Andhadhun

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Andhadhun
Andhadhun poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySriram Raghavan
Produced bySudhanshu Vats
Ajit Andhare
Ashok Vasodia
Kewal Garg
Sanjay Routray
Written bySriram Raghavan
Arijit Biswas
Pooja Ladha Surti
Yogesh Chandekar
Hemanth Rao
Starring
Music bySongs:
Amit Trivedi
Raftaar
Girish Nakod
Background Score:
Daniel B. George
CinematographyK. U. Mohanan
Edited byPooja Ladha Surti
Production
company
Viacom 18 Motion Pictures
Matchbox Pictures
Distributed byViacom 18 Motion Pictures (India)
Eros International (International)
Release date
  • 5 October 2018 (2018-10-05) (India)
Running time
138 minutes[1]
CountryIndia
LanguageHindi
Budget₹32 crore[2]
Box office₹456 crore[3]

Andhadhun (transl. The blind melody; Hindi pronunciation: [əndʱaːdʱʊn]) is a 2018 Indian black comedy crime thriller film co-written and directed by Sriram Raghavan, produced by Matchbox Pictures, and distributed by Viacom18 Motion Pictures. The film stars Tabu, Ayushmann Khurrana and Radhika Apte, and tells the story of a blind piano player who unwittingly becomes embroiled in the murder of a former film actor.

The script of Andhadhun was written by Raghavan, Arijit Biswas, Pooja Ladha Surti, Yogesh Chandekar and Hemanth Rao. The film was edited by Surti, and K. U. Mohanan was its director of photography. Amit Trivedi composed songs for the film and Jaideep Sahni wrote the lyrics. Raftaar and Girish Nakod co-wrote a song as guest composers.

In 2013, Hemanth Rao suggested to Raghavan that he watch L'Accordeur (The Piano Tuner), a 2010 French short film about a blind pianist. Raghavan liked the film and decided to base a script on it. Khurrana was cast in the lead role after he contacted Raghavan and expressed an interest in working with him. The film was shot in Pune in 44 days spread over more than a year; principal photography began in June 2017 and ended on 17 July 2018.

Andhadhun was released by Viacom18 Motion Pictures theatrically in India on 5 October 2018 to critical acclaim. Critics highlighted the writing, and Khurrana and Tabu's performances. It won four awards, including Best Director and Best Screenplay, at the Screen Awards ceremony and five Filmfare Awards, including Best Film (Critics) and Best Actor (Critics) for Khurrana. It also won three National Film Awards: Best Feature Film in Hindi, Best Actor for Khurrana, and Best Screenplay. The film was produced on a budget of 32 crore (US$4.6 million) and has grossed over 456 crore (US$66 million) at the worldwide box office.

Plot[edit]

Akash, an apparently blind pianist, is attempting to finish a musical piece. He lives with his cat and often encounters a child who tries to find out whether he is really blind. Akash is knocked over while crossing road by Sophie, who is impressed by his talent and gets him an engagement at her father's diner, where former actor Pramod Sinha notices him. Pramod is married to Simi. He invites Akash to perform for their wedding anniversary. Sophie and Akash's relationship starts to get intimate. Akash arrives at Sinha's flat, Simi opens the door. Simi, convinced that Akash is blind, lets him play the piano. Akash sees a body nearby but feigns ignorance and continues to play; he also sees Manohar, Simi's affair interest, hiding in the bathroom. When he returns to the piano, Akash identifies the body as Sinha's. Simi and Manohar clean the body and stuff it into a suitcase while Akash plays.

Akash tries to report the murder but discovers that Manohar is a police inspector. Simi kills Mrs D'Sa in Akash's presence. Akash is forced to continue feigning ignorance of the murders. He admits faking his blindness as an experiment to help his piano playing when Simi pours poison into his coffee and pulls out a gun. He says he will leave for London and will keep Simi's secret but she drugs him. Sophie sees the neighbour's child recorded a video of Akash acting like a sighted person. When she checks on him, Simi arranges things to look like she and Akash are having sex. Furious and heartbroken, Sophie leaves Akash. When he wakes up he is blind from the drug Simi gave him. Manohar decides that blinding Akash is insufficient so he returns to Akash's home to kill him. Akash struggles to the road, faints and is taken to an illegal organ harvesting clinic.

Dr. Swami and his assistants Murli and Sakhu decide to spare Akash and help him obtain the money needed to reverse his blindness. They kidnap Simi, stage a suicide scene, and blackmail Manohar; Murli and Sakhu, however, double-cross Akash, tie him up with Simi, and plan to take the money themselves. Manohar shoots Murli but is trapped in an elevator and accidentally shoots and kills himself. The money is revealed to be counterfeit. Simi help Akash free himself and he removes Simi's blindfold. He tries to escape, while Simi frees herself and attacks him. Dr. Swami enters; he and Akash knock Simi out, tie her up in the boot of a car and drive. Swami reveals his plan to harvest Simi's organs, who has a rare blood type, for US$1 million and pay for Akash's corneal transplant, which Akash declines.

Two years later at a gig in Kraków, Poland, Sophie meets Akash, who still appears to be blind. He tells her Simi awoke in the car boot and began making noise; when Swami stopped the car, she overpowered him and seized the wheel. Akash, thinking Swami was still driving, continued trying to persuade him to release Simi. She dropped Akash off and tried to run him over when farmer who was trying to kill a hare misses thereby causing the hare to jump and hit the windshield. Simi loses control of the car and was killed. Sophie tells Akash he should have accepted the doctor's offer and used Simi's corneas to restore his sight. Silently, Akash leaves and uses his cane to knock a can out of his path.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Director-writer Sriram Raghavan saw L'Accordeur (The Piano Tuner), a 2010 French short film about a blind pianist, in 2013 at the recommendation of his friend, filmmaker Hemanth Rao.[4] Raghavan said although his film is different, the French film was its "basic germ".[5] He wanted Rao to write a script based on the short but Rao was directing a film of his own.[6] Raghavan then worked on Badlapur (2015) and had the "gist of the story". After reading about Kaabil, which is also about a blind man, he was about to start writing but stopped, thinking having two films about blind people would be "crazy". Raghavan later resumed the script, taking a different approach.[5]

The idea of a blind pianist performing while a body is being dumped and a crime scene cleaned up fascinated Raghavan, who had written a similar scene for his previous film, Agent Vinod (2012), in which a blind girl plays the piano while surrounded by mayhem.[4] Raghavan wrote the script with Arijit Biswas, Yogesh Chandekar, Rao and Pooja Ladha Surti. He gave the story idea to Varun Dhawan while they were working on Badlapur but Dhawan became busy with other films and the script was left unfinished.[6] Raghavan discussed the scenes with the writers, who reacted as viewers.[7]

Raghavan and Biswas were unhappy while translating the dialogue from English to Hindi because they thought in English. Raghavan told Biswas to write the dramatic dialogue in Bengali, which was "at least the Indian idiom". Surti wrote another version of the dialogue because her Hindi was better than that of the others.[5] Raghavan cited the television series Fargo and the film of the same name as an inspiration, calling them "realistic and yet ... bizarre".[5] One of his friends was in a situation similar to one in the film; he then realised old Hindi films use "piano songs" and decided make the blind pianist the main character.[8]

Casting and filming[edit]

Ayushmann Khurrana heard about the film from casting director Mukesh Chhabra and contacted Raghavan, expressing interest in working on it.[4][9] Raghavan conducted screen tests of the scene in which the protagonist wakes up blind: "There were two pieces – when you are acting blind and when you are actually blind, and we tried both. I wanted to see what the difference in his body language would be."[citation needed] Khurrana, who played the piano in the film,[4] met several blind students and observed "how [a blind pianist] plays, conducts and moves his hands".[10] Khurrana studied piano for four hours daily under Akshay Verma, a pianist based in Los Angeles,[11] and did not use a body double in the film.[10] He called it the "most challenging role" of his career.[9]

Raghavan told Khurrana not to watch films with a blind protagonist and took him to the National School of the Blind.[9] He said, "Since no two persons are the same, I picked up the nuances, learnt how to hold the stick and climb the stairs".[citation needed] Khurrana made omelettes and walked on the street blindfolded.[12][9] He was given a pair of special lenses that impaired his vision by around 80 percent. His body language changed because he could no longer see properly.[13] After wearing the black glasses, his vision was affected by 90 percent and he shot the entire film like that.[14] Raghavan called Radhika Apte, who agreed to play Khurrana's love interest. Several scenes were improvised.[10] Tabu was Raghavan's first choice for Simi.[15] He did not brief her about scenes and they "kept developing [the character] as it went".[10] Anil Dhawan played a former actor, a version of himself.[6]

Raghavan said he wanted to make a "fun sort of thriller" to follow Badlapur. According to him, Andhadhun is not a whodunit; " ... The audience knows all along what's happening and why. It's the characters who don't."[16] The film was shot in Pune; filming took 44 days over more than a year because none of the actors were available for a long shooting schedule.[5] Principal photography began in June 2017 and ended on 17 July 2018.[5][16] Raghavan and the film's director of photography K. U. Mohanan decided to "restrict everything to Akash's point of view" so the audience could see what Akash sees. There were no close-ups in the piano-playing scene, which was extensively rehearsed with several assistants to fit its timing into the four-minute piano piece. It was not rehearsed with the actors; Raghavan told them to "just do the scene" and gave them a time frame; "We didn't want it to look practiced; we needed that uncertainty".[4]

Post-production[edit]

Raghavan wanted the film to have an open ending and considered several options. The producers Viacom 18 were apprehensive about audience acceptance of an open ending but Raghavan persuaded them.[4] The film's first shot was rehearsed with Khurrana for three months.[9] Raghavan called Andhadhun "a fun film in the macabre sense of the word", with moments of "wickedness and brutality".[17] Its working title was Shoot the Piano Player, which was changed because the producers felt an English title would "alienate people". The title is a play on the word andhadhund, which means reckless or relentless, and "a play on blind tune and trance".[15] The film was edited by Pooja Ladha Surti, and Snigdha karmahe, Pankaj pol and Anita Donald were its production designers.[18] It was produced by Viacom18 Motion Pictures and Matchbox Pictures.[18]

Soundtrack[edit]

Andhadhun
Soundtrack album by
Amit Trivedi, Raftaar and Girish Nakod
Released21 September 2018 (2018-09-21)[19]
Recorded2018
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Length34:29
LanguageHindi
LabelZee Music Company
Amit Trivedi chronology
Manmarziyaan
(2018)
Andhadhun
(2018)
Helicopter Eela
(2018)

The title track of the soundtrack of Andhadhun was composed by Raftaar and Girish Nakod, and Amit Trivedi composed the remainder of it. The album's lyrics were written by Jaideep Sahni, Raftaar and Nakod. It was released on 21 September 2018 on the label Zee Music Company.[20] Vocals were provided by Trivedi, Raftaar, Ayushmann Khurrana, Arijit Singh, Abhijeet Srivastava, Aakansha Sharma, Shadab Faridi and Altamash Faridi.[21] The background score was composed by Daniel B. George.[22]

The album received a mainly positive response from critics. Devansh Sharma of Firstpost called it "sweet, edgy, peppy and meditative in equal parts", and said, "Overall, the music of Andhadhun is an example of what the piano is capable of in depicting varied seasons and moods".[23] According to Gaurang Chauhan of Times Now, the album "has the old world charm to it, the one we have been missing from today's time".[21] Devarsi Ghosh of Scroll.in also praised the album, saying; "Where Trivedi really shines – and seems to have sweated on – are the two piano pieces titled Andhadhun Theme 01 and Andhadhun Theme 02". She said the pieces "evoke pleasantness one minute, dread in the next, and several other moods in between".[24]

Garvita Sharma of The Times of India wrote that it "may not be the best album by Amit Trivedi" but "it’s still a standout for it goes hand-in-glove" with the film's theme.[25] Joginder Tuteja of Bollywood Hungama wrote that the album begins well but he found the "overdose of songs" causes it to lose "the sheen that it gathered at the beginning".[26] Umesh Punwani of Koimoi said, "With the entire symphonic approach, Amit Trivedi has proved why he's the best choirmaster Bollywood has ever had".[27]

Track listing
No.TitleSinger(s)Length
1."Naina Da Kya Kasoor"Amit Trivedi3:30
2."Aap Se Milkar"Abhijeet Srivastava, Aakanksha Sharma3:56
3."Wo Ladki"Arijit Singh4:12
4."Laila Laila"Amit Trivedi3:23
5."Oh Bhai Re"Shadab Faridi, Altamash Faridi3:25
6."Andhadhun Title Track"Raftaar2:54
7."Andhadun" (Theme 01)Amit Trivedi4:15
8."Andhadun" (Theme 02)Amit Trivedi2:40
9."Naina Da Kya Kasoor" (Electronic)Amit Trivedi3:48
10."Aap Se Milkar" (Reprise)Ayushmann Khurrana2:26
Total length:34:29

Release[edit]

Andhadhun was scheduled for release on 31 August 2018 but its release was postponed until 5 October; the producers announced the delay in a trailer.[28] Raghavan originally wanted the film's trailer to only contain sounds because it is the story of a blind man but the studio was "shocked" at his suggestion. After several discussions, they agreed on a trailer. Raghavan "didn't want to give away too many things about the film" in the trailer and the studio eventually accepted his view.[17] The trailer was released on 2 September 2018.[29]

The film was released on 800 screens across India,[30] and is available on Netflix.[31] It was screened at the 2019 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles where Tabu was honoured.[32] Andhadhun was released in China as Piano Player on 3 April 2019.[33] On 28 August 2019, the film was released in South Korea in over 90 screens.[34]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Andhadhun was critically acclaimed.[35] Raja Sen called it a "rare treat" and a film that is "so compelling that it may universally be considered irresistible".[36] Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV wrote, "Watch Andhadhun with your ears, eyes and minds open. You will come away with your senses heightened."[37] Rajeev Masand called it a film with "many pleasures ... chief among them is the thrill of being constantly surprised". He praised Khurrana's and Tabu's performances, calling them "in solid form" and "towering".[38] Renuka Vyavahare of The Times of India also gave the film a positive review, calling it an "engaging thriller that keeps you on your toes and leaves you guessing all the way".[39] Sreehari Nair of Rediff.com wrote, "This must be the only blood thriller in the history of Indian movies that ends up giving you a high ... a pure high!"[40] Ankur Pathak of HuffPost cited it as "the best film of 2018 so far" and "a film worth watching and then rewatching".[41]

Several critics took note of Tabu's performance in the film

Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express called Andhadhun "racy, pacy and appropriately pulpy" but said it becomes a "tad heavy-handed and dull" after a while.[42] Shibaji Roychoudhury of Times Now said the second half was predictable and "falls flat" but called the film "thrilling, full of compelling performances and exceptional sound design that will keep you at the edge of your seat".[43] Sushant Mehta of India Today wrote, "Raghavan's ability to shock an entire cinema hall including the most immovable, emotionless fan coupled with his ability to make the audience laugh during these moments where your heart is in your mouth defines his unique brand of cinema".[44]

Anupama Chopra wrote, "The surroundings – high-rises, leafy streets and old houses in Pune – seem perfectly normal but what’s happening inside is deliciously twisted. There’s murder, betrayal, sex and a mountain of lies. In short, you can’t look away."[45] Udita Jhunjhunwala of Mint praised Khurrana's acting, calling it a "taut performance that balances vulnerability with craftiness", and said Tabu "runs away with the show".[46] Nandini Ramnath of Scroll.in wrote that the film has a "strong flavour of the Coen brothers at their peak, but also enough nods to Raghavan’s longstanding interest in the dynamics of the perfect crime and the hustlers and flimflam artists who populate pulp detective stories". She said although the film's runtime was a stretch, it "slides into place as smoothly as one of Akash’s piano pieces".[47] Shaheen Irani of Deccan Chronicle wrote, "Sriram has done a fab job in keeping dark humour intact with several quirky and surprise elements that will make you cover your face too".[48]

Shilajit Mitra of The New Indian Express said in a review that "Raghavan creates a world interchangeably familiar and pulpy" in which he "strings together ingenious set-pieces and populates them with wryly-written characters".[49] Troy Ribeiro of Indo-Asian News Service called the film a "taut, skillful and surgically effective murder mystery" and said; "For most of its length, Andhadhun functions so efficiently that we put the cause and its effects on hold and go with the action".[50] Manjusha Radhakrishnan of Gulf News described the film as an "unapologetic celebration of vitriol, darkness and mean-spiritedness".[51] Namrata Joshi wrote, "While seemingly giving things away, Raghavan is actually always a step ahead of the viewers in the cat-and-mouse game".[52]

Poulomi Das of Arre also gave Andhadhun a positive review, saying; "The film is all about clever writing, top-notch execution, and hard-hitting social commentary – but it is also a triumph of casting, and an ode to actors".[53] Shilpa Jamkhandikar of Reuters said "Andhadhun ticks all the right boxes" that should be "savoured."[54] Kumar Shyam of The National wrote, "Drawing the viewers into multiple situations of right and wrong, black and white and then shades of grey, the climax also ends on a similar note with a deliberate climax, typical Hitchcockian, between salvation and revelation".[55] Stutee Ghosh of The Quint said, "Andhadhun deserves praise and full attention ... Make sure to not miss anything, not the opening scene nor the end credits".[56] Anita Iyer of Khaleej Times called the film a "crisply-edited, fast-paced narrative that keeps you on the edge of the seat throughout".[57] J. Hurtado of Screen Anarchy said; "Andhadhun shows that this veteran director knows how to make this kind of twisty genre gem better than almost anyone in India". He included it in his list of 14 Favorite Indian Films of 2018.[58]

Box office[edit]

Andhadhun was produced on a budget of 32 crore (US$4.6 million)[2] and earned 2.50 crore (US$360,000) on its first day of release.[59] The film's box office take increased with positive word of mouth and it grossed 5.10 crore (US$740,000) on its second day. It earned 15 crore (US$2.2 million) in its first weekend[60] and grossed 41.05 crore (US$5.9 million) in ten days.[61] The film became profitable before its theatrical release through the sale of satellite television, music and digital rights, which were respectively sold to Colors, Zee Music Company and Netflix.[61] At the end of its six-week theatrical run, Andhadhun had earned 101 crore (US$15 million) at the box office, mainly from Mumbai. The film also did well internationally, earning 10.37 crore (US$1.5 million).[62]

Prior to its release in China, Andhadhun had grossed 106 crore (US$15 million) worldwide, including ₹95.63 crore in India and $1.4 million (₹10.37 crore) overseas.[63] In China, the film surpassed its Indian lifetime collection within six days.[64] Andhadhun has grossed $48.01 million (₹335.38 crore) in China,[65] for a worldwide total of 456 crore (US$66 million).[3]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Date of Ceremony Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
16 December 2018 Screen Awards Best Director Sriram Raghavan Won [66][67][68]
Best Screenplay Arijit Biswas, Sriram Raghavan, Pooja Ladha Surti Won
Best Editing Pooja Ladha Surti Won
Best Sound Design Madhu Apsara Won
16 February 2019 Asiavision Awards Best Actor (Critics) Ayushmann Khurrana (also for Badhaai Ho) Won [69]
19 March 2019 Zee Cine Awards Best Actor (Viewer's Choice) Ayushmann Khurrana Nominated [70]
Best Actress in a Negative Role Tabu Won
Best Editing Pooja Ladha Surti Won
Best Film Writing Arijit Biswas, Pooja Ladha Surti, Sriram Raghavan, Yogesh Chandekar, Hemanth Rao Won
Best Background Score Daniel B. George Won
23 March 2019 Filmfare Awards Best Film Andhadhun – Viacom18 Motion Pictures, Matchbox Pictures(Kewal Garg and Sanjay Routary), Sriram Raghavan Nominated [71]
Best Film (Critics) Sriram Raghavan Won
Best Director Nominated
Best Actor Ayushmann Khurrana Nominated
Best Actor (Critics) Won
Best Actress Tabu Nominated
Best Actress (Critics) Nominated
Best Screenplay Sriram Raghavan, Arijit Biswas, Pooja Ladha Surti, Yogesh Chandekar, Hemanth Rao Won
Best Editing Pooja Ladha Surti Won
Best Sound Design Madhu Apsara Nominated
Best Background Score Daniel B. George Won
9 August 2019 National Film Awards Best Hindi Film Andhadhun Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Won
Best Actor Ayushmann Khurrana Won
18 September 2019 International Indian Film Academy Awards Best Story Andhadhun Won [72]

[73]

Best Director Sriram Raghavan Won
Best Actor Ayushmann Khurrana Nominated
Best Actress Tabu Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Radhika Apte Nominated
22 November 2019 Bandung Film Festival Honorable Imported Films Andhadhun Won [74]

Remake[edit]

Thiagarajan has bought the rights of the film's Tamil language remake. His son, Prashanth will be reprising Khurrana's role.[75]

References[edit]

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