Caveat: Box office has loved this movie, I have not. You may very well love it too. Should you see this movie? Yes, I think you should.
This is one of the most baffling movies of recent times. I am baffled not at the movie, but at the genius of the creator, Sriram Raghavan. Baffled because I am wondering, should I marvel at what the director managed to pull off or should I feel sad that even a genius can get carried away…like you make a perfect painting. And then you take some colour and mindlessly splash it all over for the sake of being abstract or oblique.
The movie opens with a scene that I don’t believe has an equal in Bollywood movies. A one-eyed hapless hare bared open in a cabbage field, in the crosshair of the hunter’s viewfinder. A sure death. But the deprived always has an amazing sixth sense. So does the almost blind hare. Its ears are piqued as it senses the hunter. And makes a dash for its dear life. But what chances does a poor hare have in front of a sharpshooting hunter, right?
Well, the premise is brilliantly built.
We have a blind pianist, Ayushman Khurana, who is frustratingly working on an incomplete piece. The end of the musical piece eludes him try as hard as he may.
Enter Ms. Love interest, Radhika Apte who predictably bumps into the blind man. The bumping-into leads to a coffee and then predictably to his home as a drop off on her scooty. After the perfunctionary show of knowing his way around with his cane, he’s up in his window and she’s down on her scooty revving to take off.
Hold on, here comes the first twist kamariya…He gets his opaque lenses off and covers his eyes with dark ‘blindman’s’ glares!! Because he wants to check out the interesting lady! Yes, our man is not blind, just pretending. Art needs inspiration he explains to us. It calls for many experiments. Playing blind was one such experiment which he hoped would guide him to better music.
Anyway, now the pianist chucks his blind lenses for good and warms up to the glasses so that he can ‘see’ his girl. (What happened to inspiring art with blindness, don’t ask). He gets a job at the lady’s dad’s hotel as a pianist to entertain guests. Of course he’s a hit. With the guests and the lady. He earns tips and the lady’s love too.
One of the admiring guests calls him over to his house to play for his wife as a surprise on their marriage anniversary. And now the movie starts!
If you thought the story is about the blind man, the movie is called Andhadhun after all, well that’s the red herring.
The heart, soul and the focus of the movie is this woman, the wife for whom the surprise was planned. The one and only Tabu.
Lady Macbeth herself!
Tabu is a prima donna of yesteryears, full nautanki, married to an ageing has-been actor of the movie world with a step daughter who still calls her auntie, even after three years of marriage.
On Anniversary Day, the blind pianist who can see, unwittingly ‘witnesses’ the ghastly scene of a murder, the murderers, the murder weapon and the dead body in a pool of blood.
A s soon as he can gather his wits around him, he rushes to the police station to report the crime. And finds himself face to face with lady Macbeth’s lover, the murderer, who is also the police inspector! And now our man finds himself between a rock and a hard place.
He has to keep assuring the suspecting murderers that he is blind, while he is not. In the meantime he gets to witness yet another cover up murder, but still, he is ‘blind’ and dare not reveal he is not or he would be the third victim.
Lady killer and her lover spin a dangerous web of deceipt and drama. Without even blinking an eye, Tabu floats from being a loving wife, to a promiscuous lover, to an innocent victim of circumstance, to a cold blooded murderer. And then to back slapping terms with her own victim. The poor blind pianist gets sucked into deeper **** as each minutes passes.
And that’s the pure genius of the movie. So far.
Just when you brace yourself for the most thrilling strategy our un-blind man will definitely come up to expose the killers, comes the second jhatka of the movie. The wily woman blinds him for real!!
How and all, please don’t ask. Internet! Is the only reply you get from the movie. Our man is now really blind and the opaque eyeballs are visible again.
At this point I am imagining.. . maybe the genius writer/director/creator of the movie saw what they had created and couldn’t believe it!! Its greatness probably blinded them, because from here on, the story was like on a free fall.
Like the perfect painting I mentioned, the painter, probably too happy and overwhelmed and super confident of his creation began splashing random colour at the canvas. What took shape was sold to the world as an abstract art. And yes, there are many buyers…avow the Box Office collections.
The admirers saw beneath the splash at the perfect painting and read between the lines, a distinct order among the chaos.
Back to the movie, an abstract murder-by-numbers got lined up. The killer lady displaying no remorse kept appending her list of victims. Other immoral characters were splashed into the perfect movie, like the quack organ seller doctor, greedy poor people with no real connection with the movie.
The blind man himself somewhere got scrupulous and planned an extortion and kidnap. The greedy got greedier and kept changing sides like a rolling dice. Mayhem!
And because this was an abstract carry on murder movie, please don’t expect any police investigation, any moral issues, or logical or logistical reasoning, characterization, etc. etc.
And well, remember the brilliant hare in the starting sequence? The creators went ahead and spoilt the memory of that brilliant scene (for me) too!
And what happened to the Andha Dhun in the end? Well, he migrated phoren and continued to pretend he was blind in the name of music (or checking out girls). Wait! pretended to be blind? But he was blind, na? Last we remember?
Well, that’s the homework the makers left for you. Go home, discuss with your friends, come up with interpretations. If you can’t convince them, confuse them, must be an underlying thought.
Actually I have nothing against superficial quirky movies, which skim over the details and aim at say only highlighting the base nature of people, like in this movie. But then the treatment should be quirky through out. Which was not so in Andhadhun. The start was so meticulous. Camera left no details to imaginations. The hare scene held a huge promise of things to happen. In short, there was a finesse in every scene. Even a photoframe in the movie was there with a purpose.
And then, it seemed, thatthe director replaced his thin artistic brush with a graffiti artist’s spray paint. The art, craft and attention to detail was gone, all of sudden. And it was like suddenly waking up in a strange room with strangers around.
Still, the movie is very thrilling, to a point. A lot of twists and turns.That fact alone justifies seeing the film, because it is not so often that half a movie gives you drama of two. And more than anything, see the movie to see Tabu. Very subtlely but surely she displays just how dangerous a middle aged sexy woman can be!
Radhika Apte, Ayushman as blind man, all ok types. Nothing great, not even too convincing. His ‘blind’ performance was better when he was fake blind.
But hey!! lovely songs, superb music. The piano recitals were just too good. Kudos to Raftaar And Amit Trivedi for the musical treat. My fave two songs – Naina Da Kya Kasoor and Wo Ladki.
PS: The movie is supposedly inspired by a French short film called L’Accordeur, which shares the same premise of a pretending to be blind pianist who witnesses a murder.
Before I go, a very pakaau joke I remembered seeing the blind hare scenes…
A man was very much in love with his washing machine. He would carry it everywhere he went. Once he even carried it with him on a flight. The airhostess got livid. and she threw the washing machine out of the plane. (End of joke…but continue reading)
A girlfriend asks her boyfriend to prove his love for him by diving in a pond and finding her a pearl. The flabbergasted boyfriend jumped in to get the impossible. True love wins, he finds a pearl and excitedly surfaces to gift it to his girlfriend. But…girlfriend is lying still, dead! A washing machine that came from out of nowhere in the sky fell on her head and killed her!!
That’s the hare connection from the first scene to the last that I made 🙁 lame, but couldn’t help recounting it.