Review: Anukoni Athidhi

‘Anukoni Athidhi’, which is the dubbed version of a 2019 Malayalam movie, is now streaming on Aha. Let’s find out what works and what doesn’t in the psychological thriller. 

MK Nanda, played by Fahadh Faasil, is an expert sent by the Trivandrum Medical college to inspect a shady mental asylum operated by a self-styled psychiatrist named Dr Benjamin (Atul Kulkarni, the Bollywood actor). There are all of six inmates there and each of them has been suppressed in different ways. Nanda knows that the asylum is helmed by dangerous people. 

He is determined to redeem Ntihya (Sai Pallavi), who is apparently being given special treatment by Dr. Benjamin. In reality, she has been ill-treated. What is Benjamin’s ulterior agenda? Why is Nanda interested in Nithya’s salvation? Can he manage to save her?

The film is blessed with some of the best acting resources. Fahadh Faasil is a fine actor and his warm looks perfectly suit the role of a concerned, loving doctor. Sai Pallavi, who has played chirpy roles in films like ‘Fidaa’ and ‘MCA’, plays an autistic girl with a dark past. She makes do with a few lines. A huge complaint is about Atul Kulkarni, who is cliched and even mildly frustrating with his routine antics. Otherwise a talented actor, he falls flat here. 

Surabhi Lakshmi, Vijay Menon, Leona Lishoy, Leena, Renji Panicker and others do a good job.

Technical Departments:
PS Jayahari’s songs are ill at ease with the film. On the other hand, Ghibran’s BGM is able. Anu Moothedath’s visuals capture the countryside of Kerala with elan. 
Mollywood films, especially those belonging to the ‘hatke’ genres, have tried to push the envelope and raise the bar on the technical front. This film follows in the footsteps of some acclaimed and technically well-done movies. 

A lot of even “good” Malayalam movies are quite slow-paced. When ‘Athiran’, the Malayalam version of ‘Anukoni Athidhi’, hit the cinemas, several social media comments said that they enjoyed understanding the movie after it was over but couldn’t survive it while watching. The post-show fun was because of the nature of the twist that comes in the climax. 

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that ‘Anukoni Athidhi’ is bad, boring and superb at the same time. The hero-villain scenes are bad because they are outdated and packed with logical flaws. The villain knows hypnotism and even though his time is running out from Day 1, he waits till the climax to unleash his dangerous powers. 
The flashback episodes and the tracks featuring several residents (not necessarily patients) at the mental asylum are a tad boring. They lack finesse, they don’t care to keep the audience engaged. 

The climax is superb despite the fact that Prakash Raj (dubbed for by someone else) enters the screen out of nowhere. The twist is gripping. 

Sai Pallavi’s Kalari stunts are impressive. The talented actress received critical acclaim from Mollywood critics when the original came out in theatres. 

Actor Tarun of ‘Nuvve Kavali’ fame has dubbed for Fahadh Faasil and it takes some time for his voice to seem organic. We badly need a new set of dubbing artists and one hopes the likes of Tarun are going to offer some reprieve. 

Watch ‘Anukoni Athidhi’ for its enticing storyline and twist in the climax. Its performances are impressive. But be prepared for its boring screenplay for the most part. At 130 minutes, it’s overlong. 

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