Anek Movie Review Rating:
Star Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Andrea Kevichüsa, Kumud Mishra, Manoj Pahwa, Mipham Otsal, Loitongbam Dorendra Singh, JD Chakravarthy
Director: Anubhav Sinha
( Photo Credit – Poster from Anek )
What’s Good: It says the right thing but chooses the wrong voice!
What’s Bad: Complicates the chaos, rather than untangling the mess
Loo Break: You’ll want one but the hope of the film getting better won’t allow you to leave
Watch or Not?: If you can welcome slow-burning films that don’t end on a high, go ahead
Available On: Theatrical release
Runtime: 147 Minutes
Set in an unnamed North-Eastern state, Anubhav Sinha’s story introduces us to the two sides of the tale – one led by a militant leader of the state’s largest rebel group Tiger Sanga (Loitongbam Dorendra Singh), and the other (not so much) headlined by an undercover cop Joshua (Ayushmann Khurrana) who plays the tunes of high ranked Indian politicians wanting to sign the peace accord for their own benefits. Somewhere in the middle of these two, there is another active rebel group named ‘Johnson’, members of which start to mess up the mission.
Joshua’s boss Abrar Bhatt (Manoj Pahwa) asks him to control Johnson (which has another twist to it, which I won’t spoil for you) to get Tiger Sanga to sign the peace treaty. Joshua tries to control Johnson by honey-trapping a talented boxer Aido (Andrea Kevichusa) ultimately falling for her. But because this is an action-thriller & not a rom-drama (directed by Anubhav Sinha & not Kabir Khan), the love story slowly fades into asking questions like how “peace never reaches to the people for whom these high-ranking officials are apparently fighting for.”
( Photo Credit – Still from Anek )
Anek Movie Review: Script Analysis
The first thought I had after watching this film was, that Anubhav Sinha has fallen into his own trap. Post some brilliant attempts in Mulk, Article 15, Thappad, it was only time for the ‘law of averages’ to kick in and make things more aware for his upcoming projects. All the above-mentioned films were tackling to one major problem & so does Anek, but the major difference in why those are entertaining films is in the treatment of their subjects. Though how hard-hitting your message is, it won’t hit hard enough if there’s no solid connection between the viewers & the subject.
I totally understand and get the fact that it’s not at all easy to accumulate all this in one story and force-feeds the viewers more than they can digest, but then why not explore the web-series route? Anubhav Sinha, Sima Agarwal & Yash Keswani’s screenplay introduces the issue extremely well but falters when it comes to executing it. The love track between Ayushmann & Andrea, the establishment of the rebel group Johnson, the real issues faced by people of Northeast India, the unseen politics going behind the curtains, Aido living a parallel life fighting for India and against it at the same time and what not? Anubhav Sinha had so much to showcase, but he chose the wrong platform to do so.
Sinha brings back his tried & tested duo (Article 15) of Ewan Mulligan & Yasha Ramchandani for cinematography, and editing respectively but this time things are different. Though Ewan continues to play with the melancholic shades in his camerawork, Yasha gets no scope of crisping things up. Ewan captures the chilling flavour of Northeast India through his drone shots beautifully tearing apart the smoke of clouds.
Anek Movie Review: Star Performance
Donning cargos, zippers and lighting cigarettes, Ayushmann Khurrana’s Joshua looks uber-smart nailing the physical abilities of his character. It’s the mental abilities that fall short due to an extremely convoluted plot. He never gets the film to himself to establish any connection with the viewers. Model from Nagaland Andrea Kevichüsa breaks the debate of region-based representation in the films, acting like a boxer coming from Northeast India. Very similar to Ayushmann’s character, she’s a perfect fit for how well her character performs physically but takes a step back when it comes to acting in a scene that requires drama, and emotions.
Kumud Mishra & Manoj Pahwa own all the ingredients to be these mastermind politicians and manage to create this sinister aura around them throughout the film. Mipham Otsal as Aido’s father Wangnao delivers an earnest performance, demanding to be explored more. Loitongbam Dorendra Singh as Tiger Sanga is a compelling casting and despite the language barrier, he manages to communicate effectively through his actions. JD Chakravarthy gets to be a part couple of important scenes, leaving a great impact and also being another contender of ‘characters having the potential to explode if written properly’.
( Photo Credit – Still from Anek )
Anek Movie Review: Direction, Music
Anubhav Sinha bites off more than he can chew with the route he takes for this subject. ‘Didactic’ would be a mutual keyword you’d find in some detailed reviews regarding this film, but more than that I feel the storytelling gradually turns into a lecture in which you land without much of a backstory to everything happening.
Mangesh Dhakde’s background score exudes ‘chills’ in every literal scene. It goes brutally unnoticed because of the chaos happening on-screen, but I can still hear those typewriter clicks in my mind. Anurag Saikia’s songs are more misses than hits. The title track is lifeless. The farmer’s folk song is a melancholic addition. Oh, Mama! takes you to the world of Bohemian Rhapsody & that’s the only track I took back home.
Anek Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, Anek is not a rotten film at all, it just chose to be in the wrong form on the wrong platform. I still wish Anubhav Sinha to gather the courage (and some more details) to give us a gripping show about the same subject.
Anek releases on 27 May, 2022.
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