Anando Brahma is a horror-comedy starring Taapsee Pannu in her, for the lack of a better word, comeback Telugu film. Taapsee was restricted to skin show in most of her earlier Telugu films but things changed for her when she ventured into the Hindi film industry. Her performances in the Bollywood blockbusters Baby and Pink earned her widespread critical acclaim and accolades. I was bowled over by her capacity and range as an actress.
Anando Brahma’s first look posters seemed intriguing. When I watched the trailer, most of my interest fizzled out. I decided not to expect any better than all the mediocre horror-comedies I watched in Telugu. And right I was! The film is a halfhearted attempt at best and cleverly uses the pulse of the audience to keep the cash registers ringing. Honestly, I am bored of such horror-comedies. I lost track of how many films we have seen in this genre in the last 3-4 years and how many of them varied by only a very little margin from one another.
Anando Brahma in its first 30 minutes does show the promise of breaking the stereotypes, by attempting to add an interesting twist to the turn of events (by borrowing heavily from the 2001 Nicole Kidman starrer The Others, a movie which I thoroughly enjoyed and recommended to several others who also thoroughly enjoyed it) but it’s too sudden and too soon in the film that it hardly leaves an impact.
The first half drags. The second is better than the first in parts, with its share of scares and comedy in equal measure but the scares too get repetitive after a point and you know exactly what scare is coming next and that’s never good for a horror film. Everyone’s backstory is of course told and these are the film’s most boring moments. If you watched too many horror/thriller movies, you know the climax isn’t going to be what it seems and there’s going to be a “OMG” twist. The twist here is not so OMG and you can see it coming, and when did that ever benefit a good film?
There are a couple of loopholes in writing. Acting by Rajeev Kanakala and Shakalaka Shankar is on point. I would like to see Rajeev in more such meaty roles in the future. Srinivas Reddy shows us why he can always be banked upon. Tagubothu Ramesh sleepwalks through his trademark scenes but struggles with emotional scenes. The granddad dude is off the mark and the little kid is alright. Taapsee Pannu’s is more of a cameo appearance than a lead role here and she does it exactly like that – cameo appearance. In a few scenes (out of her few scenes) where she gets the scope to act, she seems to emote lesser than what is required and it’s not even subtlety! Honestly, it could have been ANY heroine and not specifically Taapsee and it wouldn’t have affected the film film-wise (marketability you say? Sure).
At a little over 2 hours, Anando Brahma ends up being a shadow ten times lighter than what it could have been! I’m going with 2.5 out of 5!