Yes, a lot more than what it is! Being the remake of a thriller like ‘Kahaani’, ‘Anaamika’ had to carry a baggage of expectations with it before its release. But if you want to enjoy this film, all we can say is go without any expectations and forget the kahaani of ‘Kahaani’! There’s a reason we are telling you this – the film by Sekhar Kammula is more of an inspiration or an adaptation and it would be unfair to both the movies by calling the latter a remake.
The fact that the director has stepped out of his comfort zone and worked on a film like this – completely different from any of his earlier projects – is a laudable thing. However, we think stepping out of his comfort zone did make him a tad uncomfortable and it is totally evident in how the film has turned out. ‘Anaamika’ is the story of Anaamika (Nayantara) who has arrived in the old city of Hyderabad, in search of her husband Ajay Shastry (Harshavardhan Rane) who has been missing for a few days. Parallel to her search is a terrorist plot that has killed lots of people. How the search and the terrorist attack are related, the film will tell you.
‘Anaamika’ could have been a crackerjack film if it had the right thrills and perfect shrills. But it fails to fascinate or engross the viewer for most of the first half by when the interest to watch the rest of the film wanes. But that’s where the film proves us wrong as the second half begins with a splash and ends with a dash.
While it would have been wise to stick to the original and make a faithful remake, Kammula took the pain to make changes. When we say changes, it’s not one or two but a plethora of them. The end result is a hangover of Kahaani’ in a story that aims to give something else. Probably it was the desire to show a woman in a power packed role or the eagerness to portray woman without any kind of weakness (read pregnancy) that can make people pity her or it could also be the ache to show that every woman can become a Durga when needed, that made the director add many twists and turns to the original plot. So do these twists and turns work? No! Too many turns dilute the story into an uninteresting saga of around 180 minutes. Other than the script, another flaw is the loose ends the film leaves. The mystery factor that begins with the movie doesn’t leave you even after you come out of the theatre because of the lack of justification to various events along the storyline. While the story and screenplay are a disappointment, Sekhar Kammula manages to weave in the right emotional quota that will surely connect with the audiences. He brings in a feel of reality and avoids the filmy feel. However, he underutilised the charm of Hyderabad’s old city like in ‘Kahaani’ which breathtakingly captured the beauty of Kolkata. Keeravani’s background score helps to elevate a few dull scenes and proves to be a big plus to the film.
Kammula’s choice of Nayantara as the film’s lead seemed a right one in the posters but once into the theatre you realise that neither is she able to justify the predicament of Vidya’s character nor is she able express the pain. In the end, she comes out as a caricature of the original character and ends up shedding lots of tears or holding her knees and looking into blankness. Also she carries way too much makeup – false eye lashes, eye liner, perhaps masacara too – for a woman who is distraught.
Vaibhav is an apt choice for his role but is wasted because of a badly written character. Naresh and Pasupathy are seen in brief but impactful performances. So should you watch this film? Yes, if you are a Sekhar Kammula fan and are looking for his new attempt. No, if you loved ‘Kahaani’ too much and wouldn’t want to see it’s not-so-perfect remake!