Kerala

Indeed one of Malayalam’s better thrillers in recent times

Kunchacko Boban plays a psychologist in Ancham Pathira

Kunchacko Boban plays a psychologist in Ancham Pathira  

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Film retains a realistic feel, which is enough to send chills down the spine

One often tends to associate some filmmakers with a particular kind of films that when they deviate slightly from their preferred route, it comes as a pleasant surprise. The shift taken by Midhun Manuel Thomas with Anjaam Pathira, woven around a serial killer on the loose, is much more drastic compared to the light-hearted, often goofy stuff he has been making till now.

The movie begins with a sequence reminiscent of the recent television series Mind Hunter, in which psychologists working for the FBI interview serial killers to study their thought process, to make use of the knowledge in future cases. Here we have Anwar Hussain (Kunchacko Boban), a consultant psychologist with the police department, interviewing a serial killer, who talks about killing with the only motive of enjoying the ‘ecstasy’ derived from the act. Soon, Hussain is called on to use some of his learnings, as a police officer gets kidnapped and murdered in a peculiarly gruesome manner. But, the killer, right from the beginning, seems to have a motive.

Midhun Manuel, who has also written the script, uses the usual serial killer tropes, like the similar pattern of the killings or the killer leaving behind a sculpture of lady justice without the blindfold at the crime scene. On the surface, it might seem like some other serial killer movies but what stands out here is the treatment given to that material. Amid all the eeriness of the atmosphere created by Sushin’s background score and Shyju Khalid’s night photography, the film retains a realistic feel, which is enough to send chills down your spine.

Well-crafted script

Midhun Manuel seems much more in control here, compared to the comic capers he has helmed in the past. The thickly packed script hardly ever deviates from the pursuit of the serial killer, with Hussain’s helplessness at being unable to track down the killer and hitting one dead end after another, afflicting us too. The slow unravelling of the motives is bound to put the audience in a spot, which is the sign of a well-crafted script.

Unnimaya Prasad, as a tough cop almost wilting under pressure, and Sreenath Bhasi, as a young hacker who is pursuing all leads to take revenge on a better hacker who hurt his ego, puts up good performances. Anjaam Pathira is one of the better thrillers in Malayalam in recent times.

S.R. Praveen

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 1:05:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/indeed-one-of-malayalams-better-thrillers-in-recent-times/article30545932.ece

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