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Andhadhun (Hindi Movie)
Film: AndhaDhun
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Tabu, Radhika Apte, Manav Vij, Ashwini Kalsekar and Anil Dhawan
Direction: Sriram Raghavan
Duration: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Genre: Thriller
Language: Hindi (U/A)
Critic’s Rating: 3.5/5

Akash (Ayushmann) is a Pune-based, visually-challenged pianist whose only dream is to fly to London and hone his music skills further. He’s ready to experiment with anything so that he can achieve his goal. However, he gets caught in a web and actually ‘witnesses’ a crime. In his attempt to leave the mess behind, he makes an escape bid. But it is not easy. Especially, because the restaurant owner’s daughter, Sophie (Radhika; Akash plays music at her father’s restaurant), is romantically drawn to him. Then, there is Simi (Tabu), the femme fatale wife of an ex-superstar Pramod Sinha (Anil Dhawan), who also has him ensnared in her net. Will the blind pianist make his way out or will he fail?

Sriram Raghavan self-confessedly is drawn to crime dramas from a young age. In all fairness, his obsession with cinema noir has paid off. Over his last few outings (Ek Hasina Thi, 2004; Johnny Gaddaar, 2007 and Badlapur, 2015) he has become one of Bollywood’s master crime storytellers. His thrillers, albeit with strong foreign inspirations/influences, pack in both panache and substance. In the case of AndhaDhun, Raghavan draws inspiration from the French short film; Olivier Treiner’s The Piano Tuner (2010), which revolved around a piano prodigy who came up with a handicap theory to attract more sympathy.

Anyway, the plot of AndhaDhun has so many twists that it would be almost impossible to say too much here without giving away the spoilers. So, suffice it to say, the film packs in enough mystery to keep your stomach in knots, as you rack your brains and ask, ‘What next?’ Sriram sets a pacy thriller tone here from the start. A hunter chasing a partially-blind rabbit through a forest is used as a metaphor for a visually-impaired man who is scampering around blindly.

Akash’s quiet life in Prabhat Lane, Pune, has a certain mysterious texture that keeps you fully invested in it from the start. A spying child adds to the mystique without giving much away. His ‘now-I-see, now-I-don’t’ game holds you in a tight grip and as more characters jump into the crime drama, you follow each one like their shadow not wanting to miss a single move. And believe me when I say, each of the principal characters — be it Simi, the cop Manohar (Manav Vij) who is her lover and his wife Rasika (Ashwini Kalsekar) — make you stay with them.

The music is the sort that gets you to sing along in the theatre, unmindful of the person in the next seat. Amit Trivedi’s Naina Da Kya Kasoor, Laila Laila and Arijit Singh’s Woh Ladki are infectious especially because they are accompanied by some fabulous piano pieces. In fact, when you leave the cinema hall, your first temptation is to rush to the nearest music instrument store and buy yourself a piano!

But the film loses pace and focus in the second half. On some occasions, it even falls flat. The presence of too many subplots (some part of it truly lame) ‘kills’ what could, otherwise, have made this a superlative thriller. Having said that, the script is laced with moments that make you laugh and keep you on the edge of your seats in equal measure. At the end, everything comes together quite well. Not to forget the stellar performances that add to the magic.

Ayushmann is on a roll. If he had Bareilly Ki Barfi and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan to crow about last year, he looks all set to nail it this time around with AndhaDhun and the soon-to-be-released Badhaai Ho. Tabu, well, what does one say about her? When she is playing the seductress, she has you eating out of the palm of her hand. And, when she is Lady Macbeth, she’s top-notch, getting you to jump out of your skin. This talented actor is like red wine; the more she matures, the finer she becomes. Radhika displays spunk but doesn’t have much to do. Anil Dhawan, more famously referred to as Varun Dhawan’s chacha, is good in his walk-on part as a yesteryear superstar. And, Ashwini Kalsekar is always a delight to watch.

If you have grown up reading mystery/crime novels, don’t miss AndhaDhun. You will simply love it.

Source: dnaindia.com

AndhaDhun | Official Trailer | Tabu | Ayushmann Khurrana | Radhika Apte | 5th October