Bhramam Malayalam Movie Review
Bhramam directed by Ravi K. Chandran is a faithful remake of Sriram Raghavan's wonderfully twisted thriller Andhadhun. As in the Hindi film, the plot of Bhramam places the protagonist, Prithviraj Sukumaran's blind pianist Ray, at the center of a murder. There is no mystery here. We know the people behind the murder, but the characters in Bhramam are in a constant battle of wits that emerges from the event.
There are not many characters in the film who have the physique and will to beat others to a pulp. But most of them have a few things in common, especially crookedness and corruption. You cannot trust any of them, not even a little kid who hangs around Ray's house in shorts. The characters can sink to such low moral standards that you would watch them trying to outwit each other in a state of disbelief. Now, I was devoid of that disbelief because I am familiar with the material. I have seen Andhadhun long back, even though I do not remember it as well as possible. Ravi K. Chandran's film is devoid of the noirish elements in the Hindi film but is a lot more commercial and funnier. The lines and some of the circumstances in the film are incredibly funny.
The casting is superb too. Take the Unni Mukundan character, for instance. People often look down upon Unni Mukundan as an actor. It is his physique and looks that people often talk about more than his acting chops. The makers of Bhramam use the reputation of the actor for some funny sequences. These scenes are not funny for the sake of it, but they fit the situations and the deviousness of the plot. Kudos to Unni for playing this role. The funniest lines in Bhramam belong to Ananya, who is in fine form here as a woman distrusting other people's intentions.
Shankar plays yesteryear movie star Uday Kumar, who is perhaps in the twilight of his career. It is a similar role to Anil Dhawan's character from Andhadhun. Uday spends much of his time watching scenes from his old films over and over. The makers use real scenes from Shankar's 1980's movies and cast Menaka in a small role to dial up the nostalgia quotient. If you have grown up watching old Malayalam films of Shankar and Menaka from the 1980's, Bhramam would make you nostalgic.
Rashi Khanna is pretty good in a small role, but her lip-syncing for it seems way off. Needless songs at untimely places only add to the length of the film. A subplot involving organ trafficking is treated without the seriousness it perhaps deserves. But to be fair to the makers of Bhramam, that portion seemed a tad contrived even in Andhadhun.
The climax is a bit sloppy and borderline silly. The makers intended it to be a more commercial version of the Hindi thriller with more focus on comedy. For this reason, they fail to exert the same influence on the thriller part as on the rest of the film. My familiarity with Raghavan's film does not help, either, in that I missed out on being surprised at every turn here. Nevertheless, Prithviraj and Mamta make it an entertaining ride throughout.
Prithvi shifts between the different emotional gears of his character with ease. This is one of those rare films showing that the actor can do comedy well if he works with the right material. His character is named after legendary American pianist Ray Charles, and there is a visual nod to it in Bhramam. On the other hand, Mamta is funny and devious as Simi. It is the kind of woman with great powers of persuasion. While some people can batter others severely, she can talk you into something you do not want for yourself.