‘Marma Desam,’ which had many glued to the box, revealed director Naga’s obsession for the occult. Later, Origami became a household name when ‘Chidambara Rahasiyam’ was aired and established Naga’s penchant for the recondite. Now again mystique is the mainstay of ‘Anandapurathu Veedu’ (‘APV’) – Naga’s first outing on the big screen, which holds your interest. By securing ‘U’ certification for a supernatural thriller, Naga proves that the genre can be handled without any blood and gore. Unnaturalness is the subject here, not horror. In its own quiet way ‘APV’ has been kindling interest even before its release, primarily because it is backed by S Pictures and secondly because it is a Naga product.

When Bala (Nanda) drives down to his country home with wife Revathi (Chaya Singh) and son Anand you assume it’s the family’s holiday trip, and gear up for the eeriness in his deserted ancestral home. (The house and its ambience are captivating.)The real reason comes out a little later and from then on it’s a two-pronged attack that Bala faces …

Here is a hero, who time and again, comes up with competent, underplayed performances that should have catapulted him to great heights by now. After acting as a schemer with a soft façade in ‘Eeram,’ Nanda returns to play the responsible father, loving husband and vulnerable businessman of ‘APV’ and once again does a neat job of it.

After a lull Chaya Singh emerges in a substantial role that suits her. The choice of actors is by and large flawless. The couple’s son, Anand, played by the young boy Aryan, is a joy to watch. Without much ado, new villain Meghavarna Pant scares you with his massive build and menacing demeanour. The voice (Mohanram?) that has dubbed for him has done commendable job. But Krishna, as Nanda’s friend Jeeva, could have used the opportunity better.

The obvious glitches in ‘APV’ are puzzling because you don’t expect them from a director of Naga’s calibre. The dirt-filled, dusty house turns spick and span in a jiffy right in front of the caretaker, Kalairani’s eyes. But strangely she doesn’t seem shocked by the act. Neither does she tell Bala about it when he comes to his home after 15 years and is intrigued by the mysterious phenomenon! Bala is kept under house arrest by his debtors who watch his every movement. So it’s enigmatic when he goes freely out looking for an exorcist, without any problem from the thugs at the gate!

The visual effects department has worked overtime. Once you realise that the ghosts are around only to help, it becomes graphics gimmickry that children may enjoy (that answers the ‘U’), mainly because the end is on guessable lines.

Ghosts and ghost busters aren’t new to us -- you’ve watched friendly and funny spirits in several Hollywood flicks, and even in Kamal’s ‘Kalyanaraman.’ You don’t see apparitions in ‘APV.’ They are ‘visible’ only through their controlled, warranted action. Actually, Naga needn’t have shown them even in the final count down.

The preternatural element can be handled with class. Naga shows you how. And even if you don’t believe in their existence, who knows, after a trip to ‘Anandapurathu Veedu’ you could begin to wish such spirits exist!