Andhaghaaram - A slow burn thriller that is excruciatingly complex and keeps you fascinated!
Even after an hour into debutant Vignarajan's Andhaghaaram, you have no clue as to what is happening all around. It is purposefully and meticulously structured this way to keep you lost. It is not just that you are not able to make any links upto now but you even wonder it at all they would make any sense later. But you remain invested. You might not have a sense of direction but there is something about the way Vignarajan sets up this dark universe of his that keeps you glued to the proceedings.
The film starts with the German saying - The devil is in the details. This is a film that requires your utmost attention. But on a lighter vein, I was also wondering if all the attention is worth it because I still wasn't able to get a grasp of anything. There are no jump scares (except maybe that one scene involving someone in a wheelchair) and this isn't a film that wants to create an eerie atmosphere. It is rather focussed on building up on the suspense. Simply put, the focus isn't to scare you as much as it is to get you onboard to solve a jigsaw puzzle.
Maybe it was an intentional ploy but key characters speaking in an indiscernible voice makes it extremely difficult to follow the proceedings. And as much as you are invested with the film, there is never that connect you develop with any of the characters. But this again is possibly intentional as the effort seems to be more to create a world with its own set of rules and logic for you to watch from the sidelines rather than get behind any character. The rotary dial telephone, the deserted single screen theatre and the library that is as dark as the film - these are as much a part of Andhaghaaram as its characters are.
The climax reveal and the last few minutes can go either ways. It can be as fascinating as it is silly. Is this all? Did this have to be this complex? You could get these questions. I did too. But then, this too is part of the fun isn't it. I might not have got a certain high that I wanted to experience in the climax after having invested myself for close to 3 hours. But this is one of those films that makes you realise that the very fact that you are willing to suspend disbelief and be glued to your screen for this long is a high by itself. Kept wondering if the impact could have been all the more higher had it released on the big screen.
Emotional connect and a sucker punch are two things that I missed in Andhaghaaram. But this is one of those meticulously created films that warrants your attention.