Anweshippin Kandethum Movie Review: After the success of Abraham Ozler, it is time for another investigative thriller to pave its way into the theatres. Darwin Kuriakose's Anweshippin Kandethum (a title taken from a quote in the Bible) has a surprise, though; there is not one, but two murder mysteries that need to be resolved, and thankfully, both the investigations are quite riveting for most of their parts, and that's also fortunately served without any subplots or needless romantic distractions. Anweshippin Kandethum Review: Tovino Thomas’ Investigative Thriller Is ‘Interesting and Engaging’; Netizens Give Thumbs Up to Darwin Kuriakose Directorial.
The First Mystery of Anweshippin Kandethum
At the start of Anweshippin Kandethum (that's set in the early '90s), we meet this suspended SI Anand Narayanan (Tovino Thomas), who is waiting outside a superior's office, waiting for them to inform on the future of his service. Through a flashback, we learn the circumstances of him being suspended, the circumstances being him investigating a twisted case of a devout teenage girl named Lovely who disappeared just near her house and later was found murdered.
When the progress of his investigation leads to a particular suspect that annoys a local Christian community, his two seniors shunt him from the investigation and try to pin the blame on another suspect, who Anand believes is innocent. Anand unofficially investigates the case and even finds the real culprit, but something happens during the conviction that ends up with him and his three subordinates getting suspended.
Watch the Trailer of Anweshippin Kandethum:
The Second Mystery of Anweshippin Kandethum
That's just the first half of the movie. The second half is the team, wanting to redeem themselves, ends up trying to investigate an even more complicated murder that happened six years back and which the authorities have deemed nearly unsolvable. The rural setups in both the murder mysteries, as well as the time period and how it uses the inhabitants of the villages to create more complexities, are crucial in giving Anweshippin Kandethum, scripted by Jinu Abraham, the kind of edge they needed.
Girish Gangadharan's frames treat the lush greenery of its settings in the same way as any gothic thriller uses the shadowed halls of a castle, where the quaintness is sidelined by the secrets the locales are hiding. Santhosh Narayanan's musical composition contributes significantly to the film, crafting the perfect evocative ambience essential for an investigative thriller of this nature. The investigation portions are engrossing for most of its part, with Tovino Thomas doing a dazzling job with his determined cop act, and drawing us to the intensity of his character's efforts and get behind him in the process.
Rivetting Investigation Drama
Anweshippin Kandethum gives two mysteries at the price of one, both are interesting in terms of setting up the situations and suspects, though both also come with their fair share of problems. Some are so unignorable that they take away a bit of the edge of the film. That said, I felt the first investigation was a tighter affair with more engaging parts. The inclusion of religious strife and Anand's issues with his seniors add absorbing complexities to the mystery, and the scenery gets more thrilling when he takes on the task on his own.
The switcheroo of the suspicion from one main suspect to another did take me back, but using a character we didn't know before as the key to the mystery felt a little underwhelming, and also, the whole reason why the murder happened had the same effect. In fact, if I am not wrong, the answer to the mystery at this point felt similar to one of Mammootty-led CBI movies. Interestingly, the motive of the killer in the second mystery also felt similar to another CBI movie, except that the person in the Mammootty film does it for an even more icky reason. Premalu Movie Review: Naslen and Mamitha Baiju's Sparkling Chemistry Tries Hard to Steer This Erratic Romcom.
Returning to the first mystery, the circumstances that led to the suspension of Anand and his colleagues were also curious, if not completely natural, as it shows even a responsible officer can make a mistake. Even if Anweshippin Kandethum doesn't even set up Anand like someone who could be that callous...
However, the second mystery, while more intricate and confounding on paper, has had a few more loopholes and issues. It is incredible to think that Anand and his team found a crucial clue hidden among the magazines that the victim used to read when it was established that she was an avid reader and three investigating teams before them didn't bother to check there. The comic touch given to Anand's interaction with Baburaj's Panchayat president character felt like it belonged to another movie. The second half of Anweshippin Kandethum also had the opportunity to develop Anand's colleagues better as characters, which they didn't get to have in the first half, but apart from a few casual banter, they mostly around in his background.
The track once again brings the hostilities of the local villagers as a roadblock to the investigation, but apart from the panchayat president's initial antagonism, that is soon forgotten. Also, for once, their anger towards the investigators feels justified, but since Anweshippin Kandethum is shown through the POV of the cops, the locals' fury is handled like an annoying hurdle that is easily overcome. At the same time, mentions of third-degree tortures and psychological traumas that made one suspect die by suicide are swept aside in the heat of solving the mystery.
At least, well, the mystery is tight for most of its part, and the inclusion of veteran actors like Indrans, Harisree Ashokan, Baburaj, Shammi Thilakan, Sadiq, et al. creates enough space for drama. However, while the killer reveal was shocking, Anweshippin Kandethum stumbles again in trying its audience-fooling switcheroo act that makes little sense this time. The inclusion of certain red herrings feels more to trick the viewers rather than as a genuine narrative surprise, which is not exactly the way to go.
Slight SPOILERS here, Anand was told by his empathetic superior (Siddique) to only submit his findings to him, following which the latter would take appropriate action. But for reasons best known to him, Anand puts up a deception show to see if the actual culprit realises they are on to him. Which, in hindsight and beyond, was extremely stupid since it would allow the killer to make the next move beyond their planning, and that's exactly what happens. Definitely an uncharacteristically dumb move that makes little to no sense for a no-nonsense cop like Anand. Sethurama Iyer would not be proud!
Final Thoughts on Anweshippin Kandethum
The dual mysteries in Anweshippin Kandethum render the film a gripping investigative thriller that doesn't bore you for a moment despite encountering issues that a more finely-tuned screenplay could have effortlessly resolved. Tovino Thomas adeptly takes the lead, and the film commendably establishes the complexities inherent in police procedurals even if they appear somewhat one-sided. Nevertheless, certain convenient loopholes and convoluted climactic setups prevent Anweshippin Kandethum from reaching that extra mile to become an extraordinary thriller.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 11, 2024 04:13 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).