‘anando brahma’, the hyped horror comedy with a difference, hits screens today. here is our review.
taapse pannu, his grandfather, a boy, and their maid (played by raghu karamanchi) inhabit an old-style house called lakshmi nilayam that reeks of a desolate look. they meet some ghosts in the house.
The first twist of the film comes very early on when we are told that the aforementioned inhabitants are the real ghosts, who realize in despair that they are actually dead. The house gains notoriety for being haunted, so its owner (Rajeev Kanakala) has a hard time selling it for a fair price.
A middle-class man (srinivas reddy), in dire need of money, sees an opportunity. he convinces the owner that he will stay in the house for one night and prove to the world that there are no ghosts there, all in exchange for a share.
He is joined by Vennela Kishore, Shakalaka Shankar, and Tagubothu Ramesh, all of whom have their own disabilities or quirks, and all of whom are in dire need of money to get out of their dire situations.
But all is not well in the house, and indeed it is a dangerous place to live. how do the four deal with ghosts? why were they meant to be in the place? what are ghosts looking for? the answers to these are found in the second half.
Prior to the film’s release, the filmmakers cast one character’s night blindness, another character’s heart weakness, another character’s split personality behavior more as their usp. it’s in the parts where there’s a strange clash between these outliers and the largely benign ghosts that the horror-comedy assumes its proper form.
if vennela kishore tickles the funny bone with her fantastic sense of comedy (complete with those double entendre dialogues she inadvertently delivers), shakalaka shankar is made to fool everyone from pawan kalyan, balakrishna and vikram! until ka paul! Srinivas Reddy’s tense moments with drunken Tagubothu Ramesh’s reckless behavior, not to mention his situation having to witness Vennela Kishore’s calm in the face of perceived danger from ghosts, is downright hilarious.
However, the laughs don’t last long in this 123-minute film. the second half is pure delight in general, while the first half fails to overcome some clichés. given the characters and their peculiar circumstances, the comedy quotient should have been higher from the start.
taapsee, who was expected to be an important character, disappears for a good amount of time. what is the state of mind of her and her fellow ghosts, who share a traumatic present, is not adequately told. Of course, the writer and director (mahi v raghava) stays away from the routine representation of spirits. Of course, he introduces four ghosts that come with his sentimentality. Sure, ghosts aren’t violently restless. but, time and time again, his emotional turmoil becomes a mere footnote.
When the moment of climax arrives, we are invited to a primitive crime scene. the way the harrowing crime was told, it would have spelled disaster if it wasn’t a horror comedy.
perhaps playing gallery on purpose, mahi doesn’t give some basic lessons. the explosion of the interval is suffered without mercy. what was the point of that parody of ‘baahubali’? just because the characters taking on the grand ghost challenge are comedians, should they be shown taking the oath by doing a skit? why strip the characters of their sentimental value, as if they forgot about taapsee & co was not enough?
somewhere in the second half, srinivas reddy explains the difference between ‘badha’ (agony) and ‘bhayam’ (fear) through a funny analogy. if he had explained it in serious jargon, his situation would have enjoyed even more sympathy from the audience.
vennela kishore and shankar are the best comedians in the film while srinivas comes in third place. Taapsee does a good job of supporting the humble horror comedy at a time when his career is going strong in Bollywood. she deserves recognition for this reason alone, if for nothing else. rajeev kanakala has an extended role and he’s doing well. prabhas sreenu and vidyullekha raman are good. tanikella bharani is fine while raghu karamanchi puts on another fine act after ‘shamantakamani’. the old man is nice and the girl is cute.
k’s background music is adequate, while the cinematography could have been better.
‘anando brahma’ stands out in the parts where the counterintuitive element of humans driving away ghosts comes to light. good performances from him also make him a decent artist. the first half could have been so much better on the comedy front.