Verdict: An outstanding effort from the first-time director who keeps the thrills coming throughout.

Athiran is a psychological thriller directed by debutant Vivek with Fahadh Faasil and Sai Pallavi in the lead. The film is produced by Century Kochumon under “Century Investments” with cinematography handled by Anu Moothedath, editing by Ayoob Khan, songs by P. S. Jayahari, and score by Ghibran. Athiran also has a stellar cast including Atul Kulkarni, Renji Panicker, Santhi Krishna, Lena, Sudev Nair, Leona Lishoy, Surabhi Lakshmi, and Vijay Menon. The movie is set up in the ’70s and revolves around a posh mental asylum and the mysterious events that take place inside it.

What’s Athiran About:

Dr Benjamin (Atul Kulkarni) is the owner and chief psychiatrist in a posh mental asylum in Ooty. The facility holds five inmates who roam around freely while a sixth one – an autistic girl named Nithya (Sai Pallavi) who claims to be Benjamin’s daughter – is locked up in a jail-like room. Dr. M K Nair (Fahadh Faasil) visits the asylum for an inspection as the government has information that there are unconventional and unauthentic treatment methods used in the asylum. He finds out about Nithya and decides to set her free, which leads him to lock horns with Benjamin. He might be successful, but there is much more to what the eye can perceive.

What Works:

Let’s first talk about the performances as it’s too hard to ignore the mind-blowing acting by all of them – Atul Kulkarni nails it, Fahadh is impressive as always, but their performances are overshadowed by Sai Pallavi. She is amazing as an autistic girl who learns Kalari to fight her condition and her moves astonish you. Clearly, Nithya is her career’s best role till date. Ghibran’s background music plays a vital role in keeping the mystery alive throughout the movie. P S Jayahari’s music is refreshing as well. All credits go to the cinematographer Anu Moothedath and editor Ayoob Khan for keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. The director has made sure that the stunts, thrills, and actions including the Kalari moves, look authentic and that is highly appreciable. On the whole, Athiran is an extraordinary thriller, especially coming from a debutant.

What Could’ve Been Better:

There are logical glitches throughout the movie but they are negligible. The first half is resplendent with loopholes and unfinished puzzles but the second half covers it all. While the climax is mind-blowing, you might find it predictable.

Why You Should Watch:

If you are a fan of thrillers, Athiran is a must-watch. The movie definitely sets the benchmark high and is sure to keep you engaged throughout. Even though it’s not a horror film, it creeps you out well. In short, Athiran is a unique film to catch this Vishu season.