When Kahaani released two years back it won many hearts with its taut script and stellar performances. It was an unexpected sort of plot that was carried solely on Vidya Balan’s able shoulders. Anaamika is Sekhar Kammula’s attempt to recreate that success story; but it is not a blatant copy or a remake. What Kammula does is he gives the story his own spin.

Anaamika (Nayantara), an ethical hacker from the US, lands in the city to head straight to the police station to file a missing complaint. Her husband Ajay Shastry, played by Harshvardhan Rane, who’d been sent to Hyderabad on deputation has been missing for over a week and all Anaamika wants to do is find him as soon as possible and at all costs – even if that means dealing with lecherous cops and living in a shady, cockroach-infested hotel room in Old City.

Her first visit to the local police station comes as a rude shock as the lackadaisical cops don’t take her complaint seriously and dismiss the entire incident as a usual case of an unfaithful husband. Finally she finds an aide in Parthasarathi (Vaibhav) who goes out of his way to help her follow clues about Ajay. But where Parambrata Chatterjee followed Vidya Balan’s lead during the course of their investigation in Kahaani, Vaibhav seems to take charge of finding Ajay in Anaamika, while Nayantara plays her cards well as the damsel in distress.

As Anaamika’s search for her missing husband progresses she has to deal with several roadblocks like the lecherous senior cop Ravi Chandra, played by Vinay Varma, an assassin sent to kill her and an overbearing anti-terrorism squad officer Khan (Pasupathy). Things come to a head when Anaamika gets a hold of that all-important hard disk that everyone including the terrorists and the home minister is after. Why the home minister is so keen to have it though is never explained.

While Anaamika is an adaptation of the Hindi thriller, one can’t help but draw parallels between the two. The plot just doesn’t seem as gritty and taut as Kahaani. Even the assassin Bob fails to raise goosebumps unlike his creepy counterpart in the Hindi version. Yet the film has its moments. Sekhar for instance, refuses to draw sympathy votes by showing the protagonist as a pregnant woman. For him Anaamika is just a strong-willed woman out to find her husband at all costs.

While in the first half Nayantara as the simpering wife might not evoke the same kind of reaction Vidya might have in the Hindi version, she comes into her own in the second half of the movie when the plot thickens. Harshvardhan Rane doesn’t have much to do in the film. Vaibhav as the sincere Sarathi does a good job, while Vinay Varma does manage to raise hackles as the lecherous cop with the roving eye. Parthasarathy carries off the role of Khan with élan.

Cast: Nayantara, Vaibhav, Pasupathy

Director: Sekhar Kammula

Genre: Thriller

Plot: A woman’s search for her missing husband

Bottomline: Watchable if you don’t draw parallels with the original