Director: V Vignarajan
Andhaghaaram is the sort of thriller that pauses for a few seconds to stare upon smoke curling out of a cigarette. Some would name that fashionable. Others will say these couple of seconds might have been axed so as to add some momentum to the proceedings. However right here’s the factor: writer-director V Vignarajan isn’t after momentum. He’s after temper. There’s a scene the place a cricket coach named Vinod (Arjun Das) — he’s slowly shedding his thoughts — pastes limitless items of paper on his partitions. I can’t say for positive, however I believe the hole between each bit of paper is identical. There’s some OCD-level consideration to element on this movie that provides us the quote: The satan is within the particulars. The satan can be within the narrative. Or not less than, some kind of vengeful spirit.
Priya Atlee is among the producers. The movie has the epic scale you anticipate from her husband’s blockbusters. However that is an intimate sort of epic. It’s not about large moments. It’s about small moments amplified to bigness: generally artfully, generally artificially. The story has to do with a visually impaired librarian (Selvam, performed by Vinoth Kishan), his instructor Pooja (Pooja Ramachandran), a shrink named Indran (Kumar Natarajan)… Steadily, very very progressively, the connections fall into place. We see how these characters are associated to Vinod, who’s being haunted by a voice on his newly put in rotary telephone. One of many movie’s earliest pictures is of this telephone being washed up by waves. Once more, some would name that fashionable. Others will say these couple of seconds might have been axed so as to add some momentum to the proceedings.
Right here’s the factor with slowness. By itself, this high quality isn’t an issue. When it really works, it really works. Some movies, some tales want to be gradual. The issue with Andhaghaaram is that it by no means convinces us about this want. The movie runs practically three hours. I stored questioning what a two-hour model may need felt like. The talky ending that explains every part would have nonetheless been a bummer. However perhaps we’d be extra invested in what Vinod goes by way of and why Selvam is part of it. I liked the thought of Selvam possessing occult powers. I liked the concept that, for the longest time, we’re as blind as Selvam, groping by way of a story that teases us with teeny-tiny doses of knowledge. I simply want these concepts had come collectively higher. The director appears to suppose name-dropping (Tolstoy, Darwin, the Upanishads) is an indication of smartness. You recognize what’s a surer signal of smartness? A well-written script.
Taken as an entire, Andhaghaaram is underwhelming, and but, scene for scene, it’s some sort of spectacular. It’s the sort of film that makes you seek for not simply the names of the cinematographer and editor (AM Edwin Sakay, Sathyaraj Natarajan) but in addition the artwork director and colorist (Rembon Balraj, G Balaji). The visible results are super-classy, and there are glorious stretches of dialogue. You actually must hear as a result of these traces slowly add up (which makes the one-shot info dump on the finish all of the extra disappointing). Vignarajan has an excellent eye for faces. The casting is good, proper right down to “the inspector who’s glimpsed in a single scene, investigating a homicide inside a film theatre” –— and the performances are exquisitely managed. That is the arrival of a really actual expertise. Vignarajan has made his show-reel. I’m going to be very when he makes his movie.