I dedicate this review to my dear friend G. Sambasiva Reddy who, knowing my fancy for watching suspense thrillers, always guides me regarding the quality thrillers made in Telugu. Sometime in the past, he had informed about Anasuya (2007), a brilliant psychological crime thriller made in Telugu in which the lead role(the title role) has been played by Bhumika Chawla. Recently I happened to watch Anu (2009) on TV which is nothing but a remake of Anasuya only made in Kannada in which the lead role, i.e., the title role has been played by Pooja Gandhi. Since the experience of watching Anu proved to be a highly engrossing and memorable one for me, I am reviewing it. The story of this movie appears to be inspired by a Hollywood movie – The Silence of the Lambs (1991).Anu (Pooja Gandhi) who joins a TV channel as an investigative reporter and in her very first assignment itself, comes across a case of child labour practiced by a politician with the victim being a little girl. An orphan herself, a highly sensitive girl Anu adopts that little girl. Immediately thereafter, she comes across a series of strange killings in which some particular part of the victim’s body has been taken away by the murderer. Another intriguing fact of this series of murders is the leaving of a red rose beside the body of every victim by the murderer. And one day, Anu’s guardian is also murdered by the same person and Anu sees a glimpse of the murderer’s face before he runs away. In police custody, Anu is able to single out the murderer among various suspects presented before her who happens to be a hospital attendant but when it is found that he is a severely handicapped one, he is released and Anu gets reprimanded. However with her never-say-die spirit and the help of her cop friend Anand (Naga Kiran), Anu is finally able to unearth the whole mystery behind the murders and take the culprit to his ultimate destination.Anu is a very well written and very well directed movie. It’s a chilling and thrilling experience though the suspense factor gets low for the whodunnit aspect in the first half itself. However the whydunnit aspect which encompasses the second half, keeps the viewer engaged for more than one hour. The movie opens with a murder but still the story appears to be a bit lax in the pre-interval session. The post-interval session more than makes up for that and the overall experience proves to be a highly satisfactory one for any thriller lover.Personally I feel that there is a glaring error in the movie. I don’t think that the names of the donors and the donees of the various organs of a human body can be associated in any manner(namely, which organ of which donor is donated to which needy person). Even when the hospital concerned is keeping a proper record, such record must be a highly confidential one and should not be accessible for anybody and everybody. Since this organ donating exercise forms the very base of this story, the error appears to be a significant one. Some other plot holes are also there in the script.All the same, the movie is definitely a praiseworthy one with the female protagonist is shown as an exemplary woman of not only courage and dedication but full of humanitarian values. Anu’s character is exemplary for sure. Her dealings with a senior officer in her office generate laughs which are very much needed in this profound movie containing a breathtaking prolonged drama. Her interaction with the adopted little girl as well as her aged guardian are heart-touching. Romance has not been given any footage and Anu’s first encounter with cop Anand is over-the-top but that sequence also entertains for sure.
Technically the movie is up to the mark. Background score, art direction, action and thrill and the dialogs, all are satisfactory. Violence and gore have been toned down by the director, perhaps to allow the movie to gain a wider audience. The presentation of the screenplay is quite sensible. The way Anu moves from one clue to another to reach the ultimate truth and the background of the killings, is akin to removing the skin of an onion which makes that part of the script a thoroughly gripping one. The movie is not unduly long. Nevertheless I feel that the flash back part containing the reason behind the murders should have been shortened.
Music by Shekhar Chandra is good. Thankfully, not many songs are there in the movie. The song picturized on the heroine and her adopted little child is highly impressive.
Pooja Gandhi has excelled in the title role of Anu and deserves a big applause for her controlled performance which was very much required for her no-nonsense character. The second best performer is the villain played by none else but the producer of this movie itself – Balu. Without any mannerisms on his part, he is able to send chills running down the spines of the spectators. All others including Naga Kiran as the male lead and the child artiste playing the girl adopted by the heroine, have done quite satisfactorily.
I like Akshay Kumar-Preity Zinta-Ashutosh Rana starrer Sangharsh (1999) very much which is another but quite a twisted version of The Silence of the Lambs. Sangharsh is also a woman-centric movie but ample footage and importance have been given to the hero also in that. In contrast to that, Anu is an out and out woman-centric movie with the male lead being sidelined. Despite some goof-ups and weaknesses in the script, I recommend Anu to the audience of thrillers especially the thrillers having some psychological basis for the crimes done.
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