Festa #2.1 – Halloween Special – Anandhabhadram

And here we are at the first post with the Halloween Special! And what movie did I decide to start with? It’s none other than the Malayalam film – Anandhabhadram.

And why did it make the cut?

Read on to find out!

Promotional poster

Title : Anandhabhadram (which loosely translates to Infinitely protected )

Country of origin : India

Language : Malayalam

Directed by : Santhosh Sivan

Written by : Sunil Parameshwar

Based on : Anandhabhadram by Sunil Parameshwar

Starring : Prithiviraj, Kavya Madhavan, Manoj K Jayan, Kalabhavan Mani, Riya Sen, Biju Menon, Revathy, Cochin Haneefa

Music : M G Radhakrishnan

Cinematography : Santhosh Sivan

Released : 4 November 2005

Duration : 130 minutes

Genre : Psychological, Dark Fantasy

Prithiviraj as Ananthan

The story starts at a point where a young Ananthan listens to his mother (Revathy) tell him takes about their family who are know to be having magical powers. They are the protectors of the ‘Nagamanikyam’ a jewel that sits atop The head of a serpent. The jewel is protected in a secret place surrounded by snakes including a small snake called ‘Kunjootan’.

Years later, Ananthan travels to his hometown to light a lamp in the Sivakavu, an ancient temple for the God Siva. Although he is opposed by the people there for doing it due to superstition, he does so and is pulled into the world of the supernatural.

There he meets Bhadra (Kavya Madhavan) with whom he starts an antagonistic relationship but soon happens to have a romantic involvement. But things are complicated not just for Ananthan but Bhadra too as she must choose whether to accept his love, or continue the age old traditions to become the goddess of the village.

But where lies the creepiness at this film you may think? Well that’s mostly in these two characters that I’m about to mention now, which are –

Chemban (Kalabhavan Mani) a blind martial artist who literally creeps you out to the core . If chemban doesn’t creep you out enough then, Digambaran (Manoj K Jayan) will definitely creep you out.

A black magician, he uses a huge assortment of spells and methods to achieve his goal – to get the serpentine stone, amongst other things. The villagers think he’s a gifted person, but the story unravels to Ananthan, who gets captured in the pyschological grasp of the supernatural, free himself from it, and reveal Digambaran’s true face, and protect the Nagamanikyam.

Finding it hard to wrap your mind around the mystical world of this movie?

The plot is definitely one of the most unique and deep rooted ones as far dark fantasy supernatural thrillers are concerned. What starts as simple, light and albeit comedic turns out to be sinister in so many ways.

Be it the fact that Ananthan seems to be losing himself into this supernatural world, or the fact that there are ancient rituals destined for Bhadra to become goddess, not out of her free will, or a blind martial arts warrior who stands against the evil, but charismatic performance of Digambaran.

Coming to character portrayals although the story is revving around Ananthan, the definite show stealer was Digambaran. Manoj K Jayan gave a splendid performance on that note, he drives his character from sinister, to a martial arts expert, to taunting, to performing gracefully in traditional art forms as he conjures up his dark magic for his deeds and crimes.

The movie brinks carefully between the ordinary and the supernatural,what with characters like Chemban and Digambaran and other more normal characters like the police officers who do not know on what grounds, they must register a case.

Although it wasn’t a stellar performance as displayed by Chemban or Digambaran, the chemistry between Bhadra and Ananthan was one of the highlights. Especially the song sequence Pinakkamano Ennodinakamo (pinakkam – refers to a lovers quarrel, and innakam means compatibility, so basically the song is about whether it’s either of the two). This video portrays Kavya Madhavan in many famous stances from famous portraits with Prithiviraj intervening and developing the music video sequence.

And if you really need to get a feel on Digambaran, this music video Thira Nurayum Churul Mudiyum will really get you to understand.

Now as complex and tightly knit as this story is, it wasn’t shot perhaps in the best possible way, or with the best finesse,but with the available resources this qualifies to be a good film,and a unique marking point for dark magic films in the Malayalam film industry.

The horror level may not be a lot, but the creep levels are definitely up in levels for me especially if you’re a scaredy cat like me!

If you’ve watched this movie before let me know what you felt in the comments below! Or if you haven’t watched, feel free to ask about it!

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