Recently I saw two movies, not exactly back to back, but in close intervals. Interestingly, both had quite a number of comparable factors/ common denominators.
Firstly, both were suspense thrillers. Both were premised on deception. And last but not the least, both had Tabu in them who played her age with a chilling grace.
Andhadhun, translated literally means Blind Tune, pivots around a character who pretends to be blind. Unexpectedly he becomes the prime witness to consecutive murders. Thereafter, it is simply a life and death chase for him as the partners in crime (yes, there are two) make it their mission to oust him from the face of this earth.
Missing, is again a one night story in a resort where a couple with their baby girl comes to stay. The husband has a roving eye and the wife is too taken up with her child who is sick. Sadly, that very night the baby goes missing. The hapless mother is so berserk with grief that the hotel authority has to call the police. The Investigating Officer is too sharp and experienced to let the manipulating husband with his cock and bull stories befool him. But as he delves deeper into the case alarming facts keep coming to light.
While Andhadhun is a twisty tale, Missing is predictably linear. One does not know what is going to happen next in Andhadhun whereas in Missing one can almost visualise the end. While the former intrigues the latter leaves a pall of negativity which is hard to dissipate.
However, the biggest leap for Hindi Cinema is the narrative based films which are now being released than those which pivoted around either the angry-young-man-type of larger-than-life or the mushy-running-around-the-trees kind of heroes. Both these films are burning examples of the first category. It is a pleasure to watch that all is not simply black and white but the shades of grey, hitherto overlooked, taking centre stage.
In both these films Tabu is on the wrong side of thirty and not at all wary of vices. In Andhadhun she is ruthlessly ambitious, cruel and desperate to the point of no return. In Missing she is a hyper emotional mother extremely concerned about her baby. She essays both the characters with inbred elan. Paired with heroes much younger to her (Ayushman Khurana and Manoj Bajpai, respectively) she rules the roost.
On the flip side, both the movies, seen with practical eyes, border on implausibility. In Andhadhun, a young boy who leads a life of a blind musician just because he feels his blindness can make him more creative is in itself a concept difficult to convince the audience with. In Missing, how can two strangers come together for one night pretending to be as close as married couple is beyond comprehension. More so, when there is no compulsion leading to such an arrangement.
However, both the movies throw up the issue of reality under guise. When we talk of deception reference is drawn towards a situation wherein actuality is under cover. What the protagonist perceives as conscious reality is ‘created circumstances’ to entrap him or her. The falsification comes to light in the climax.
However, Andhadhun’s climactic construct deliberately retains a pall of doubt in the minds of the audience leaving a wide scope for imaginative interpretation. Missing’s end, as I said earlier, is predictable yet draws the curtain on a disturbing unease which does not augur good for the narrative’s construct. A narration which impels the viewer to introspect and tickle the fertile gray cells, I call dynamic.
The audience is compelled to ruminate over the thematic build of the film Andhadhun which circulates in the mind even after the story has drawn to a close. Missing disappoints on this account. In fact, much before the end of the movie, one hopes for it to come to a close soon. More so because any narration which deals with cruelty towards children or animal I am grossly allergic to.
Another thought that strikes me while I write this post concerns the make-up of the films – Missing does not invoke hope while Andhadhun, though founded on whole-sale deception, still provides inklings of something good in the offing. Just a wishful thought yet it is there and that is very important. To raise positivity even if its just a probability makes for a healthy conclusion. After all what viewers need is entertainment which in the long run rests on a magical canvas of hopeful illusions.
To conclude, I dump Missing as pessimistic though Andhadhun, wherein the protagonist falls prey to mishaps, one after the other, is not my cup of tea either. I like slow build-ups which has the capacity to stimulate the intellect. Whereas it is very very debatable to arrive at an inference that the knack to wed misfortune all the time is a reflection of one’s own carmic undoing, the tortuous narrative of Andhadhun seems to indicate quite a number of times that it is. Yet, we, in our eternal folly, resume a connect with ill-fate more out of habit than mere preordainment. It is futile to believe that the film dishes out this powerful message. It does not. It is a one-time watch – a mainstream endeavour to cajole the gullible audience to believe that you can get away with your pretensions and find a way to lead a life of your own choice. A blunder of the first order! If I may say so. Yet, having said that both the stories begin from where they end.
All pics from Google