movie, errr, a puzzle!
As all good movies go, Andhadhun makes you invest in it's protagonist, makes you care. The script is brilliant, Sriram's direction flawless, and ensemble cast is marvellous, even the small parts have a nice backstory & character arc in service of the script.
What makes it a phenomenal movie is that the script is flawless & keeps you on the edge of your seat even as you simultaneously guffaw & marvel at Sriram for pulling off yet another slight-of-hand. The cast & crew does not showboat their skill, instead choosing to service the script. It helps that the casting is pitch perfect. Sriram indulges in his penchant for references to old Bollywood movies - it adds to the layers instead of being a distraction.
It has been a long time since I felt this exhilarated after watching a movie - Bollywood, Hollywood, or otherwise.