Anugrahithan Antony Malayalam Movie Review
Anugraheethan Antony is a well-intentioned and sentimental fantasy film with a slightly odd title. The title means blessed Antony. In what way is Antony blessed? Sunny Wayne's titular character is a wastrel person who comes home each day in an intoxicated state, and annoys his father Varghese Maash (Siddique). Wondering whether he raised a child who is up to no good, Varghese buys two dogs as his companions. It is a similar act to what Chacko Master does to Aadu Thoma in Bhadran's Spadikam. But the relationship between Antony and Varghese is nowhere near as hostile as Thoma's and Chacko Maash's.
The movie is about how the dogs' entry changes the word of Antony and those around him. Naveen T Manilal builds on a story by Jishnu S Ramesh and Aswin Prakash. It is a story with much scope for sentimental treatment, so Prince Joy tells the tale in broad strokes. There is little to no subtlety in this film. A good part of the drama centers on the dogs.
Anugraheethan Antony tries to juggle a few different narratives but to little avail. There is the typical love story of Sanjana Madhavan (Gouri Kishan) and Antony. The movie's lighter, more enjoyable moments happen in the love story portions. There is also the relationship between Varghese and Antony. Then there is an overarching theme of longing for the ones we love, which I do not want to spoil for you here. Essentially, the movie is about how no one would like to leave their loved ones.
For a film like this to work, the audience has to take a big leap of faith about what the director is trying to achieve here. I do not quite get much of the religious stuff in this movie, but the film itself seems like an exercise in fake emotions. Take the dog-man interactions, for instance. Those portions are so cheesy that it becomes a problem when the makers start to think of them as scenes from 'Hachi: A Dog's Tale'.
That leads us to the acting, one of the most disappointing aspects of Anugraheethan Antony. Siddique does what he usually does best here, but he has a one-note role. Sunny Wayne is good in the portions where he is supposed to be funny, but he could not properly convey the emotions of this character in the more dramatic moments. The camera crew of this film seems to be having so much affection for Gouri Kishan's face. So, it is all about her face and eyes, not quite the emotions of her character. Suraj Venjaramood, Jaffar Idukki, Manikandan Achari, and Baiju Santhosh are the only actors who produce performances with something to remember here.
If there is something to write home about in this film, it is the music by Arun Muraleedharan. The title track, Kamini is so wonderfully sung and written and is the beating heart of this film.