Anweshippin Kandethum review: The makers of this Tovino Thomas’ crime drama seemed entirely confident with the material in hand despite its experimental format, and fortunately it works
Anweshippin Kandethum story: Rookie sub inspector Anand Narayanan and his team get suspended after their investigation in a woman missing case leads to disastrous consequences for all involved. Months later, they are assigned a cold case, which is also their shot at redemption. But will the burden of their previous investigation weigh them down or have they learnt enough to see through their pursuit of justice?
Anweshippin Kandethum review: The Malayalam film industry has always had a knack for coming up with some of the best crime dramas. From KG George’s Yavanika and Mohan’s Mukham to Martin Prakkat’s Nayattu, the scriptwriters and the directors in the industry have consistently managed to evolve the genre. In that sense, debutant director Darwin Kuriakose and scriptwriter Jinu V Abraham’s Anweshippin Kandethum is another worthy addition to this list. The film focuses on two investigations, doesn’t fall prey to ‘mass’ sequences and yet maintains to hold your interest with some riveting and smart storytelling and performances.
Unlike a lot of crime dramas, Jinu has scripted the movie as two totally different halves dealing with two investigations, but connect them with the flawed system of law empowerment, the central character and his relentless pursuit for justice. In most cases, such format would often give rise to comparisons within the movie like what if the first half was better than the second or vice versa, and that poses a risk. The makers, however, seemed entirely confident with the material in hand, and fortunately it works.
A major reason for this is Tovino Thomas’ Anand Narayanan, a rookie cop who has to bear the brunt of a failure despite his noble intentions. Though the makers hardly reveal anything about the character’s backdrop (all they do is show a bit of how he joined the force and goes about his work in the opening credits), his desire to do good and ensure that justice prevails, make the audience root for the character. His ingenious methods, considering the film is set in the 90s where police couldn’t bank on technology and had to at most lean on forensic science, add to the excitement in each of the two cases.
Also, the second half of the script, where the characters get a shot at redemption, also works partly because it’s set in an area where the people refuse to cooperate and the police team is powerless. There’s some good old-fashioned police work that’s involved, which again keeps the audience engaged. If there’s a grouse, it’s also in the second half, where you would expect Anand and his team to expedite the proceedings.
The movie also has several layers and it comes through its police characters – be it Anand, who starts off as the idealistic type but ends up losing respect for the system, or his two kinds of superiors – one who uses his power to bend the system and another who believes in honesty and second chances. Jinu also deserves credit for the endings of the two halves – where poetic justice is denied (or delayed) for its characters.
There’s probably no other young Malayalam actor who plays the conflicted phases of a character better than Tovino. Sub inspector Anand starts off as a man confident in his ways, but when his ideas are struck down and his authority undermined, Tovino’s effortlessly makes you see his character cracking – sometimes even feeling for those wrongly accused. There’s a sense of cockiness in the first case when he does nail the culprit, but this doesn’t last long. And in the second case, you see a more mature cop – someone who has learnt the trick of handling his subordinates and also those who oppose him, without entirely relying on the authority of the uniform.
The film has a host of relative newcomers in pivotal roles, and they add a lot to their characters. But the team also has tried to break stereotypes by casting veteran actors such as Indrans, Kottayam Nazeer, Shami Thilakan, Baburaj, Madhupal and Pramod Veliyanad in different roles – keeping it fresh. Gautham Sankar’s clutter-free frames maintain the 90s aesthetic, while Santhosh Narayanan’s music infuses the energy whenever the film requires. Saiju Sreedharan’s cuts keep the film, especially the first half, and the third act moving at the perfect pace.
Anweshippin Kandethum verdict: This crime drama is a worthy addition to the genre. A clever screenplay and brilliant performances will keep you engaged for the majority of its runtime spanning 2 hours and 25 minutes.