Crime thrillers as a genre always work well with the audience but there are some caveats. The lead actor’s performance and an engaging storyline are important to a crime thriller’s success given the high number of web series and films that release in this genre each year. Director Darwin Kuriakose’s Anweshippin Kandethum, set in the early 1990s, follows the investigative thriller pattern and stars Tovino Thomas as SI Anand Narayanan. (Also read: Lal Salaam movie review: Aishwarya Rajinikanth back with a bang)
It’s a moment of pride for Anand Narayanan’s parents when he joins a village in Kottayam’s district as sub-inspector in 1993. When a young girl, Lovely Mathan, goes missing in the village, it is up to Anand and his team to unravel the truth. There are different communities at loggerheads in the village and Anand’s police seniors force him into dropping the investigation into a Christian priest. The police is under pressure to find the murderer and try to frame another man.
Anand is sidelined, humiliated and given menial jobs by his superiors as he is over enthusiastic in solving the case. He is disturbed with the issue and decides to covertly investigate the case unofficially. His final report to the SP is lauded but things go horribly wrong for Anand and his image is tarnished in the police force and public. After a period of suspension, he and his team are assigned a six-year old cold case in Cheruvalli. Is Anand able to solve both the cases? Does he manage to succeed as a police officer and gain his peers respect?
Writer Jinu Abraham has actually given the audience two films in one as the first half related to one case and the second half to another. Abraham is known for his thriller stories (Kaduva and Adam Joan) and in this film too he keeps the viewer engaged for the most part. The first half of the film proceeds at a brisk pace while the second half considerably slows down. There is a change in narrative style from the first half to the second and as a whodunit, it is engaging for the most part.
The film is more a procedural drama that takes us through how Anand finds the clues to solve the murders. The audience may not emotionally connect with the victims or the police but bringing a murderer to justice at all cost is something that will resonate. Popular Tamil music director Santhosh Narayan has scored the music for this Malayalam film and has done a neat job.
Tovino Thomas gives a strong performance
This is Tovino Thomas’ fourth film where he essays the role of a cop and here he has downplayed his character a lot. His strong performance comes through his physicality and movements rather than loud dialogues and this is refreshing. In the first half, Tovino is a newbie police officer who is trampled upon by his superiors and in the second, he effortlessly becomes the leader of his team. Tovino is able to showcase both these different facets beautifully on screen. There are many good actors, like Indrans, Shammi Thilakan, Siddique, Harisree Ashokan and Baburaj, who support Tovino in smaller roles.
Anweshippin Kandethum is director Darwin Kuriakose’s debut film and he has managed to deliver a decent crime thriller in his first attempt.