What is life? It depends on the liver. Double meaning? Think about it. Andhadhun (2018), helmed by the brilliant Sriram Raghavan and produced by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, begins on such a note.
Sriram Raghavan has the capacity to thrill his audiences. He is known for making some of the most path-breaking and successful thrillers ever. Well, Andhadhun is definitely one such movie, almost a trend-setter.
The film starring Ayushmann Khurrana, Tabu, and Radhika Apte, pulled back audiences to the theatres. The sheer brilliance of this out-of-the-box thriller made way for some more thrillers. Ayushmann Khurrana and Tabu went on to deliver some of the finest performances in cinema recent memory. But then what about other characters? Well, all suited best and did not appear ‘too much’.
Andhadhun was brilliant from the starting itself, setting the tone for a perfect thriller with an equally perfect twisted ending. However, one of the most delightful aspects of the film is that one can interpret the film in more than one way.
Each shot, scene, and sequence of the film has been filled with thrill. In fact, the ending leaves open several doors for interpretation. The best part of Andhadhun is it never goes over-the-head. Ayushmann Khurrana fakes his blindness in the initial part of the film. He again becomes blind. Now it is we who are to decide if he fakes it or not. The end, which will not be mentioned here, is again…
When a film leaves it to its audiences for a correct interpretation, only guesswork comes into handy. In fact, the film becomes a subject of discussion everywhere. Many, after watching the movie, might have wanted to clarify if Ayushmann was blind at all. But then a filmmaker has the full liberty to open and explore new horizons, and Andhadhun explored new avenues.
The evergreen Tabu played her part like she usually does-outstandingly. The veteran Anil Dhawan with very little screen-time was okay. Zakir Hussain, Ashwini Kalsekar, and the brilliant Manav Vij performed very well.
Anil Dhawan, an actor in the movie, is cheated on by his wife Tabu. Tabu is in love with Manav Vij. Manav Vij is homemaker Ashwini Kalsekar’s wife. The level of adultery and cheating depicted in this thriller might enrage you. You feel pity for both Anil and Ashwini. They are happy in their respective lives when all hell breaks loose.
Not all wives are ‘sati-savitris’, at least Tabu is not the one in this film. But Ashwini, a devoted wife, when learning about her husband’s immoral affair with Tabu, takes up a gun and even fires at Manav, who hides in his bathroom. Instead of creating a fuss over these ‘immoral affairs’, we are taken to a world, which is governed by crime and filled with people with ulterior motive(s).
What makes Tabu do such things? After all, she is married to a superstar. Tabu keeps committing murders on the instructions of Manav, who is also a police officer. Though Manav knows about these murders, he has to act innocently and investigate intelligently (at least his colleagues expect him to be more active in finding out the real culprit). Here, we are not kept in the dark regarding the real identity of the culprit. We are expected to think only about Ayushmann.
The suspense is carried forward by the brilliant editing of the film. It is fast-paced and the characters are always ‘on the move’. All the minor characters help Ayushmann in ‘defeating’ the ever-scheming Tabu. They hatch plans to trap Tabu. Now Tabu is Tabu, the only one of her kind. The shift from her from being powerful to powerful is aptly expressed by his talented actor. She does not let her co-actors pin her down. You cannot ignore her just because there is Ayushmann.
Here the battle is not between only the good and the evil, but also among all scheming characters. They help Ayushmann for money. In fact, the doctor (played by Zakir Hussain) who pretends to treat Ayushmann’s blindness, settles a deal with Ayushmann’s two other accomplices. They plan to take out Ayushmann’s organs. Well, Ayushmann’s expressions and body-language make us feel for him and his helplessness.
Both Tabu and Manav brilliantly brought the best in them by being ‘villains’. Look at the scenes in which Tabu commits the murders. She is flawless even doing such roles, which demand perfection. Manav’s expression and physique make him stand out tall.
The cinematography too stands out tall. The tone and the mood of the film changes from time-to-time, which has been beautifully presented to us. No dull moment and dialogue, sharp, crisp, and above all ‘to-the-point’.
Radhika Apte, who falls for Ayushmann, holds her own while delivering the lines. Her nervous expression after she accidentally hits Ayushmann with her two-wheeler is matchless. Though our hero and heroine (Ayushmann and Radhika) meets ‘accidentally’ through an ‘accident’ (almost a cliché in Bollywood), their love story, though very short, bosoms otherwise.
The film begins on a happy note as our happy-go-lucky hero finds solace in life by faking ‘blindness’. All seems normal to us till we suddenly realise (we are shown) that he is not blind at all. We grow curious to know why he fakes blindness. What makes him enjoy the state of blindness?
Ayushmann, in the end, silently leaves and later uses his cane to swat a can out of his way, raising doubts over his eyesight. Now you can scratch your head thinking if he was blind or not.
By not answering our questions and queries, Andhadhun has perhaps left us in the dark. For those who are yet to watch to film, please go ahead, it has Ayushmann Khurrana, Tabu, and Radhika Apte – do you need more?
Thrillers like Andhadhun are hard to come across. But then whenever you feel down or in the mood for good thrillers, give it a watch. Makers of Andhadhun perhaps felt the need for an out-of-the-box thriller. They ended up serving thriller on a platter.