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Critics Review
Grahanam review: A brave attempt at a thriller which ultimately becomes unnecessarily convoluted

1.5
Ryan Gomez
Jun 28, 2021
 
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What is it about:

Grahanam at its core is a thriller that focuses on newlyweds settled in Singapore. The wife begins to have unexplained psychotic episodes and the husband embarks on a mission to solve the mystery. The narrative hints at a metaphysical thriller revolving around the idea of the ‘blood-moon’ and grahanam meaning eclipse and how it affects the psyche of a human being. However, the movie attempts to include a number of themes and subplots. Grahanam also marks the feature film debut for director and writer Anand Paga, his wife Devika Sivan as the female lead and Gibu George as the male lead.

What’s hot:

A lot of credit has to be given for this project as it was made from scratch with an inexperienced cast and crew. The supporting characters Chinchu and Sooraj added humour in an otherwise serious script. They were also the best performances in the film. The cinematography is commendable considering the relative lack of funds for the project. The framing of some of the shots for tense situations were excellently done. Given the current circumstances with regards to the global pandemic, which has indefinitely delayed relatively low-budget projects, the producers of this film deserve immense praise for finding a platform for its release.

What’s not:

The film tries to be too many things at once and ultimately fails at all of them. The opening 20 minutes of the film resembled the often pretentious wedding photo-ops in Kerala, with montages of the newlyweds containing songs every five minutes. When the script does eventually present intrigue leaning into sci-fi with the research about the ‘blood-moon’, it pulls the handbrake and does a 180 degree turn and subverts the audience into believing that the film is actually a psychological-thriller. This does not last long either, yet again without warning it becomes a political-thriller. It continues to shift and change until the very final scene of the movie. Genre bending is a common narrative technique used in many films across the globe, this however was not it – Grahanam is the by-product of a weak script. The performances by the cast barring a few exceptions were underwhelming and the screenplay was forced with dialogues lacking any kind of depth. It relies on the shock-and-awe factor to keep the audience invested in the characters and by the end of the film even the shock factor becomes stale.

Verdict

The ambition and scope that the filmmakers envisioned is commendable. The basic concept of the film is no worse than many big budget Indian releases starring big names. Grahanam unfortunately belongs to an industry that has moved on from the shambles of the early 2000s and which is currently one of the best in the country where the benchmark has risen considerably.

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