'Andhadhun' movie review: Why you must watch this thriller
Almost all the characters in the film are unworthy of your trust with streaks of grey shades and ulterior motives.
The movie starts with the line "What is life? It all depends on liver". And it all falls in place as you reach the climax of the film.
Aakash (Ayushmann Khurrana) is a blind pianist, who meets his muse, Radhika Apte, when her bike crashes into him in Pune. She is the daughter of a bar owner, Franco, who employs him as a pianist. Soon, Aakash with his melodious compositions wins the hearts of his audience and the attention of a yesteryear actor, Pramod Sinha (Anil Dhawan).
Pramod is married to a much younger Simi (Tabu), who is sultry, irresistible. She looks fabulous as the wannabe actress, who wants her husband of three years to find her a producer. Her husband is stuck in his gone-by era and his favourite pastime is watching his films on repeat. And the walls of their house are adorned with his film posters. Casting Dhawan works excellently as we get glimpses of scenes and songs of his films.
Sriram Raghavan brings his love for the 1970s and 80s Bollywood cinema and gives his tribute to 'Chhaya Geet' and 'Chitrahaar' in the beginning. Songs like 'Tere Galiyon Mein Na Rakehnge', 'Yeh Jeevan Hai' flow in the narrative.
Things go for a toss when the blind Aakash becomes a spectator to the murder of the actor at Simis house and is the only witness. The rat chase begins with Simi wanting to be sure he is blind. But did he 'see' the murder?
Sriram Raghavan, known for his earlier edgy films like 'Badlapur' and 'Johnny Gaddaar', weaves a riveting story in 'Andhadhun'. The film spirals and moves at a dramatic pace and is overall an unpredictable fare.
A few minutes in the film, Ayushmann drops his breezy charm and becomes the blind guy, who is taken advantage of. People stop talking around Aakash and talk in signs when they have to scheme against him. And there is lot of scheming against this poor fella.
The film belongs to Ayushmann as the film revolves around his 'blindness'. He sheds his image of a romantic hero and delivers a performance he might find challenging to ace.
In one particular scene, Aakash is struggling to get help in the middle of the night, bumping into road dividers and closed doors. Passing vehicles in full speed almost hit him and you want to extend him a helping hand.
Radhika, the free-spirited Pune girl who fights with a motorist when he bangs into her yellow scotty, is present in the film. She makes her presence felt more in the first half when their love blossoms but goes missing mostly otherwise. Her character is of lesser consequence and anybody else could have been cast as well. Or maybe more could have been written for her.
Other characters like Manav Vij as a tough police officer, his demanding, mostly unreasonable yet devoted wife, played by Ashwini Kalsekar all get enough to stand out in the film. A small, curious kid who constantly doubts if Aakash is really blind and goes on a sting operation of sorts also generates enough interest.
Almost all the characters in the film are unworthy of your trust with streaks of grey shades and ulterior motives -- typical of a Sriram Raghavan film. In this murky world, Aakash is the one you place your bets on.
The storyline isn't contrived and much happens spontaneously. It is riveting and you need to be attentive so that you don't miss out. Anything can happen with these dubious characters and you don't want to blame your popcorn for it.
'Andhadhun' is crisply-edited, fast-paced narrative that keeps you on the edge of the seat throughout.
Director: Sriram Raghavan
Cast: Tabu, Ayushmann Khurrana, Radhika Apte, Ashwini Kalsekar, Manav Vij, Chaya Kadam, Anil Dhawan