Rarely do filmgoers get to watch something original nowadays. Viewers mostly get stuck with tried and tested formulas or experiments that mostly miss the mark. This year started well with Anjaam Pathira, a decent thriller devoid of clichés that stuck to the basics. It was followed by two mega duds from two megastars. But things look bright again after watching the month-end release–Anveshanam. It is an emotional family drama that breaks several patterns but keeps the audience hooked till the very end.
Aravind (Jayasurya), his wife Kavitha (Shruti Balakrishnan) lead a happy life with their two adorable kids—seven-year-old Ashvin and three-year-old Mishka—at an apartment in Kochi. One fateful day, Kavitha rushes to the hospital with her son who is unconscious after falling on the stairs of the apartment. The couple’s friend and neighbour Dr Goutham (Vijay Babu) takes them to the hospital that he works in. As the medical team frantically tries to save the kid, someone makes an anonymous call to the nearest police station claiming that there has been a case of child abuse. Before the police arrive, the child dies.
ACP Latha (Leona Lishoy) and SI Alphonse (Nandu) begin enquiries and they start to get suspicious after preliminary enquiries. As the night progresses, several unanswered questions begin to pop up with suspicion falling on both parents and their friend Goutham. ACP Latha and SI Alphonse tighten their methods as the mystery behind the accident and death slowly unravels.
Director Prasobh Vijayan’s second after 2018’s Lilli is a step or two up in terms of story-telling and visualisation. The story and script by Francis Thomas and co-written by Ranjeeth Kamala Shanker keeps things tight till the end despite some loopholes. The anachronistic narrative holds the audience’s attention as it accentuates the mystery.
This is an emotional story that hurts where it matters without turning into a sob-fest. Vijayan balances the intrigue and emotions well. There are no heroes or villains in this film—just people hit hard by twisted fate.
Though Jayasurya was featured front and centre in all the promotions, he is not the central character. Most of the actors are given almost equal weightage. Each actor has performed their part well. And it would be an understatement to say that Jayasurya played the character well. Shruti Ramachandran is apt as the distraught mother whose world falls apart in a matter of minutes. Leona Lishoy gets to shine most among the ensemble cast as the heavily pregnant ACP who is soft-spoken yet stern and exudes commanding power. Her character reminded vaguely of Frances McDormand’s Marge Gunderson in the Coen Brothers’ Fargo.
Vijay Babu, Lena and Nandu are all good in their respective parts. Sujith Vasudev’s camera work gels well with the narrative. The blue-tinted lighting made the hospital setting realistic. Appu N Bhattathiri should be commended for his editing work. Working with an anachronistic narrative is no cakewalk—it takes meticulous planning and attention to detail. Jakes Bejoy’s background score, dominated by violin and cello pieces, complemented the mood.
Anveshanam is quite an original film, which reminded of works from Korea. The film breaks many conventions; it is sombre, realistic, emotionally gripping and thrilling at the same time. Except for one loose end, the jigsaw falls in place at the end. Here’s hoping that Prasobh and his team produce more works like these in the future.