Since the first trailer of Sriram Raghavan’s ‘AndhaDhun’ was unveiled, the film has managed to intrigue audiences and hopefully this will drive them to a cinema this weekend. After rave reviews from industry folk, the film finally released today – starring Ayushmann Khurrana, Radhika Apte and Tabu in the central roles. With this fresh cast and Raghavan’s obvious knack at making dark and gritty films, ‘AndhaDhun’ promised to be a refreshing and thrilling ride.
Akash (Khurrana) is a blind musician, trying his hardest to perfect a piece on the piano. When getting around Pune, he accidentally bumps into Sophie (Apte) who eventually leads him to a job in her father’s restaurant. At the restaurant, he meets well-known actor Pramod Sinha (Anil Dhawan) who invites him to his home to perform as a pianist for his wife Simi (Tabu). Little does he know that she is hiding a secret in her house which leads to his whole life’s circumstances changing.
If you thought Sriram Raghavan had arrived with 2015’s Varun Dhawan starrer ‘Badlapur’, you were mistaken. ‘AndhaDhun’ is his real arrival. This is the film where he shows exactly how to play the audience like puppets. This is the one which audiences will want to explore again and again because it keeps thrilling you over and over and it keeps you wondering why all movies aren’t placed so cleverly that the audiences expectations are shattered at every second. The thrilling story is one that Raghavan’s treatment would have felt a little strange without. He manages for it to remain intense in the most part but also easily makes the audiences laugh with the unravelling circumstances, which the dialogues very much add to. The biggest and quite noticeable thing about ‘AndhaDhun’ is that one doesn’t get to know the characters very closely at any point. Therefore, motives remain unclear all through, making for a super interesting watch.
The performances Raghavan derives from the lead and supporting actors are just exquisite in such a film. Khurrana seems to be going from strength to strength with his film choices but in this film he has outdone himself. You simply cannot imagine anyone but him playing Akash and perhaps not knowing even after the film ends whether he was a good guy stuck in the situations he finds himself in or whether he simply excelled in putting himself through all the randomness. Khurrana brings an honourable feel to the character which stays with you as you can’t decide whether to trust him or not. Tabu has also been given a character which she’s never been seen in before and, for an actress that is so loved, she comes out totally on top. She is the one whose performance and character is the most intriguing at every point. Her chemistry with Manav Vij is also applauseworthy. As for Apte, she plays a good eventual love interest to Khurrana and her character is the reason the story moves forward. Again, this is the sort of character she hasn’t really been seen in before and it is effective in adding to the confusion and the compassion somewhat for Akash, which seems to be quite natural for the audiences to feel in various parts. Vij essays his role very well, as does Anil Dhawan. The lesser known actors also add valuable essence to the film and story.
It is refreshing that the film delves into some light-hearted moments and this is where the songs primarily come in. Otherwise, you do almost walk out of the cinema feeling as if you’ve watched a songless film. This is great because it speaks volumes about the content. However, Naina Da Kya Kasoor and the title track are great listens. You do end up thinking a little whether some strength in the soundtrack might’ve added that little bit extra to the film even though the current understated selection works in the most part.
Overall, ‘AndhaDhun’ can be described as one of 2018’s best films. It thrills you uncontrollably and keeps you engaged at every point possible. This is a rarity somewhat for this kind of genre but the credit very much goes to the actors and Raghavan for this. In fact, you arguably walk out knowing that the story has been left open for a follow-up and part of you already wonders when the second instalment will be announced.
BizAsiaLive.com rating: 4.5/5