Director: Ravi K. Chandran
Cast: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Unni Mukundan, Mamta Mohandas, Raashi Khanna, Shankar Panicker
If film remakes come too early, they crash. The 2018 Andhadhun, headlined by Ayushmann Khurrana, and written/helmed by Sriram Raghavan, was interesting. The plot about a blind pianist and how he walks into a murder and illegal organ trade had something to say, and the climax was a huge hit – though some may have missed it. A few weeks ago, we had Maestro in Telugu (reviewed in these columns), helmed by Merlapaka Gandhi with Nithiin essaying the protagonist, which was a copy of Raghavan’s movie. Maestro did not work for me, as it may not have for those who had watched Andhadhun. Many might have done so, given the fact that movies on OTT platforms now come with subtitles, which means that you do not have to know Hindi or Telugu to get a feel of the film.
In what is certainly an overkill, we now have a Malayalam edition of the Hindi work. Called Bhramam (Mirage), it may be not an exact frame-by-frame copy of Raghavan’s creation, but is pretty much the same, give and take director Ravi K. Chandran’s attempt at juggling with the narrative. Does this work? No, not at all – at least for those who would have watched Andhadhun/Maestro. For one, Khurrana was superb as the blind pianist, and so was Tabu, as a woman who is married to a much older man – a faded star – and flips for a young cop.
However, unlike Maestro where there was nothing much to talk about the performances, Malayalam actor Prithviraj Sukumaran’s Ray Mathews — who reprises the role essayed by Khurrana – is compelling as a pianist sucked into a heinous crime like murder, committed by a police Chief Inspector (Unni Mukundan’s Abhinav Menon). He is having an affair with the wife, Simi (Mamta Mohandas), of yesteryear celebrity, Uday Kumar (Shankar Panicker). When Uday walks into his own house and catches his wife with the cop, he uses his service revolver. It is at this moment that Ray arrives at Uday’s flat to give a private piano concert, and since he is blind, Simi and Uday take little note of him while they bundle Uday’s body into a suitcase.
Mamta is no Tabu, who acted as the celebrity’s wife in Andhadun, but yes Raashi Khanna (who is Anna, Ray’s girlfriend) stands out, and I felt that she was several notches better than Radhika Apte in Andhadhun. Raashi is expressive and offers a very nuanced piece of acting. But for her and Prithviraj, Bhramam, could have been a crashing bore.
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