Andhagaaram hit the headlines when it was picked up for a direct premiere by Netflix and has been one of the highly anticipated Tamil films on the OTT space. It is Produced by Atlee’s A for Apple Productions, alongside Sudhan Sundaram and Jayaram under their banner Passion Studios and K. Poornachandra’s O2 Pictures respectively. Andhagaaram, written and directed by debutant V Vignarajan stars Arjun Das, Vinodh Kishan and Pooja Ramachandran along with a host of other actors completing the cast. The lives of a blind clerk in a library, a disillusioned cricket coach and a prominent psychiatrist are eerily connected by a supernatural presence that threatens to ruin their existence. As they each attempt to connect the dots and unravel the mystery behind this enigma, they realise the underlying connection between different events that have defined their lives.
This “darkness” unfortunately is not quite dispelled
Andhagaaram translates to darkness and while the film aims to tackle the literal and metaphorical forces of the term, the audience sadly is also left in the dark so to speak. The director works with a good concept but get caught in trying to weave in and connect together multiple storylines. As a result, we get a rather confusing set of montages that are meant to be suspenseful but are banal instead, asking more questions than leading the viewer to concrete answers. There is a possibility that the filmmaker may have been inspired by 2009’s solidly made thriller Eeram and other films of this genre in incorporating certain supernatural elements but the execution right through the meandering screenplay goes awry and the result is a hotchpotch that doesn’t quite resolve. There are too many loopholes which the director to his credit tries to explain in the climax but by then, its just too tedious to focus.
We expected a lot from the cast
Arjun Das and Vinodh Kishan are both upcoming stars with promise and are well cast in their respective roles.But the script does not have the intensity required for them to showcase their acting skills.Their back stories could have been an intriguing addition to the development of the plot yet there is hardly any scope to explore this angle. Similarly Kumar Natarajan as the psychiatrist Dr Indran is a pivotal figure who is wasted with a character sketch that leaves a lot to be deciphered. The others in the ensemble too just seem to be manufactured into the script without much thought. Furthermore, there is some unpurposeful philosophy thrown in at junctures which only serve to confuse rather than illuminate.
The film seems overly stylized
Possibly Andhagaaram’s biggest flaw is its excruciating running time of almost 180 minutes which still ironically doesn’t suffice to bring the narrative a full circle. The visuals though competently shot, are too contrived in their style almost as if they are covering for the film’s lack of coherence. An old-style red phone forms a central and interesting link to the story along with other objects but there are too many slickly shot set pieces interspersed with too little content of importance and that’s a pity.
WATCH OR NOT
Andhagaaram is an attempt to take the horror/supernatural theme up a notch with a decent enough storyline but fails to rise up to the challenge. Watch it if you like the genre but prepare to be disappointed with its approach.
Director: V Vignarajan
Cast: Arjun Das, Vinodh Kishan, Pooja Ramachandran, Kumar Natarajan
Streaming on: Netflix