In the movie Antakshari, many varying elements?including child abuse, animal torture, caste tensions, rape, serial homicides, a psychopath, a Royal Enfield bullet, and a game of Antakshari?come together well.
The movie is a tense investigative thriller that keeps you interested, and it was written and directed by Vipin Das.
The film, which stars Saiju Kurup as circle inspector Yesudas, is suspenseful in spots but ultimately falls back on the formula of detective thrillers influenced by American web series since it centers on a psychopath. Recent Malayalam movies like Memories, Anjam Pathira, The Great Father, and others have all featured similar events.
Script and Direction
Given the correct treatment, the tale of Antakshari has a solid chance of developing into a compelling psychological thriller theme. Although a few spooky sequences were woven into the narrative here and there, the filmmaker could have made a stronger impact with this theme.
When creating Ananthan's persona, the filmmaker referred to a few topics, including child molestation, poor-privileged prejudice, and man-woman exploitation, offering the audience a glimpse into the antagonist's early years. The film excels in a few areas with powerful, exciting situations.
The director deserves praise for setting the tone since the entire cast truly lived out their characters. Artists who only performed briefly have also done it organically and within the parameters of their roles. The last scenes are dramatic. During the climactic confrontation, both actors who played the protagonist (Das) and antagonist (Ananthan) presented an engaging scene.
The Confrontation and the Capture
After starting the bike and luring Das outside, Kishore confronts him at night at the latter's home. He taunts and plays with his victim by forcing him to play Antakshari. As Kishore pursues his wife and daughter, who are trapped in their chamber, the wife bars the door.
Kishore then knocks Das out of action. Even though he is hurt, Das manages to halt the assailant and rip off his mask, but he is unable to pursue him as he flees into the night.
The killer's fascination with the thing must be shattered forever for Das to see that this is the only way to bring him to his knees. Kishore is forced to emerge from the shadows and reveal his face for the first time as a result of Das setting his own bike on fire and laments the destruction of the car. The attacker is defeated by Das, who also defends his family.
Thanks to Nayana's favorable deposition in the manhandling case, Das is allowed to resume serving the public.
Antakshri Movie Review
The influence that a single occurrence, sparked by its protagonist, has on the lives of three groups of individuals was the central theme of Mudhugauv, the comedy-entertainment first film by director Vipin Das.
Antakshari, the latest film from the director and a psycho-thriller at heart, demonstrates the director's growth and his screenplay in that it also begins by introducing a number of characters and the subsequent incidents without giving these a chronological order at first.
But as the plot develops, these events naturally relate to the overarching narrative and also act as subtexts for the story's main topic of childhood trauma and how it emerges in people's lives.
It's obvious that Vipin approached Antakshari as an OTT movie from the get-go; he doesn't rely on theatrics to keep the audience entertained but instead lets the tale take its time and soak in, enabling the viewers to find the connections.
He starts by describing the story of a youngster from a less fortunate background who has been treated unfairly and with contempt by society up until a police officer informs him that the only way he can achieve respect is by earning money or by becoming a police officer.
Circle Inspector Das (Saiju Kurup), who enjoys playing antakshari, serves as the narrative's main character, and this is when the plot really takes off. The police officer starts looking into similar occurrences with a sub-inspector (Sudhy Koppa), who has recently joined the service after receiving an anonymous call and having his daughter attacked. This causes terror in Das' family.
Vipin switches back and forth throughout the film between the main narrative with Das' pursuit of the criminal, side stories concerning a misogynistic stepfather's treatment of his family, and a little girl finding her voice after experiencing trauma.
What Vipin excels at in the movie is how he makes viewers comprehend the perpetrator's mental condition by illustrating the numerous ways that unresolved trauma may emerge in diverse persons through the usage of these side characters. In spite of this, Antakshari is not an enjoyable film to watch due to scenes of child abuse, savage sexual assault, and animal cruelty.
The movie doesn't hold back from portraying the characters as they are; they are all unvarnished and true to life. Antakshari touches on these issues while narrating its compelling tale, whether it is workplace sexual harassment, bosses' contempt, or even how police would soon reject assault allegations as "someone trying to have fun." The frames of first-time director Bablu Aju give the movie a genuine feel and help to establish and maintain the suspense, particularly during the climax in and around a remote house at night.
The tempo also slows down in this scene because the plot quickly devolves into a cat-and-mouse game and a house invasion drama after the killer's motivation is made clear. The creators had chopped out some passages to reduce the duration for an OTT release because some of the storylines, especially one involving a family, never reached their conclusion.
Saiju is the star of the movie Das and gives one of his most serious performances to date. Through the modulation of his voice, the scene when he challenges the murderer to a game of antakshari in the shadowy woods heightens the suspense. Special kudos should be given to the people who created the film's audiotape.
Sudhy also comes out in his portrayal as a rookie police officer who struggles to balance doing what is right and deferring to his superiors. The film has benefited from the casting of Kottayam Ramesh, Boban Samuel, Vijay Babu, Shabareesh Varma, and Priyanka Nair, who are all outliers in their respective genres.
Saiju Kurup's Film Is Thrilling But Leaves Many Loose Ends
The teaser made one very clear: Antakshari will be a thriller, scary, and enjoyable movie because a cop who likes to play Antakshari all the time is in it. In the musical game Antakshari, once one player performs a song, the following player must sing a song that starts with the final letter of the previous song.
The enjoyment is fleeting, though, as fear soon takes over as the game turns into a terrifying experience, and numerous parallel storylines are being recounted. Saiju Kurup, Priyanka Nair, and Kottayam Ramesh, in particular, gave outstanding performances, but what started out extremely well seemed to lose focus and leave too many loose ends.
As soon as the movie starts, director Vipin Das establishes the mood. A little girl and her parents are watching television in an unidentified living room when the girl sneaks out with her phone to make shady calls. It makes you wish the girl had just left the room since the surroundings are so eerily familiar from horror movies: the house's desolate and gloomy fašade.
A startling noise may break these handy silences to startle the hapless spectator. We then shift from the girl's narrative to the story of a young boy who starts off innocently in the daytime in a village with other boys. Although the youngster is largely mute in this narrative, it is more thorough, and you realize that this is the history that will make sense much later.
Within ten minutes, you have reached the third floor and are at the police station where the singing officer is. Soon after, a kind and cheerful Saiju Kurup shows up. Witty station scenes provide an early sense of intrigue for Saiju's character, Das. However, the fun element is sidelined as the movie picks up the caste-related thread it had started weaving in the little boy's narrative.
An elder subordinate officer at Das's station often complains about having to work for a person from a low caste. Kottayam Ramesh does a fantastic job in this part, playing a terrible character who doesn't let up till the very end, is always irritated, snaps at everyone, and shows no mercy.
The scene then moves from the station to Das's house, which, despite the stressful mood of the movie, is surprisingly cozy, especially the long verandah in front. Similar to a little village, this home's doors are always open, allowing ominous politicians to come at odd hours.
Month after month, Das plays Antakshari at home with his little family, including a young girl around 10, Priyanka, who portrays his wife, a nurse. Vijay Babu gives a lovely performance before the politician enters the singing family and issues his threat.
Antakshari Movie: Ingeniously Constructed Game Of Suspense
With its storyline, Antakshari accomplishes something intriguing. It smoothly intercuts scenes from the past and the present. The film benefits from not giving us a timeframe for each incident. Only at the conclusion does it reveal which is which. With this strategy, one naturally questions why specific personalities and events are introduced before being set aside for a while.
However, if you have the patience to put up with a little bit of wandering behavior, you'll find the movie satisfying. The superb eight-episode series El Inocente (The Innocent, 2021) by suspenseful Spanish director Oriol Paulo accomplished something similar a long back.
Even while Antakshari doesn't have the same precise format, it uses an introduce-ignore-reintroduce format to keep things interesting. Before moving on to the next character and then the next, the author gives you enough time to become fully immersed in the world of the previous character before laying up the main puzzle and leaving us to figure out how everything comes together until the last scene.
Das is a decent, Antakshari-loving circle inspector, and Saiju Kurup is a good choice for the role. One of his seniors believes that his parents gave him that name because they anticipated that he would develop into another Yesudas. He enjoys singing, which is why some have dubbed him "The Singing Policeman" or something like that, although he is not a ganagandharvan.
Das, though, would subsequently demonstrate on multiple times that he is not a softie. Das feels uneasy when he receives a call from an unknown caller, letting him know that he also enjoys antakshari. The film maintains the unsettling pace it had just started with from this phone conversation, which comes only minutes after Das' debut. Up to the conclusion, it manages to maintain it and amp it up as needed.
His more humorous and serious sides are best utilized in the movie. It demonstrates that Saiju can become a fantastic leading guy with the right material. As Das' better half, who is prone to stuttering when fear strikes her, Priyanka Nair is effective. A major portion of the movie is devoted to Kottayam Ramesh's portrayal of a disgusting, bigoted officer who ought to have been fired from the job long ago but has persisted. The character of Sudhi Koppa is a recently hired cop who finally joins Das's side. Ganesh Kumar was to Commissioner what Sudhi is to Antakshari.
When it's all said and done, the characters' horrific and oppressive conditions have a greater impact than the shocking conclusion, even if Antakshari has enough spine-tingling moments to get it on the Top 10 lists. The movie keeps some things implied while being plain when it has to be. The latter method creates room for conversations.
Thus, I preferred this strategy. (Antakshari does both tasks admirably, unlike the recent SonyLIV film Salute. I was able to see why certain things were kept silent. Ultimately, everything is clear.) Antakshari will undoubtedly be discussed in the upcoming weeks; I'm certain of it.
Not only did Antakshari bring to mind the gruesome flashback-filled Malayalam thrillers from the 1980s, but it also brought to mind a few of the most enduring serial killer horror films from contemporary Korean cinema. When Antakshari reveals the past-based events that led to particular individuals acting the way they do today, that's when the story is most unsettling. (Sex violence trigger advised.) The decision to release directly on OTT makes sense.
Antakshari might be better suited for home watching than for theaters due to the intensity of its subject matter. Not that I have anything against the latter, but today, when individuals buy tickets to an A-rated movie without reading the certificate and then complain that the movie isn't family-friendly, the OTT release is the smarter choice.
The funniest thing is that. Many are criticizing the substance of A-rated direct-to-OTT films without looking at the certificate.)
My favorite part of Antakshari is a protracted, spooky scene in which Das wanders into the woods at night, equipped only with a torchlight, in an effort to track down the murderer. The bad guy wants to play Antakshari first, but I won't give anything away.
He acted like a ghost, with his voice coming from different locations and at various volumes. Once the movie ended, I wondered if I could ever listen to the classic tunes the bad guy sang without picturing him. That'll be hard to do, I'm sure. I'm relieved that I have neither owned nor sold a motorcycle nor can I envision myself purchasing one now after viewing Antakshari.
In the movie a number of plot lines and characters create suspense and captivate interest of the viewers. Also, there were other unresolved subplots, such as the criminal who smuggles marijuana or the girl who acts foolish, the ambitious young guitarist, his mother, and her second husband.
With a few passages cut and a racy narrative, Antakshari might have become a popular song. If you enjoy Malayalam thrillers, you shouldn't miss this movie because it has several interesting elements.