Ananthabhadram Cast & Crew :
Cast : Prithviraj, Biju Menon, Kalabhavan Mani, Kavya Madhavan, Nedumudi Venu, Riya Sen
Ananthabhadram Music Director : Radhakrishnan
Director : Santhosh Sivan
Ananthabhadram Producer : :Sree Bhadra Pictures
Lyrics : Gireesh Puthenchery
“Ananthabhadram” is the first Malayalam film by celebrated cinematographer-director Santosh Sivan. Naturally, this venture was much hyped and awaited. But does it meet the expectations of the viewer? The answer cannot be given in a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
First things first: Sivan needs to congratulated on his audacity in choosing a tricky subject for his maiden venture in his mother tongue. It is the execution that leaves much to be desired.
It is a known fact by now that the story of “Ananthabhadram” has fairytale elements that we found in the stories narrated by grannies in our childhood. The basic premise of this film is a love story peppered with heady stuff such as black magic, snake gods and the transmigration of the human soul into different bodies. It seems that Sivan has tried to take the brand of ‘God’s Own Country’ into the realm of exoticism with this film.
The story has ample clichés the Malayali audience is familiar with: a progeny of an estranged daughter of the ‘tharavadu’ returning from a far-off land to find his roots and falling for a cousin in the native land. So far so good, the familiarity of the theme brings in a level of comfort. But what ensues after the initial ease may leave you flabbergasted: an enemy of the ‘tharavadu’ bent on destroying it by performing black magic and gaining supernatural powers through it.
It will be futile to dwell further on the storyline. On the positive side, the pace of the narration saves this film with a lopsided theme. The director does not give us an opportunity to think about the happenings as long as we are in the darkened theatre. One just wishes that the story by Sunil Parameswaran had some rational moorings.
The actors will be the other reason if the film becomes a success at the box office. Prithviraj does a credible job as the protagonist of the film. His character Anand is somewhat similar to that of Manu, which he played in Ranjith’s “Nandanam” in the beginning of his career. But he has brought in subtleties into this performance, which shows his calibre as an actor.
Another highlight is the performance of Manoj K. Jayan, already touted as his career-best. His theatrical portrayal of villainous Digambar may fetch him a couple of awards though there are some chinks in his characterisation.
The female lot is not as lucky. Kavya Madhavan is just her typical self. She has nothing exceptional to do. Riya Sen is also used for filling the requisite oomph quotient.
From a Sivan film, we expect at least some kind of technical flourish. Disappointingly, this film lacks in this department, too.
“Ananthabhadram” was initially planned as the directorial debut of art director Sabu Cyril, who backed out at the last moment. One wonders how he would have tackled this subject.