Review By : Movie Run Time : 2 hours 15 minutes Censor Rating : U

Production: Century Investments Cast: Fahadh Faasil, Sai Pallavi Direction: Vivek Screenplay: PF Mathews Story: Vivek Music: P. S. Jayahari Background score: Ghibran Cinematography: Anu Moothedath

Athiran, directed by Vivek and written by P.F Mathews (scenarist of the poignant tragicomedy Ee. Ma. Yau) positions it's protagonist M.K Nair (played by Fahadh Faasil) as a man possessing a sleuth-like job description who thinks a few steps ahead of the rest. The film's opening stretch feels like a nod to Martin Scorcese's Shutter Island, where a brown-coated outsider comes to investigate a mansion-like hospital. These initial glimpses of promise somehow leads to a middling payoff as we see an atmospheric psychological drama slowly ascend into an unconvincing mystery.

Set in the early seventies, Athiran follows the story of M.K Nair (played by Fahadh Faasil) a psychiatrist who visits a psychiatric asylum run by Benjamin Diaz (Atul Kulkarni, channeling his inner Ben Kingsley throughout the film), a pseudo-scientific physician. Athiran starts off on a promising note, as we consistently get to see some really inventive cinematic touches.

One of the standout examples includes the scene where M.K meets the jailed patient Nithya (played by Sai Pallavi), where the shot enters through the grille of the doors and moves into the sparsely lit cell. There are more such instances of flashy filmmaking in the first half where the swooping camerawork lends an eerie atmosphere to the film.

The first half even establishes some characters with quirky touches. One person is obsessed with the word 'Schadenfreude' and there is a painter who can predict the future through his drawings. And sometimes, we find them to be more interesting than the lead characters, there is a certain air of mystery towards them that feels underutilized.

Athiran's first half works, mainly because of the stylized filmmaking that we get to see during the portions involving M.K, although the narrative is interrupted with a flashback that could not match up to the finesse of the former. The film manages to create a spooky mood within the confines of the maze-like nuthouse.

The film, however, tends to go on the downside in the second half, where the flashback and a budding romance between M.K and Nithya take more screentime. The film starts to lack the imagination that was displayed in the first half. The pace gets more retarded by the presence of needless fillers like songs and a love triangle that isn't engaging.

As we evade through the layers of lazy action-drama tropes, the film throws a completely generic twist at the end, which feels logical within the film's grand scheme of things, but there is less surprise in it. Fahadh Faasil manages to carry the film on his shoulders with his understated yet commanding performance. Athiran had the makings of a tightly made whodunnit, but the film suffers from an unfocused, less-engaging second half.


Verdict: Fahadh's performance and a brilliant first half make 'Athiran' a watchable thriller.


2.5 5 ( 2.5 / 5.0 )





Athiran (aka) Aathiran

Athiran (aka) Aathiran is a Malayalam movie. Fahadh Faasil, Sai Pallavi are part of the cast of Athiran (aka) Aathiran. The movie is directed by Vivek. Music is by P. S. Jayahari. Production by Century Investments, cinematography by Anu Moothedath.