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      Andaman Movie Review: A Hard-Hitting Tale About The Plight Of The Rural Community Amidst The Pandemic

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      Rating:
      3.0/5
      Star Cast: Anand Raaj, Sanjay Mishra, Rajesh Tailang, Jay Shankar Panday, Ambrish Bobby, Vishal Agiran, Amrita Pal, Anamica Kadamb
      Director: Smita Singh

      Filmmaker Smita Singh's directorial debut film Andaman with a fresh star cast is a remarkable attempt to showcase the plight and ignorance of the rural community in India during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. How the pandemic created a sense of fear, chaos and isolation in the underdeveloped villages due to the misinformed population forms the main crux of Andaman. Apart from this, the movie takes a brutal satirical approach in highlighting the caste system, lack of empathy towards the female member of the household and the infamous tendency of people to rely on the 'Whatsapp University' when it comes to information about the pandemic.

      What's Yay: Riveting concept and plot as well as the realistic performances

      What's Nay: The pace of the film becomes laborious in some parts along with some unnecessary subplots

      Story

      Abhimanyu Pratap (Anand Raaj) is far away from his dream to become an IAS officer that has made him reach a low point in his life with his parents' expectations in shambles and the love of his life leaving him. However, he faces another major obstacle after he is appointed as a Panchayat Secretary in the village of Bhulapur. He finds himself in knee-deep water after he's made a quarantine in charge of the village. The secretary soon realises that he has to deal with the lack of basic amenities, ill-informed COVID-patients and some shrewd politics and intimidation from the people in power.

      Andaman-Movie

      Direction

      Debutante filmmaker Smita Singh has curated a riveting subject of the rural community being misinformed and mindlessly fearful of the ill effects of COVID-19. The movie's subplots highlighting the caste discrimination, meagre administrative system, gender inequality and misuse of power from the elites come out intricately as the plot progresses. The writing by Anand Raaj brings out the subtle nuances of a government employee's battle against the system and his quest to uplift the plight of an underdeveloped village. From the COVID-19 patients thinking they'll be killed on being tested positive to the upper caste population refusing to share the quarantine centre with the lower caste and a woman of the household who's left to tend to all the chores alone along with her online teaching as her husband and brother-in-law are too busy with playing Ludo and Pub-G online, the narrative of Andaman satirically deals with these sub-stories efficiently.

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      However, Andaman's plot picks up a quicker and a lot smoother pace in its second half. The first half of the movie comes across as one tone and more focused on establishing the scenario laboriously in some parts. One of the subplots from the movie revolving around a couple's adulterous married life does not add to the plotline significantly and could've been wrapped up quickly.

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      Performances

      Anand Raaj successfully emerges as the main anchor of the movie with his subtle yet powerful act. His poker face and calm demeanour in the face of a storm yet dealing with several inhibitions in his mind is portrayed beautifully by Raaj. His performance may remind one of Ayushmann Khurrana in Article 15, Rajkumar Rao in Newton or Vidya Balan in Sherni.

      Jay Shankar Panday delivers an emotionally wrenching performance as the suppressed chief of the village. He particularly nails the scene wherein he narrates his character's tumultuous story of losing his infant daughter for not taking her to the hospital in time as the village lacks a proper bridge to the main city. Vishal Agiran, Ambrish Bobby and Amrita Pal's performances are endearing to behold even though their storyline didn't act as a huge catalyst to take the story forward. Sanjay Mishra and Rajesh Tailang are inevitably realistic in their brief stints in the movie.

      Technical Aspects

      The cinematography by Indrajeet Singh and Surinder Rawat captures the rustic beauty as well as the grim undertones of Uttar Pradesh. The camera work looks slightly patchy in some scenes. The music by Rishabh Panchal and Firoz Khan takes the storyline forward convincingly.

      Verdict

      Anand Raaj's writing and portrayal of the lead protagonist add a great impact. We give Andaman 3 out 5 stars.

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