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Review Tamil

Andhaghaaram review: A long but impressive supernatural thriller 

Release Date: 24 Nov 2020

Cinestaan Rating

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Karthik Kumar

V Vignarajan’s richly atmospheric film marks the arrival of a filmmaker who needs to be taken seriously.

V Vignarajan’s Andhaghaaram, a one-of-a-kind directorial debut, relies heavily on mood but rarely on jump scares. This is one of the reasons why the thriller works and makes for an engaging watch. By eschewing the supernatural genre's tropes, the film is a crash course in how mood-building makes a viewing experience unimaginably immersive. Despite the film’s nearly three-hour runtime, Andhaghaaram keeps one hooked with spectacular visuals and groundbreaking sound design.

The story follows four characters, who share an odd connection. Vinod (Arjun Das), a failed cricketer; Selvam (Vinoth Kishan), a visually challenged librarian with some occult powers; Pooja (Pooja Ramachandran), a teacher for the blind; and Dr Indran (Kumar Natarajan), a psychiatrist, cross paths and their lives come under supernatural influences. As we unravel the connection and mystery between these characters, we are drawn into a visually compelling tale that creates a unique world.

Vignarajan’s writing — though complex for the most part — is what makes Andhaghaaram an experience to savour. Instead of making a wholesomely compelling story, Vignarajan focuses on creating moments, scenes that leave a better impact on the viewer. If you judge the film scene by scene, you’re almost convinced it’s flawless, and aren’t too bogged down by the slightly underwhelming climax twist. Vignarajan is an exciting talent who wants to go against the grain to prove his versatility. When most thrillers are built on jump scares, Vignarajan believes in creating an experience more than anything else.

The casting is on point and it’s another prime reason why the film doesn’t disappoint. Vinoth Kishan as the blind librarian wins you over with a believable performance. As a viewer, you buy into his helplessness. Arjun Das, after Kaithi (2019), returns with another memorable performance. As the lonely, failed cricketer, he excels in bringing out the aggressiveness and vulnerability of his character convincingly. Pooja Ramachandran and Kumar Natarajan, too, shine in their respective roles.

Visually, Andhaghaaram is in a different league altogether. The technical crew deserves special praise for making every scene stand out aesthetically. Even the most mundane shot is made to look so unique that you’re left marvelling at the screen. The film leaves a very striking mark with its visuals and sound design. In theatres, it would’ve made for an even more appealing experience. Nevertheless, it’s still a thriller that marks the arrival of a filmmaker who needs to be taken seriously.

Andhaghaaram is being streamed on Netflix

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