Wearing the veil of mystery a doctor arrives at a mental asylum for inspection. In the picturesque landscape, the mystery grows when he interferes in the affairs of five inmates at the hospital. Fahad Faasil painstakingly plays Dr Mooledath Kannan Nair (MK Nair) in 'Athiran', directed by newbie Vivek. Written by P.F. Mathews, the tale focuses on the life of one of the inmates, Nithya (Sai Pallavi). It's a sort of psychoanalysis of certain characters in a milieu that is extremely befitting to narrate the incidents set in the 1970s.
The settings of the plot and the visual splendour through the eyes of Anu Moothedath are delightful albeit the flow of the narration has fits and starts in several places. When MK Nair shows special interest in the case of Nithya, who is afflicted with autism, Dr Benjamin (Atul Kulkarni) opposes it. Benjamin becomes furious when MK Nair questions his treatment methods. At any cost, he doesn't want MK Nair to take Nithya from his clutches. Benjamin's wife Renuka (Lena) tries to influence MK Nair to write the report in favour of the hospital.
Sudev Nair plays Jeevan, who shows sympathy towards Nithya quite often. Through the dialogues of servant Avarachan (Nandu), we get information regarding Benjamin and Renuka. 'Athiran' has beautiful moments conveyed through hallucinations and magical realism.
Sai Pallavi hardly has dialogues to express the character's emotions but she is outstanding as Nithya; considering the mannerisms of a special child. In martial arts also she has performed it convincingly. Both Fahad Faasil and Sai Pallavi are spot on in this psychological thriller set in a mental asylum on a hilltop.
At the bungalow-turned-hospital, the lives of five inmates are revealed before MK Nair. 'Athiran' diverts the attention due to its slow pace before regaining the momentum towards the climax. Atul Kulkarni has an effortless outing as he switches from one extreme of the character's demeanour to the other. Despite its sluggish nature in the middle stages, 'Athiran' promises an engaging watch.
Vivek makes little effort to squeeze in a lighter angle to the tale as part of a compromise in the creation. Instead, it's a grave narration accompanied by mystery elements with immaculate technical support. The whole action hinges on Nithya's life and the bond of blood relationship comes to play significantly in the movie, which keeps you almost engaging. Some scenes that are confined to the bungalow have the texture of monotony, yet it's a riveting attempt from a debutant director.
NOW PLAYING | MOVIE REVIEWS