Andhadhun review: Pati, patni, beefcake aur blind man

Andhadhun

Film: Andhadhun

Rating: 3.5/5

Cast: Tabu, Ayushmann Khurrana, Radhika Apte

Language: Hindi (U/A)

Whether the director of the best film is the best director is a debate that comes up every year, usually around the time of the national awards.

With the general populace usually paying little attention to anything more than the "story" or the "message", the change a director can bring to a script is overlooked.

Andhadhun is a fantastic bone to throw in to this debate. The film is not consistently great, but Sriram Raghavan's direction is a spectacle in itself.

Andhadhun tells the story of a blind pianist (Khurrana), his feisty girlfriend (Radhika), a washed-up actor (Anil Dhawan), a femme fatale (Tabu) and her beefcake (Manav Vij).

The script is a work of genius for a little over the first half. Raghavan sets up the life of the blind musician very carefully, parallelly telling the story of a yesteryear's (somewhat) star (Anil Dhawan), his gold-digger and their evidently gross chemistry.

These parallel storylines meet at a point of crime, one to which 'blindness' makes all the difference.

Raghavan, however, is not interested in using blindness as a theme — he instead uses it as a prop. Crimes committed in the presence of a blind man never assume the usual seriousness of noir (Raghavan's specialty), but rather the ironic seriousness of old silent films.

In Raghavan's films, with an obviously prodigious knowledge of cinema, these must be allusions and not accidents.

The overall result is a great, darkly comic neo-noir that Bollywood sometimes aspires to, but doesn't pull off.

But not so fast. A little into the second half, Andhadhun loses steam as the plot gets unnecessarily complicated. Before you know it, there's blackmail, the hospital mafia, some good-guy talk, backstabbing-the-backstabbers, all of which will make you groan: "Oh no! Bollywood!"

And in case you didn't notice that Khurrana and Tabu are fantastic actors in the beginning, the way they pull this sputtering vehicle forward at this point will.

So the final verdict is: a little more than half of Andhadhun is one of the best crime films in years; from there, it's an above-average Bollywood film.

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Andhadhun review: Pati, patni, beefcake aur blind man

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